Stop Throwing Recruiting Under the Bus!

Feb 18, 2014
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

There are thousands of startups in Silicon Valley who all aspire to be the next Google. Unlike Google, they don’t pro-actively invest in the resources to succeed or partner with recruiting to achieve this success. Instead they expect recruiters to work miracles in attracting top tier talent to their tiny ventures that are “disruptive.”

We’ve heard it repeatedly: they only hire the “best” and they want people from Google, Apple, and Facebook who only attend XYZ schools and are simultaneously leaders and coders with the perfect track record. Yadda yadda. Tell us something we haven’t heard a million times.

Let’s face it: LinkedIn Recruiter is saturated, but it’s still the favorite go-to. Realistically, how many times can you barrage people with InMails, especially when engineers complain or brag about how many recruiters approach them regularly? There is Github, Entelo, Hired, and Gild, but we’re so crunched to meet metrics to prove our value that there isn’t time to deeply research new tools and court passive talent. We’re all chasing the same talent and startups conveniently beat up recruiting for the lack of response from their target candidates.

Hey, startups, how about if the technical leaders partner with recruiting by branding their company? Go talk about your company and its exciting challenges at conferences and meet-ups. Host events at your offices. Don’t just leave it up to recruiting. While I know you thrive on a nimble environment that is ambiguous, flat, and volatile, there needs to be consistent best practices in interviewing and feedback loops because a bad candidate experience is a chronic problem among startups. Has anyone heard of Karma?

Ten years ago when I was at Google, I was stunned by the resources that Google incorporated into its recruiting strategy. Google established a recruiting process in its infancy that was ironclad. Moreover, Google invested in a ton of resources to create the Google brand universally, therefore making it a company of choice for everyone from college students to CTOs. So, startups, if you aspire to be Google, put your money where your mouth is. And if you don’t have Google’s deep pockets, the market will force you to adjust your expectations.

Startups aren’t the only offenders in this situation. Larger organizations that have “startups” incubated internally have similar expectations and problems, so the same applies to them. I would like to use this as a forum to hear from others about their experiences with recruiting being thrown under the bus with unrealistic expectations and impossible metrics and how they have handled or overcome those challenges.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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