In all the ways I support founders as an investor, I’m really happy to find more people who believe in the startup’s mission and vision. Whether I’m asked to interview a Chief Revenue Officer or a VP of Engineering, my perspective is often based on pattern recognition. What are the common challenges founders face at different stages of growth, and how can this candidate get their startup there faster?
Hiring experienced executives is always competitive, but one silver lining to today’s market uncertainty is that founders are getting candidates who might otherwise be out of reach. More opportunities to do (and win). Given that many of the start-ups in our portfolio are currently building their management teams, we have asked several founders of fast-growing companies looking to recruit and retain senior leaders in established companies. I would like to give you some hints.
Focus on building long-term trust
Startup founders need to be good operators themselves or build a team to help. Understandably, some founders may be hesitant to relinquish control to executives they don’t yet know or trust.
Onboarding new employees is always important, but welcoming senior leaders requires extra care and attention. After all, executive turnover can slow a startup down.
Trust works both ways. So what are your strategies for minimizing “organ transplant refusals” once an executive joins your startup? Strategies include:
- Time spent together in a casual environment: Getting to know someone while hiking or over dinner can really help set the two of you up for a close working relationship.
- Conduct pre-employment mock exercises: Have the candidate simulate a call with the team, present a plan, or otherwise simulate a call to ensure that both parties understand what to expect before employment officially begins. Consider asking them to complete the actual work assigned.
- Plot the discreet transition: take time Agree ahead of time on the first set of key moves that the new executive will be responsible for, allowing a period of time to acclimatize to the new organization.
Develop a plan for effectively leading a distributed team
Where should senior leaders be based? Or does location matter less these days?
As it becomes easier to hire everyone from CROs to account executives, founders have more and more choices about where their teams live. This means moving from hiring the best candidate regardless of location to incorporating location as part of the decision-making criteria.
Example: If frequent communication is required between a US-based CRO and its global counterparts, an East Coast location may make more sense for better time zone alignment there is. If proximity to Silicon Valley companies is essential for potential partnerships, a West Coast-based CRO may be a better option.
Other important company culture decisions may include taking a clear stance on:
- Physical office: What is your policy regarding remote or hybrid work? Do you have a return-to-office policy?
- Offsite: How often does your global team meet in person?
Remember: Your stance on these issues can affect your ability to recruit and retain talent in the long run. But no matter where your team is based, effective internal communication is mission-critical and essential for engaged employees. Great leaders are intentional about their communication strategies, especially with distributed teams.
Expand your talent network
Founders introduce other founders and the same is true for other key hires. Even if you’re not actively hiring, take a closer look at your hiring strategy, pipeline, and referral sources.
For example, it has invested over $200 million in Israeli companies in the last 18 months, and many of the cybersecurity company’s founding team members previously worked for the Israel Defense Forces or worked with other startups. I was.
If you or your recruiter haven’t heard from potential candidates, we encourage you to dedicate the next few months to growing your network and receiving warm referrals.
When senior leaders join the company, we see stronger retention rates among experienced executives paired with founders who are open to constructive feedback. May include working with an executive coach.
Tony Fadell, inventor of the iPod, co-inventor of the iPhone, and founder of Nest, believes every startup CEO finds an operational mentor in addition to working with a coach. Recommended. This is someone who not only understands human nature, but can also “help with the operational details and separate the wheat from the chaff,” he said recently with the founder of the GGV portfolio company. told the leader. “You want to do the best you can, but you can suffer from analysis paralysis. Mentors who are loyal (and vice versa) and provide no real financial benefit.”
Startups aren’t for everyone, and basically I believe that no one knows everything at every stage of their growth. Motivation to learn starts with receiving feedback and acting on it. Not all executive hires are successful, but we’ve also seen amazing things happen to a startup’s trajectory when the founder and senior his leader team up on the same mission and stay together for the long haul.
Head of Platform at GGV Jen Holmstrom Contributed to this article.