Building a Talent-Obsessed Organization

Last updated:
April 4, 2023
April 4, 2023
min read
Karim Gharsallah
recruitee hiring philosophy
Table of contents

In early 2021, Recruitee brought me on to build the talent acquisition engine to secure the talent needs of today and the future. Since then, we’ve come closer to achieving our north star, becoming a talent-obsessed organization.

In this blog post, I will explain how we almost tripled our employee headcount in two years, going from 100 to 275+ employees. 

Our principles for hiring

Every strategy starts with its mission and principles. In my first few weeks of my Recruitee journey, I defined our principles for hiring. These principles culminated in my seven years (and counting) in recruitment which gave meaning to us becoming a talent-obsessed organization. It also meant that with my team growing, we could all work according to the same principles but still have our creative room in its execution.

Some of these principles are:

  • Hiring is a group decision (collaborative hiring)
  • Never compromise on talent
  • Have a clear external image of why we’re a great place to work at
  • Recruitment is an investment
  • Talent is not limited to a region or country
  • Use data to drive better hiring decisions

These principles helped us transform Talent Acquisition into a strategic function with lasting impact. I’ll elaborate on three principles below. 

Recruitment is an investment, not a cost center

I can explain this principle from a few different perspectives. Firstly, people are an asset to any company; they write the success story and will only become more valuable with time. With that in mind, making the right hire has become more crucial. You don’t just want to solve today's problems but the future’s as well. For start-ups/scale-ups, especially, you need to hire for the next 18 months.

Change is a constant, so with any position we’ve opened, we thought of how that role would evolve and took that into account when building the job profile. Secondly, it’s about how to define the quantitative success of recruitment. We got rid of our cost-per-hire and other old-school metrics because those are one-dimensional and don’t tell the whole story.

Instead, we looked at the total number (and type) of hires per year, roadmapped priorities and then based our hiring budget/investment on that. We also started measuring the quality of hire (current NPS: 66). 

The importance of hiring team/recruiter relationship 

This is one of the most important aspects of being successful in hiring. It starts with asking the right questions, creating full transparency, making hiring a group decision, and having regular decision meetings.

I never start with designing a hiring process, but rather take ten steps back and ask these questions: 

  • Who makes the hiring decision?
  • What information do you need to make a hiring decision, and 
  • How do you make a hiring decision to begin with?  

It’s about creating an environment of full transparency within the hiring team. Everyone has access to the same information to help make the decision. And most importantly, the hiring manager doesn’t make the decision; the whole hiring team does. Therefore, having regular decision meetings for continuous alignment is crucial. 

Re-think your Employee Value Proposition 

The successful formula for attracting and retaining talent isn’t that simple. But one key ingredient is building a genuine Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The key to this principle is that every company needs somebody fluent in employer branding. Every prospective employee wants to understand the give and the get (before joining!!).

We started building our EVP at Recruitee through a major cultural audit. Every company has a culture, whether it’s defined or not. But ours is about us. It’s who we are - where we’ve come from and where we’re going. It’s our identity. And collaboration has helped us to identify this.

We used the results of that audit to build the brand and showcase who we are to the world. People can then figure out for themselves if that matches their values.

The future of recruitment

We can look back at a fantastic time of growth in which we’ve hired over 225+ new Recruitees and Kiwis. But to continue chasing our north star means we’ll never be done. We need to keep improving. 

That begs the question: what does the future hold for us? We’re moving towards a combination of skills- and competency-based hiring approach.

Skills are someone's toolbox of knowledge, experience, and track record. Competencies are how someone utilizes that toolbox in practice and acquires new skills. But we also keep in mind that past experiences don’t guarantee future success. Someone’s competencies are sometimes far more interesting than having a particular track record.

We must set our candidates up for success to successfully implement this new strategy. We are signaling the end of candidates guessing what an interview will be about. We strive to empower them by sharing the topics and questions covered in the interview beforehand. This allows candidates to prepare and showcase their competencies.

Candidates applying for the same role will receive the same questions and topics to ensure fairer outcomes. In addition, this forces the hiring manager to conduct structured interviews, which is paramount in achieving hiring success. 

In conclusion, I leave you with this thought. Recruitment is often seen as transactional, but it’s a function with an ever-growing complexity where Talent Acquisition leaders become transformational leaders.  It’s time to start future-proofing your Talent Acquisition engine. 

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