How We’re Building Our Dream Team

February 20, 2015 at 7:00 AM Vivek Reddy

dreamteam_blog.jpgFor every company, growing the perfect team is a work in progress. A push and pull. Trial and error. Hiring, and unfortunately, firing.

Identifying people who could be right for the job is a small portion of what it takes to successfully build an ideal workplace. Keeping them around for the long-run is the part everyone’s working to fine-tune. In other words, what’s the key to finding the balance between growing a happy, satisfied team and a thriving company?   

If you're no stranger to the Entelo Blog, you know we share a great deal on how recruiters and hiring managers can be better at finding talent. Similarly, we're constantly working on finding our own sweet spot for hiring people.

At Entelo, we’re creating a culture excited to build a product that helps others improve the way they work. What’s our secret formula?

Recruiting and hiring starts at the top

Our CEO, Jon Bischke, continually stresses the importance of recruiting to the entire team, especially with the leadership team. Every weekly team meeting includes an overview of candidates and hiring initiatives for the week. Additionally, there’s an expectation that every team lead spends a significant portion of their weeks recruiting for their most pressing roles. This includes the full spectrum of recruiting from sourcing to interviewing to closing candidates. On average, I’ve seen hiring managers spend anywhere from 25-50% of their time each week on recruiting-related activities.

And this isn’t limited to just hiring managers. Jon also spends a ton of his time each week when it comes to recruiting. One piece of feedback I frequently receive from candidates is how impressed they were with the fact that Jon personally sends sourcing emails to candidates and will hop on initial calls with them. That level of emphasis on recruiting trickles down to the entire team and has helped us create a culture where everyone is a part of the recruiting process.

Everyone gets involved

Most companies will only require employees to be a part of the interview process, and leave most other responsibilities to their talent acquisition teams. We don’t think that way. Whether it’s the engineering team building tools allowing them to sort through their networks better or the marketing team researching recruiting topics to produce better content around talent acquisition, each team understands that staying involved and up-to-date on the recruiting process and latest industry news allows them to do their day jobs better.

Naturally, since we build recruiting software it’s especially important for everyone on the team to understand recruiting so we can set a great example for customers, prospects and candidates. However, there’s more to staying involved with our recruiting practices; one of the things I stress to teammates is the importance of recruiting for their own professional development. Leadership demands that you can grow a team and develop them, and I’m convinced that the emphasis we place on talent will go a long ways to helping all my teammates become better leaders in the future.

Hiring for culture

Many companies talk about vetting for culture in their interview process, but what does that really mean? For us, building a culture starts with how our interview process is structured in the first place, and there are some commonalities to our process regardless of the role we’re looking to hire for:

  • Generally speaking, regardless of what role we’re recruiting for, we strongly prefer having hiring managers meet with candidates at least twice, though there are some exceptions, especially for non-local candidates. Our rationale is that hiring managers should have ample time to get to know candidates that would be their direct reports. It’s a disservice to both the hiring manager as well as the candidate if they haven’t had enough time getting to know each other before committing to what hopefully will be a multi-year working relationship.

  • We attempt to have as many team members interview a candidate as is reasonable, and for our company size, that can fall anywhere between three and five interviews. Even if a hiring manager gets along with a prospective candidate, the candidate may not work well with the rest of the team. Additionally, getting multiple different data points from the team ensures that you hire for people the entire team feels comfortable working with. This also doubles as good from the candidate’s perspective as they get a chance to interface with their future team members and potentially get even more excited to join the company.

  • We also attempt to normalize our interviews. Admittedly, there’s still a lot of improvement to be done here, but when we involve most of the team in every hiring decision, we do try hard to focus on different areas of a candidate’s background. This serves to help us understand a candidate from multiple vantage points and increases the odds that he or she will be a strong cultural fit. It also doubles to keep a candidate engaged, especially if they feel every interview is different.

Build for the long term

Jon always mentions to us that we should never stop recruiting. Specifically, in order to retain your top talent, you should still be “recruiting” them. We attempt to do this in a number of ways, but most notably:

  • Create a diverse, enjoyable and understanding work environment. We take pride in bringing on people from different backgrounds and especially when it comes to fostering an environment conducive to parents and those with families. Companies preach work-life balance, and we stress even during the recruiting process that we highly encourage taking vacation, spending regular time with families and avoiding burnouts. It helps having founders and a leadership team that sets the tone here.

  • Have great policies for maternity and paternity leave. I always like pointing to various teammates and how they’ve managed their own maternity or paternity leaves. This goes a long ways toward fostering a culture conducive to parents and women in particular.

  • Foster a culture of professional growth. Jon loves asking prospective candidates about what they want to do after Entelo, and it speaks to how we’ve built a culture where people can grow and develop themselves professionally. It also helps having multiple people to serve as “case studies” whether they’ve grown from an Sales Development Representative into a Senior Account Executive in less than a year or have played a number of roles across various departments and disciplines. Talking about this part of our culture has gone a long ways toward increasing the number of referrals we get from current employees and our ability to close candidates we’re actively interviewing.

While this is by no means an exhaustive look at how we think about recruiting, these principles are the ones that lead how we think about growing our own team with the types of people who want to help us improve the way organizations recruit as a whole.

If what we’re doing at Entelo sounds like something you want to be a part of, we want to hear from you. We’re hiring!

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