The Five Disciplines of Hiring

Hiring is a full-time job.

The irony is that the people who need to hire the most (and the fastest) are usually those who are already slammed with their current role as a Founder, C-level exec, or head of HR.

Even if your full-time job is hiring—e.g. you’re an in-house recruiter—there’s a good chance that you either dislike or don’t have the bandwidth for, one of the Five Disciplines that makes for hiring great people. In this post, you’ll learn what success looks like in each and how you can harness the Five Disciplines of Hiring to supercharge your startup’s recruiting function.

The Five Disciplines of Hiring

Over the last decade, I’ve hired hundreds of people personally and sat in on thousands of interviews. I’ve run background checks and tried desperately to manage the copious amounts of digital “paperwork” that has to be created, distributed, tracked and updated, for each active search.

I’ve scratched my head comparing applicant tracking systems (ATS), suffered through the learning curve that comes with each new system, and finally realized that for an ATS to even be worthwhile, one must be committed to consistently updating candidates through each and every step of the funnel. Or you’re just doing this:

Then, there’s the actual interview process!

I’ve learned that reviewing resumes upfront is an epic waste of time and that instead, making candidates clear at least one “hurdle” before you view their resume, saves precious time and keeps you from playing investigative detective with their CV. These hurdles can be simple written screens, or require them to take an action, like calling a phone number that goes to a voicemail box and leaving a message (to get a sense for if (a) they’ll follow instructions and (b) they can communicate verbally).

Then there are the phone screens, which if done well require a whole other skillset, versus the highly detail-oriented processing that comes before. A phenomenal interviewer creates authentic rapport with the candidate, making them feel at ease while vetting them for culture and skill fit. A great interviewer tells each company’s story in a compelling way, keeps candidates engaged and makes the entire process a positive one, whether or not the candidate gets the job in the end.

Lastly, its best to always run an outbound search while you process inbound applicants. This means one needs to excel at researching and engaging with passive talent. It’s not just spamming people on Linkedin, but an art that takes time and true interest in how the role you’re looking to hire could fit within a potential candidates’ career journey… If done right, this takes time, some luck and creative thinking. Most importantly, it requires caring about the other person, not just your needs.

I started AVRA from the realization that no one person is going to be excellent at each of these unique disciplines. Instead, running a thorough, unbiased, and quick hiring process takes a team effort. This is how the Five Disciplines of Hiring and our Dedicated Recruiting Teams (DRT) were born…

Now, let’s break down each role within the Five Disciplines of Hiring, so you can find people within your own organization who excel at each—or—engage AVRA to be an extension of your internal talent team.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” ― Aristotle

The Strategist

Our Strategists are senior recruiters who often hail from the entrepreneurial or operations world. They are well-versed in hiring a variety of roles, across various stages in a company’s lifecycle. They’re executors who work closely with your team and potentially Domain Experts to develop a tailored hiring process based on your culture and each job’s end goal. If hiring is not your full time job, you must make sure you have a Strategist to run the process—they take full ownership so you can focus on what you do best. If you’re an in-house or contract Recruiter, you probably play this role yourself.

The Domain Expert

As a subject-matter expert in their field, Domain Experts bring to the table a deep understanding of the nuances of a particular role, and how it fits into the larger business function. This should be someone who has worked with top firms doing the work that you’re hiring for, and are up-to-date with the current employment landscape for that field. The Domain Expert works hand-in-hand with the Strategist to craft job descriptions that will attract the best candidates while helping the Interviewers tell the difference between good and great. Ideally, they are available for consultations, final interviews, and gut-checks throughout the process.

The Interviewer

As a vital part of the recruiting ecosystem, the Interviewer ensures only quality candidates proceed through the screening process based on the questions the Strategist and Domain Expert develop.

A good Interviewer has a keen eye for details which comes in handy as they filter the first step of the application process, then complete phone screens with candidates who are potential fits. The Interviewer discipline is perfect for a person who loves interacting with others and is naturally curious. It requires a high-EQ, but mature personality type.

The Sourcer

An often unsung hero in the recruiting process, the Sourcer, searches far and wide for people who could potentially be good candidates for your open role, but who are not actively looking. A great Sourcer is a constant learner, with a passion for research, utilizing pattern recognition and input from the Domain Expert to find non-traditional candidates as well as obvious fits. They present their passive candidates to the Interviewer who provides feedback on whether they’re viable or not, then reaches out to start the conversation.

The Coordinator

Coordinators work in harmony with other Disciplines, using their ‘get sh** done’ mentality to handle all behind the scene administrative operations. They are extremely detail-oriented, and consummate organizers who take the “paperwork” side of the recruiting process off the rest of the team’s plate as much as possible. They are responsible for updating and managing the ATS, handling the influx of data-points and documents, and all-in-all acting as the memory of the recruiting team.

In Summary

IMHO, this is the ideal way to run a thorough and thoughtful hiring process. That being said, all best laid plans tend to shift when faced with reality. If you have a few people who can cover these roles across your company, supporting the recruiting function, you’ll be able to run a better, more diverse, process that will hopefully produce tremendous results. If you aren’t able to—you can bring on an external firm like ours to support your needs, or you can tap advisors and investors to play Domain Experts and perhaps co-founders, or early employees to pinch-hit the other disciplines.

If you want more information on what each role looks like, we’re always hiring for Coordinators, Interviewers and Strategists at AVRA so you can take a gander at our job descriptions here.

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