Just as being a CEO can be lonely, working as a company’s only recruiter can be isolating. Chances are a company’s first recruiter will join an organization that lacks a process for attracting new employees. That lone recruiter must build a network and begin sourcing jobs with no internal help. This poses a unique challenge, so to address the issue, area startup recruiters are tapping an odd source of help: their counterparts at other companies.
Once a week, three to 10 recruiters join a conference call to talk about issues and roadblocks, suggest different tools for seeking talent, and even share candidates.
Darci Lee, director of recruiting at BitTitan, said firms of all sizes and industries are competing in the same talent pool, but there’s still room to share. “I can interview 10 people and narrow it down so it was hard to choose between three, and I can go, ‘Here, you get these two that are still good.’”
Lee has recruited tech employees for 25 years, but recruiters at small firms have to be able to fill every role, including receptionists and executive assistants.
“If I were recruiting an executive assistant, I’d still post it, but definitely this group is my main go-to for local-based positions. Even if our networks expand beyond here, someone in the Bay Area or Denver could probably help you,” said Sara Seabourne, recruiter for Seattle-based Author-it.
Since Seabourne joined Author-it in September as its first full-time recruiter, she’s hired 40 people to accommodate for turnover and restructuring.
“We might be looking for similar people, so where are you looking that I’m not, and let’s connect about people and what sources you’re using to find your people,” Seabourne said of the network. “Or even, we talk about what companies we know that are struggling that have potential candidates or active candidates.”
Naarah Hastings, recruiter for K2 in Bellevue, said that when she worked for a recruiting agency, there was no way she would have shared resumes or candidates with other recruiters. The idea of sharing candidates is new, and the value is inherent.
“If a candidate doesn’t pass with you, they’re not going to pass with you (in the future), and the benefit of sharing it is going to be unbelievable because (recruiters) are always going to remember you for doing that, and they’re going to pass you referrals,” Hastings said, adding that she screens between seven and 10 job candidates per day.
“I’ll fill three roles, and then get postings for four more just like it,” she said. “We’re always looking for more candidates.”
To help combat the footwork of recruiting for midsize, fast-growing companies, the network of recruiters launched Seattle Startup Recruit Week. Instead of holding recruiting events randomly through the year, each company held an open house during the same week. The key for Lee was getting potential employees into the office instead of renting an event space.
“We want the people to come to the building and see the work space,” Lee said. “The office is a sandbox, and how do you get people to play in your sandbox instead of somewhere else? You get them to come see it.”