From Candidate to Employee: How to Optimize Your Startup Recruitment Process

4 min read

When Kevin Kinkor started working in recruiting more than 20 years ago, the best way to advertise for a job was to buy space for an ad in the newspaper and send letters via mail to agents. Today, with the evolution of hiring, the process is much more comprehensive and, if done right, can be uniquely tailored to each company.  

After leading recruitment at companies like Pandora and Facebook, Kevin used the wisdom he acquired from his experience to launch Kinkor Consulting. Since 2014, he and his team work with clients through every step of the startup recruitment and hiring process, from acquiring qualified candidates to onboarding.

The custom strategies implemented by Kinkor Consulting help their clients grow teams and slow turnover rates. 

“Glassdoor is going to positively glow,” Kevin promises.

On Jan. 24, Kevin hosted a webinar for Founders Network where he provided insights from his experience in startup recruitment and hiring. 

To learn more about startup recruitment and hiring, see if you qualify for membership and check out his webinar from Jan. 24.

Introducing Innovation

When Kevin joined AAA as a lead recruiter for the insurance division, the department had a problem. 

The company would run advertisements in the newspaper for hiring open houses, but only a few people would show up. It would also send letters to a list of agents asking if they would be interested in joining the team at AAA. That didn’t yield much either. 

Crucially, Kevin noted that engagement was high among the few who attended AAA open houses. So, he decided to try something new. 

“Why don’t we just send letters to the agents inviting them to the open house? And, guess what: 20 to 30 people are showing up. It was easy to make hires at that point,” he says. “It’s kind of like this new thinking – chasing the numbers. I know how to get to my addressable pool, and I know where I can get them to engage.”

Aligning Startup Recruitment With Management

Kevin has figured out what works in startup recruitment and hiring, because he’s seen what doesn’t work. 

One mistake he’s seen companies make is siloing these processes – hiring, recruiting and onboarding – from management and executive decision-making.

During his tenure at Pandora, Kevin doubled the company’s roster. He brought the team from 300 to 600. But, at the same time, Pandora had not yet gotten mobile advertisers on board and was burning through cash too quickly. Then came layoffs.   

“Had I been aligned with the business and understood what was going on months in advance, we could have started talking about: What is our contingency thinking? What do we not hire? How do we slow our roll?” he says. 

“Lesson learned. Great victory at Pandora with all that hiring. Huge monumental failures in understanding the business ties to talent.”

Talent Function Optimization

Kinkor Consulting provides a service Kevin has dubbed “talent function optimization.”

By that, he’s not just referring to talent acquisition; he’s talking about the entire startup recruitment and hiring process. Kinkor Consulting analyzes clients’ talent acquisition function for barriers that turn talent away. 

For example, one client was requiring candidates to take an engineering test before speaking with any representatives of the company. The drop off at that juncture was 95 percent, he recalls. So, they revised the initial screening strategy with great results. 

“It was so easy,” Kevin says. 

Hiring doesn’t end at the offer letter. The process includes onboarding, which Kevin says can determine the length of an employee’s tenure. 

“The decision of how long they will stay with the company is made in the first two weeks. If you have a very bad first impression, they’re already thinking about leaving,” he says. 

During the webinar, he covered:

  • How hiring has changed 
  • The link between startup recruitment and management
  • Deploying employees 
  • The on-boarding process

To learn more about startup recruitment and hiring, see if you qualify for membership and check out his webinar from Jan. 24.

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