NOTE: This post was originally drafted before the FTX collapse. We acknowledge that many organizations' plans for hiring are on hold or in flux and there's a lot of uncertainty. This opportunity is for any organization with 3-100 people. Even if you aren't sure if you'll be hiring on more people in the next year it can be valuable to spend a small amount of time to take stock of your hiring systems and strategize about what hire you'd like to make next.
SUMMARY: High Impact Recruitment is supporting research into the hiring practices of smaller, younger EA organizations. Organizations that participate will receive a pro-bono in-depth consultation about how to improve their hiring systems based on current best practices for reducing bias and improving the quality of hires. The outcomes of the research will be used to create freely accessible tools and templates for hiring that the wider community can use as well.
We are partnering with Brennan Wilkerson, a Masters in Management candidate at ESCP Business School, who is conducting this research as part of his thesis.
Organizations under 5 years old and between 3-100 employees qualify to participate in a free consultation as part of the research. To participate, sign up for a time HERE and fill in the pre-consult survey HERE.
We're also sharing a few links to hiring resources below.
Hiring well is important for an organization at any size, but for micro-sized organizations of under 20 people, hiring can be trajectory-changing. Your 2nd, 4th, or 8th employee, even in junior-level positions can have huge implications for team culture and dynamics and your overall success. Making a wrong hire rarely endangers a whole organization on its own, but can easily derail projects and demoralize teams in a way that tends to last and linger, even if the employee moves on.
Organizations under about 20 people likely shouldn't have a full time recruiter or HR professional on board unless they are set to scale really rapidly, so when hiring is happening in a small organization it can take a good deal of attention of the founder, director or board ... especially when it is a new skill! High Impact Recruitment has been supporting a number of smaller EA organizations with hiring in the last 6 months. While most of our clients have some experience with hiring in some way, maybe by participating in interviews during a former job, few people have experience running hiring rounds from start to finish and so it takes a lot of logistical and emotional attention.
Many resources online and in books are geared for larger organizations. Not only do most HR people work in larger organizations, most hiring happens in bigger groups too. In the US only about .1% of businesses have more than 500 employees but these companies employ roughly 45-50% of the workforce. Even though there are millions of small groups, hiring skill, research and tools generally cater to big organizations.
So, it makes sense that hiring is challenging for many EA orgs! Hiring and recruiting is a skill set that some professionals study for years and years, and yet relatively young organizations need to start hiring from the get-go while having less name recognition and organizational stability than larger organizations.
We want to help by supporting organizations individually, and creating a pool of shared resources and tools for the community that will be tailored for smaller organizations under 100 people.
Here are a few parts of hiring well to pay attention to:
1. Be very accurate in predicting the key skills and talents of the person you need on your team. In a smaller organization, this takes a special amount of foresight, self-awareness, and creativity because the roles often have not existed before.
2. Become attractive enough that good-fit candidates are interested in working with you. In a smaller organization, this means making a compelling case for your impact and culture when it may be unproven and stretching the edges of your network to meet candidates because they aren’t coming to you.
3. Design the most accurate measures of skills and talents you can, optimizing for quality of hire based on time and effort input.
Hiring processes try to get to know candidates as accurately as possible using a range of tools. Your process can be quick but risks being artificial, or more realistic but lengthy and energy-consuming. Balancing this is challenging.
This is the part of hiring that usually gets the most attention, but can be overrated to some degree. Sometimes if you don't hire well it isn't because you failed to pick the right person out of the pool, it is because the right person never came through the door in the first place. Typically small organizations should consider putting a little less weight here, and a little more weight on #1 and #2.
4. Learn enough and set up the right people management systems to do this well for the size and shape of the organization. The systems an organization needs changes if they are hiring 1x a year vs 10x a year vs 100x a year. It doesn’t make sense for a founder to invest as deeply in hiring skills and systems if the organization is only going to be a handful of people, but you do need a baseline of compliance and management systems.
Designing hiring systems on your own can be a challenge and we'd like to help!
Helping organizations with this is motivating both for High Impact Recruitment and for Brennan Wilkerson, a Masters in Management candidate at ESCP Business School. That is why we are partnering to research the hiring habits of smaller, newer, EA, and EA-adjacent organizations and create more resources for the community.
Participants in the research will get immediate benefits through consulting and feedback on their hiring and recruiting processes (like the resources linked above, but more tailored, more curated, and more specific!).
The community will benefit as a whole as well. Through surveying organizations, we will notice what gaps exist in tools and understanding around hiring, and create a new toolkit to provide to smaller EA organizations!
If you’re part of a young (under 5 years old), growing organization with a team that will have a staff of 3+ full-time equivalents in the next 9 months, we’d love to connect to support you and to create useful learnings for the wider community.
Through participating you’ll receive a pro bono 2-hour video call consultation with immediate tips and insights about best practices in hiring that your organization can apply, with follow-up support delivering resources that fit your situation.
If you’re interested but have more questions or need a time that isn’t on the calendar, please reach out to Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you about to actively start hiring, you can also reach out for more intensive recruitment support from High Impact Recruitment through our webpage here. We are currently booked for 2022, but will have capacity opening in 2023!