Hiring for Growth: Tips for Finding the Right Fit

February 1, 2016

HIGH-GROWTH companies are fun, maddening, lucrative, and a bust – often all at the same time. When someone participates in this unique environment, it compresses a person’s career experience in meaningful ways, whether at the C-suite or as an unpaid intern.

As a CEO of a high-growth company, how does one manage to quickly hire the “right” people when the stakes are high, the risks higher, and the margin of error razor thin? Here are a few tips to consider:

  • First, hire leaders capable of being change agents. Successful organizations grow by being nimble and responsive to the market. Organizational change is a vital element to sustained growth. Hire leaders who know when change needs to occur, can build consensus around a vision for change, and encourage a culture of learning.
  • Second, hire managers who take an HR-centric approach to leadership. Employees want to grow personally while serving the organization. Successful companies invest in their employees and supply them with challenging assignments, which transforms them into brand ambassadors and, in turn, realizes sustained growth.
  • Third, hire leaders who encourage constructive dissent in the organization. Groupthink can derail growth and stifle innovation. Cultivate an organization that considers ideas and perspectives from every level of the organization and doesn’t shy away from robust dialogue. When harnessed, dissent can be a force of good for any organization committed to growth.

Identifying the Change Agents

Are there obvious signs that separate these winners from the rest of the pack? The answer is yes, and here’s how to spot them:

  • In the interview process, include questions about the candidate’s risk profile as it relates to compensation. People who are comfortable working underneath a compensation structure more heavily weighted toward “at risk” versus “not at risk” should move to the top of the list.
  • Inquire about a person’s work ethic throughout his or her life – seek specific examples of how they have distinguished themselves through good old fashioned work and commitment. Move those who have demonstrated hard work and commitment further up the hiring list.
  • Determine how easily a person gets frustrated or what types of scenarios led to his or her job frustration in the past. Answers should be quite telling as to whether that individual can operate effectively in an organization that demands flexibility and runs with a high degree of ambiguity.
  • Examine a person’s background as it relates to working through adversity or crises, however defined, especially within or among groups. Relevant predictors of success might be found by asking a candidate about his or her upbringing, history of solving challenges, or propensity toward team-driven hobbies like sports.

Time is money, so while there are many more attributes a high-growth company CEO should examine when hiring for a rapidly scaling organization, use these tips to move onward and upward, fast.

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About The Author

Jay Meschke is president of CBIZ Talent and Compensation Solutions. He oversees a business unit that provides retained executive search, compensation consulting, HR consulting and career transition services. He is a sought-after subject matter expert on issues related to executive search and talent management. For additional insights, visit the CBIZ blog and follow him on Twitter at @jay_meschke.


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