Archive for December, 2014

Hiring for Your Startup and Beyond

December 22nd, 2014

As a human resources professional, your recruiting efforts will naturally be different when arranging for personnel for a well-established company that is already known to the public, press, investors and the available talent pool as compared to the work you will do to fill positions at a startup firm. You’ll need to hire people with the specific skills needed to take an idea from zero and turn it into a thriving concern.

What Stage Are You At?

It’s important to recognize what stage you are at in the startup lifecycle, noted a recent report by Henry Kim at The Next Web that describe growing a company from zero to $1 billion. As you start out, you’ll be hiring eager, dedicated individuals who have multiple skills to fill in where needed. You will likely be focusing recruitment efforts on less experienced and younger members of the workforce at this point to bolster product development and acquire new customers as rapidly as possible.

Once you approach the $20 million to $100-million scaling phase, you need to turn your attention to important categories such as branding and marketing, sales, finance and HR to give management a solid infrastructure to accelerate growth. By the time you reach the $100 million to $1 billion scale, it’s time to shift your focus on attracting leaders who have already demonstrated success in growing firms on a massive scale.

The early stages of recruitment can be likened to drafting a team in fantasy football, according to a recent post by Ann Diab at Tech Cocktail.

This means having a solid game plan and knowing what traits you will need the most in your new hires. What’s more, you’ll have to build your team for the long haul. You shouldn’t hire based primarily on who is available as much as you should look for people who will obviously fit in well with your team.

Strategies for Growth

When faced with a lot of competition for new recruits, it pays to have strategies for growth, noted Keith Rabois in a recent TechCrunch post. This includes polishing your mission and selling recruits on the idea of having an impact in the world.

You will want to recruit from outside your normal sources, such as finding prodigies straight from the university or industry geniuses who are not wrapped up in launching their own startup but would welcome the opportunity to be a part of your founding team.

There is so much excitement surrounding companies during their initial startup phase, and you can harness this energy to great effect as you search for your first recruits. Human resources professionals will fulfill their duties much more effectively when they have a concrete plan for cultivating a team that can not only hit the ground running but will have the skills and endurance to ride out the inevitable bumps and shakeups that come as you build the business.

 

Considering all the Facets of Discriminatory Hiring Practices

December 8th, 2014

One of your primary goals when interviewing promising new candidates for your organization is to keep an open mind and evaluate each person on his or her merits without letting any biases influence the recruitment process. Key to this is making sure that you are not engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. Of particular concern is bias based on racial, family, age or gender characteristics.

Racial Bias in Hiring

While great strides have been made in racial harmony, human resources professional need to remain on guard against discrimination, both overt and inadvertent.

For example, recent research by a group of economists shows that some recruiters, even though they are not biased themselves, have a fear that their customers do hold racial bias and will make their hiring decisions accordingly, noted a recent report at Fortune.

The economists sent in 9,400 false resumes, using “typically black” names in half and “typically white” names in the other half to determine the rate of discrimination in the job market. It turned out that there was more evidence for hiring bias when it came to customer service jobs as compared to jobs focusing on coworker interaction (managers, coordinators and so on).

Familial Nepotism in Hiring

What about nepotism? It’s not illegal, and bosses can fire an employee to free up a spot for a son or a niece, for example, according to a recent post at AOL Jobs. However, nepotism may be prohibited in government positions, or under conditions when your company is subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Businesses that hire mostly family members may get into hot water if they consistently turn down more qualified candidates who also happen to be of a different race or nationality.

Gender Discrimination in Hiring

Recruiters may harbor a bias against genders based on old-fashioned stereotypes, such as the idea that women are unsuited for physically demanding jobs or that men cannot work as nurses or flight attendants.

While these are particularly egregious examples of discrimination, you need to be aware of unconscious bias as you examine resumes for the best match for the position in terms of background, experience and accomplishments.

Age Discrimination in Hiring

There are a number of ways where age discrimination can crop up during recruitment. Does your organization ever advertise open positions while using phrases such as “young-thinking” in the job description?

You may not realize that this can lead to age discrimination, noted a recent report at CNN Money. It cited research from Clemson University that indicated 30 percent of people aged 53 and up have faced discrimination because of how old they were. Making mattes worse, people who lose their job at the age of 45 may never get another job, noted researchers at the University of Sydney.

Factors leading to age bias include holding the idea that older workers are not good with modern technology or that they might miss work more often because older people tend to get sick more frequently than younger workers.

Recognizing the potential pitfalls of discrimination and taking steps to address these concerns head-on will help you avoid lawsuits due to unfair hiring practices. It’s also important to remember that by avoiding discriminatory practices, you open up your available talent pool to a greater degree, which can only help to boost your organization’s bottom line.