What I Know About Hiring and Firing: Part 1

In this four part mini-series on recruitment, I will share my insights into the hiring challenges of growth companies.

As a body of ideas, I make no particular claim to originality. Rather, I hope that the filter of my experience of working in and around entrepreneurial ventures for over 15 years will inform my perspective with insights that are borne of experimentation and practice.

My search has been one that always seeks to balance ‘the art of doing’ with a ‘scientific approach’: to inject some science into art and some art into the science.

My thoughts are written with founders and untested first time CEOs in mind. Theirs is an incredibly challenging role and chief among their challenges will be ‘hiring and firing’.

Ensuring that the coffers never run dry is a fear-inducing imperative. And yet, of all the issues that a CEO must tackle, people issues can be the most agonising and the most difficult to act upon decisively and with the intended effect.

As the company grows, people management comes to the fore. The company is its people and ‘growing’ the company almost invariably means growing the number of people as well as ‘growing’ the people themselves to meet the challenges of growth.

1.       Don’t delegate ever

As a general rule of thumb, as a company grows, the CEO must delegate. Failure to do so will create a ‘cartwheel’ organisation that will stymie growth.

For the CEO, the critical questions are about ‘what to delegate’ completely and ‘when to delegate’. Yet when it comes to hiring, the answer is simple. Don’t. Ever. Hiring is simply too important to delegate.

Consider this: the earlier the stage of the company, the more critical each new hire is. If you are a small five person team, the new hire will represent  17% of your team. An attractive opportunity for the new employee:  a critical, foundational decision for you.

This person will become part of the fabric of your organisation and will influence and shape it for better or for worst. A great hire will add expertise and will balance your team.  A poor hire will add little and leave weaknesses unaddressed.  Sub-optimal hiring equates to a brake on the development of the organisation and loss of opportunity.

Look out for the second part of this series to be published next week.