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The Number One Mistake You’re Making When Recruiting

The-number-one-mistake-you’re-making-when-recruiting

A high-growth business is an incredibly challenging environment to operate in, not just for founders and CEOS, but for your team members who are very much on the journey with you.. 

The people you hire in a high-growth stage of business, need to be able to operate within a less stable, fast-paced environment and be able to lean into the challenges that come with it.

The number one thing I see businesses in this stage get wrong when recruiting, is focusing far too much on selling themselves to job applicants as an “employer of choice”.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being an employer of choice… it’s definitely a good thing. But you don’t get there by bringing on people who are coming for the perks. You get there by bringing on people who are deeply committed to your vision, and want to play a part in driving it forward.

As the pressure builds to recruit quickly and fill much-needed roles, it can be tempting to focus on the ‘perks of the roll’ when you’re interviewing a potential employees: flexible work hours, table tennis, bean bags, free beer on Fridays….

All of the surface level gimmicks that mainstream media tend to confuse with ‘culture.’

However, what employers forget is that by over ‘selling’ a role in the interview process you are painting a far too rosy picture of what it’s actually like to work in a high-growth organisation. It’s actually challenging to work with you, it’s fast paced, it requires a lot most of the time.

If you’re not honest about those things, then you get three months down the track after hiring someone and wonder why they’re not aligned or worst, why they left.

When hiring anyone new, the best way to think of it is as though you’re starting a new relationship. A natural, honest, human relationship – because you are.

If you act like a completely different person on your first few dates, and make a series of false promises… would you see that relationship having longevity?

Well, if it’s born out of inauthenticity, then the answer is, of course not.

So the question remains, how do you find those special few people who are the right fit for your business?

At The Entourage, we employ a particular strategy that essentially turns the entire recruitment model on its head. A process called ‘de-selection’.

This process involves clearly communicating the vision, mission and values of our organisation and being incredibly transparent when communicating how this filters down into performance expectations.

We own the fact that working at The Entourage is not for every person.

It’s not for the people who need perfect systems and structures in place.

It’s not for people who count down the clock until 5.30pm every day.

It’s not for people who prefer to operate at a slower, corporate style pace.

It’s not for people who work back an extra 30 minutes, and then expect a 30 minute early mark the following day.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these attitudes and behaviours, they are simply not the right fit for us. Don’t think in terms or ‘right behaviours / wrong behaviours’ or ‘good behaviours / bad behaviours’, there’s too much judgment in that. It’s simply, “is this person a cultural fit with us?”

If you want to determine how this process would translate into your business, think of it this way: in the first six months of this person working for you, what are the key challenges they are going to face?

What are the challenge points? What are the sticking points? What are the reasons people have left in the past?

Talk about these things. Honestly, compassionately, wholeheartedly. 

Your honesty will probably scare some people off. But you will scare off the people who were never right for your business in the first place. They will deselect themselves.

To go back to the dating analogy: it is far better to be single for a year while you’re finding the right person, than it is to invest a year trying to make it work with the wrong person. 

Recruitment is no different.

It’s the people who are still deeply committed to joining your vision after you’ve been honest and transparent, that you want in your business. They’re your A-Players.

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I recently produced a podcast on how I’ve built my A-Team – you can check it out here

About Jack Delosa


Jack Delosa is an entrepreneur and investor who is changing education. He is the founder and CEO of Australia’s largest education institution for entrepreneurs, The Entourage. He is also an investor in growth companies such as Q-Biotics and eMerchants (ASX:EML), and founded The Entourage Growth Fund, which invests in upstart businesses. He is one of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs, having been listed in the BRW Young Rich List since 2014.

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