July 17, 2018

Three Lessons Learned from Recruiting for a Rapidly Growing Team

Megan Emhoff

It seems like we welcome a new hire to the Protenus team almost every week. We’ve grown more than 100 percent in the last year, bringing our team to more than 50 members strong - and we’re still growing. During this period of rapid growth, we took time to evaluate our initial progress and assess what has gone well and where we could improve our hiring process. We have found that this early investment in strategic People Operations continues to be a powerful tool for helping us scale more effectively.

Here are a few lessons we’ve learned over the last several months as we’ve reviewed the recruiting and hiring process to meet the needs of our rapidly growing team.

Lesson 1: Use data to inform hiring decisions

At the beginning of this year, we outlined a hiring framework using structured interviews, skills-based assessments, and team interviews. Interviews are useful for allowing candidates to describe their experience, while skills assessments can be more predictive of future performance. These assessments, which range from coding challenges to writing exercises to project plans give each candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their specialized abilities. By combining these assessments with other skills-based data to inform hiring decisions, we’re able to make better hiring decisions and offer a better candidate experience.

Our hope is that by using a data-driven recruiting process, rather than relying solely on resumes or interviews to determine job fit, we’re able to maintain high standards for hiring and better predict performance success.

Lesson 2: Take your time

Before jumping into recruiting, especially for highly technical roles, it’s important to take time to truly understand the competencies required for success. While time consuming, this holistic approach to understanding the industry, product, and technical skills required for each role is invaluable.

Additionally, it can be difficult to estimate the time required to fill a newly created role and maintain high standards while continuing momentum after dozens of interviews. It’s important to encourage interviewers and hiring managers to be patient, even when interview fatigue sets in. Recruiting takes time and if we aren’t making progress on hiring as quickly as we’d like, it’s okay to step back and evaluate our processes. Regular adjustments to hiring criteria, sourcing strategy, or interview processes pay off. While there is no guarantee of success for any new hire, being thoughtful and patient through the recruiting process increases our chances of making solid hiring decisions.

Lesson 3: Recruiting is a team sport

Rapid growth is a catch-22. When business is accelerating at top speed, it can be difficult to prioritize recruiting. The task of hiring dozens of people can feel especially daunting.

The process of writing job descriptions, sourcing candidates, conducting interviews, evaluating skills, and on-boarding a new hire is incredibly time consuming and can easily be turned into an “HR thing.”

We have found that when the right insight, tools, and data are available, hiring managers become actively engaged in sourcing, screening, and developing skills assessments and interview questions. Direct sourcing and referrals from our team have proven to be an excellent source of highly-qualified candidates. This level of engagement has been and will continue to be invaluable as we grow.

Thinking long-term

On-boarding and integrating new team members into Protenus extends far beyond the employee’s first day. It requires as much, if not more, focus than recruiting. To bring out the best in our team and promote autonomy, it’s important to be thoughtful about setting new employees up for success. We strive to ensure that each new hire sees how their work impacts company-wide goals, has early opportunities to make meaningful connections across the team, and receives ongoing actionable feedback so they know how they are performing.

The team at Protenus continues to be incredibly supportive and approaches new hire on-boarding with the same level of focus, patience, and teamwork that they brought to our early recruiting efforts.

We have experienced quite a bit of early success in scaling our team. Yet, as a growth-stage company, we know we still have a lot to learn. It’s important that we maintain a consistent posture of transparency and humility for each new process we develop and implement. By approaching our growth in a way that reflects these values, we’re confident we’ll continue to build a world-class team that is ready to tackle healthcare’s most pressing issues.

Want to solve meaningful problems in healthcare?  Check out our current job openings.

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