What is the Head Hunter Salary? When you run a software recruiting company, you end up fielding a lot of questions from other founders who are just starting to hire. The number one question I get is: How can I find a great recruiter.
This is a top priority for good reason. If you’re doing it right, hiring is one of your most time-consuming and energy-depleting tasks. That’s simply how you find the best people at the beginning. But when you hit hyper-growth, or your leadership needs to jam on the product, this isn’t always realistic. It’s easy to fall behind. A well-matched recruiter can not only catch you up
There is a “good match” of the operating part. You can find yourself in a most important growth zone if you end up working with a recruiter who does not get your business or job on an intestinal level or who does not have the full range of skills they need. This is high stakes. This is high stakes. I have seen hundreds of relations recruitment in companies of every stage,
First off, what do you need?
The worst thing about most “startup advice” is that it isn’t stage-specific. It addresses one experience, but your pain points could be totally different depending on how old your company is, your field, how much funding you have, etc. So, instead of me serving up a bunch of un-targeted wisdom, let’s define what your hiring need actually is. Then we can find the right prescription.
You can break down hiring needs into these categories:
The number of hires: How many people are you hiring? Ten market development reps? One android engineer? A VP of engineering? Make a list, and anticipate the near future.
Role type: Are you hiring in a talent-constrained market like iOS engineering? Roles in sales, marketing, customer service, and other non-technical functions will give you the benefit of more supply. Are you looking for junior people? Leadership? Plot out where your desired hires land on both of these spectrums
How fast do you need anybody?
It’s probably a blend – you need 3 people right away, and then 3 more per quarter during the next 3 quarters. A timeline is helpful so you can find out if your resources really are being tailored to your business needs. Bucket your boss accordingly
What is your funding situation?
That is, what can you pay in terms of recruiting expenses, and are you going to be able to pay the market rate for the talent you’re looking to acquire? Are you bootstrapping and your only resources are your own labor and equity? Or do you have liquid cash?
These answers should reflect both your current pain points and your future goals. It’s safe to plan, at least tenuously, for three quarters in advance so you don’t get caught without the people you need to execute on near-term objectives.
For example: Are sales ramping and projected to continue? Is your current customer service team swamped (and will continue to be unless you do something)? If that’s the case, you need CS reps now, and you need to start building a pipeline for them going forward.
Are you spinning up an Android version of your existing iOS app to test if it will work for that market? Then you probably just need a single Android dev for now, and you can wait to see what happens when you ship.
Did you just raise a Series A and your six-person team is about to jump to 16? You’re probably going to need a VP of engineering to lead that charge. You’ll need an executive search followed by serious pipeline building.
Have your specific case written down clearly before you do anything.
What makes a recruiter a recruiter?
Now that you have a good sense of your need, let’s talk about how we can solve it.
Recruiting is a combination of skills and assets — some of which will be more or less important to you based on your needs (as defined above). Knowing which skill sets you should have on your team, and which ones you can de-prioritize, will drive you toward the right type of recruiter (or maybe you don’t need one at all).
As an aside, recruiters get a lot of crap. But it’s rapidly becoming an industry of its own, with its own practices and craft. In the past, there was a low barrier to entry into the field. Bad recruiters could engage in bad behavior, and as a result, they’ve given a lot of good recruiters a bad name. On top of that, given the huge imbalance between supply and demand for technical talent, recruiters often pop up in people’s inboxes when they aren’t looking for a new job.
They create more noise than signals when they do their jobs poorly. Not to mention, it’s somewhat fashionable among the Hacker News set to kvetch about recruiters (“Oh my god, I can’t believe this person is trying to get me a raise. Jeez!”). It’s a kissing cousin of the crap that sales reps get, and it’s not productive.
This much is true: Recruiters make the hiring market go round. They trade in human capital. If you’re pissed at your boss or you feel under-compensated, a recruiter is a godsend. Same if you’re unemployed. And if you’re a hiring manager looking down the barrel of onboarding 1,000 new customers in the next six months, the recruiter who can help you get the 20 CS reps you need will become your best friend.
“If you think Facebook, Google and Twitter were built without recruiters, you’re deluding yourself.”
All three of those companies needed dozens of people dedicated to hunting down the best people possible to write code, close customers, and keep them happy after the fact. It’s the best practice that no one wants to talk about.
Most importantly, it comes in different forms:
Raw Labor: At the most basic level, a recruiter is raw, fungible labor that moves candidates forward through a process. They schedule interviews. They monitor calendars so that hiring managers don’t miss these interviews. This isn’t the most highly skilled labor in the world, and it’s part of the recruiting workflow that, if necessary, you could probably do yourself.
When you need this: Having support in this area becomes key when you have too many other things that are more valuable for you to be working on. You could do this work yourself, but if you’re burning time arranging interviews that you could be spending on the product or making sales, you need to reconsider bringing someone in to help. This is especially true if you’re sacrificing opportunities for revenue or product-market fit.
Skilled Labor: There is a set of recruiting skills that are more rarefied. They are typically much harder to find or do yourself. Many recruiters have specialized knowledge that can ensure that you’re turning over every stone to find the best talent. This includes triaging resumes, writing job descriptions, pre-closing candidates, sourcing, high-impact, high-volume email outreach. These are the recruiters who are acquainted with the tools that can power up their search skills — LinkedIn Recruiter, TalentBin, ATS systems. They are seasoned at cold calling, phone screening, and reference checking. Some even offer interview coaching. Others will help you create an advertising budget for job openings and allocate your spending.
When you need this: When you haven’t done a lot of recruiting yourself, a skilled recruiter will have a strong advantage over you. You will need this type of person — particularly when it comes to filling out sales or engineering squads.
Network / Pipeline Recruiting: This is where a recruiter can have a massive advantage over you. People who are good at network recruiting interact with people all day long every day. It’s what they do for a living. Their network of potential candidates will dwarf yours, and will probably include candidates they’ve placed before or know very well. They’re also likely to offer a pre-stocked pipeline for many of the roles you’re looking to fill. This means they can get someone in front of you for an interview fast. This is one of the advantages of working with a recruiter for a contingency search. It can be expensive, but they have tremendous influence.
When you need this: You might have a strong network after working for many years with many different people, but if you need a high volume of hires that would exhaust your own social graph; if you need to hire for roles that aren’t well-represented in your network; or if you want to be able to snap up great candidates already in motion, you’ll need to tap into this type of resource.
Organizational Acumen: This is the ability to help implement strong processes in the context of your current hiring. A recruiter with organizational acumen can come in, assess what you need, and create unique pipelines for various roles that you can replicate as you accelerate your hiring. The idea is for this knowledge to stick with you whether this recruiter is temporary or joins you in-house. Think of this as hiring infrastructure or “hiring culture.” This includes things like a good phone screen process, interview process, referral recruiting programs, interview outcome documentation, and even effective onboarding that sets hires up for success