“Hundreds of fast growing companies use the Recruiterbox Applicant Tracking System.”
That’s what it says on our homepage. It’s not bragging, that is simply what we do; we help companies grow. We have been with users through just about every stage of business growth, and we’ve seen companies scale wisely…and not so wisely.
Lou Adler (@LouA ) of the Adler Group is an expert in helping companies implement performance-based hiring. He’s got some insights on matching hires with each stage of a company’s growth in the business life cycle that we thought rang pretty true. Adler said:
“What I learned along the way is that no one personality, philosophy, or pedigree is an obvious choice for all growing startups. The right hire hinges on a company’s stage in the corporate life cycle.”
Adler theorizes that there are four basic work types that align optimally with the stages of growth in an organization.
1) Thinkers are needed mostly for the first stage, which is development . A thinker will be good at planning, designing, creating and strategizing, but not so much the implementation. When a company needs thinkers, they should be looking for inventor- and entrepreneur-types. Adler said:
“These people typically dominate the early stages of a company, new venture or project. Their work covers new products, new businesses, and different ways of doing anything.”
Beware; the thinker has been known to become a roadblock once the development stage is done. Improvement can trump implementation in their opinion, slowing down the launching process at all turns.
Forbes contributor Eric T. Wagner also believes that growth will only be accomplished through strategic leadershi p:
“…if you don’t focus on the key activities which move your business forward in a strategic way — you’re doomed to stagnate. Forever.”
2) The next stage, the launch, requires builders . These are the doers who can take the ideas and run with them. They aren’t the type who will allow for bottlenecks or roadblocks. They pick up where the thinkers leave off, and they are here to get the job done. These workers are task-oriented, decision makers.
They don’t just hack it in an environment with loose-structure, they thrive in it. That’s great for getting launches off the ground, but it’s not so great when a company stabilizes and implements structure, order and stricter management.
Keep in mind that it’s not all about the hiring, leaders must be able to grow as the company scales. “As a company goes through each stage, it is critical for the owner to know when to give up control and delegate responsibilities .” It can be hard for some leaders to enter the launch, because they must let their workers make some of the decisions. This stage of growth makes it nearly impossible for the owner to micro-mange, as they had to before.
3) Improvers step in at the rapid growth stage. They take the systems and processes that got the company through the launch, and do exactly what their name implies; improve upon them. The chaos and “get it done” nature of the launch isn’t good for sustainability, so improvers smooth out the edges and bring structure.
Adler warns against bringing this type on too soon. Their specific skill sets are not optimal in the beginning or launch stages because they tend to implement rules and restrictions too soon, stifling creativity and creating bottlenecks. Adler said:
“Improvers are essential for bridging the gap between rapid and sustainable growth.”
These team members thrive on setting and meeting performance objectives. Chron has a great piece in their Small Business section on the different types of goals that leadership can set for their employees to increased productivity and push improvements.
4) Producers are needed in the maturity stage of a company. They are the fine-tuners for the customer end of the company. Their attention to detail and emphasis on above average customer service ensures customer retention and attraction. Adler said,
“This type of worker is the lifeblood of any successful organization.”
A simple interviewing trick to see who those detail-oriented people you’re looking for really are, is to ask questions specific to the job description. A TheLadders report found that 44% of job-seekers to spend 1-5 minutes reading each job description, and 19% said they spend up to 10 whole minutes reading each one. Through eye-tracking technology they found that the average time spent on a job description was actually less than 50 seconds.
They won’t waltz into an interview with a name badge on, “Thinker” or “Improver”. It’s not an exact science, but it is vital to look for the appropriate traits that compliment the stage that the company is in. Identifying the stages of growth, and the corresponding talent needs, should be a first step in every successful hire.