To Hire, or Not to Hire a Recruiter?
As we've hosted countless sessions at different events/conferences and interviewed founders/CEO's/companies, we've receive a lot of insightful questions around talent, hiring and culture. So we have decided to start a running list of common questions that we will answer and share with you in our weekly emails. To start off, let's address a frequent question that revolves around talent strategy and is a very important, yet often overlooked when growing a startup – hiring your first HR employee.
The most common question we get around hiring an HR employee is: "Should I hire a Recruiter or an HR Generalist as my first HR hire?". And while I think most people immediately say "Duh...hire a Recruiter, you need to fill those roles!", let's discuss why we think you should hire an HR Generalist.
1. Broader skillset and greater bang for your buck.
One of the beautiful and inspiring things about working in a startup is that everyone pitches in to do anything and everything. A scrappy startup doesn’t hire a sales person who only performs only inside sales or a marketer who only specializes in social media marketing. Yet, founders and entrepreneurs get fixated on an HR professional that only specializes in one area: recruiting. However, the reality is that startups need so much more help from a people perspective than just recruiting. Don’t get us wrong, recruiting top talent to join your organization should be a top priority, but there are several top priorities. After the recruiting comes providing an amazing onboarding experience, communication, and ultimately facilitating amazing culture. If you just focus on recruiting then you will find yourself with a revolving door, which ironically damages your brand as an employer, and makes it more difficult to recruit! A fantastic HR Generalist can do all these things, plus be a great Recruiter. (Pro-tip: Everyone at your startup should be recruiting!)
2. Recruiting prowess is personality.
The skillset that makes a great Recruiter effective can also be found in an HR Generalist: having a great personable demeanor and caring about the organization. We have a lot of experience moving talented HR Generalists to talent acquisition teams based entirely on their level of emotional intelligence and enthusiasm. If the individual is capable of having meaningful conversations, identifying talent and navigating the hiring manager through the process, then they can be a highly effective Recruiter. When you are working with limited capital, you want someone that can wear multiple hats.
3. Unseen value.
Here’s the part that’s always difficult for us to articulate to CEO’s and founders. The true value of an amazing HR Generalist is a hidden virtue that most leaders will never see. It’s the effect they have on the organization’s culture, how employees feel about the level of trust in the company and it’s leaders. Frankly, a great HR Generalist will serve that role because they are part advocate for the employee, part confidant for the CEO, and part arbitrator delivering good and bad news with candor and courage. They are the soul of the organization. While an amazing Recruiter can support the soul of the organization, a lot of times we find that they are not interested in the other roles that an HR Generalist plays within the organization.
All in all, we love recruiters, they are an amazing assets to many companies. Recruiters are paramount in the success of larger organizations that need people focused 24/7 ONLY on recruiting. But for a startup, we recommend an HR Generalist–because less face it...who doesn't want more bang for their buck when it comes to hiring people?