654% in 5 Years: Five Steps to Hiring for Hyper Growth

June 29th, 2015

Credit: Warren Wong, VP, Talent & Culture at Appnovation (Vertical Bridge Advisory Board member)

I was recently interviewed by RecruitingSocial to share how Appnovation Technologies is able to scale so quickly while attracting hard-to-find talent globally while garnering multiple industry awards. I want to share some of my insights.

Appnovation is a company that has grown 654% from 2009 to 2013 and in late 2014 earned the #22 spot on the prestigious 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ listing of the fastest-growing Canadian technology companies. We are only able to achieve this growth by being agile, nimble, and super responsive to our business.

Since I joined Appnovation in early 2012, our company has more than quadrupled in headcount and in revenue. In 2014, we opened three new offices: Montreal, Cardiff, and Saint John.

Step One: Understand

In order to create and manage a global talent acquisition strategy when growth and change is constant, you need to really understand the company business strategy, requirements, and markets what is in the sales funnel what your current delivery capabilities are. Where the Talent Acquisition (“TA”) team comes in, is to fill the gap between current staff complement and what you need to deliver the work that is committed to. For example, if the Sales team has opportunities that require a delivery team of 25 people, but if the delivery organization only has 15 available, the delta is 10 new hires, either from full-time hires, contractors, or vendors.

Step Two: Be Nimble, Agile and Flexible

The headlights are only about two weeks out, maybe three weeks at best, so what you need to do is build a TA team and strategy that is highly nimble, agile, and flexible. In a global professional services model like ours, the recruitment is really demand-based as opposed to forecasted, which makes it that much more challenging for long-term planning and projections. Fortunately or not so fortunately, our hiring requirements are usually multiples of the same roles, i.e., developers, project managers, etc. However, this means we must be constantly sourcing and growing a rich candidate pipeline.

Step Three: Be Focused

Our TA team gracefully counters the challenge of short headlights by being laserfocused on defining our requirements for each role. Our first principle is to not recruit positions that we do not have an approved job description from the hiring department. We need to avoid the “wild goose hunt” scenario. Instead, we partner with the hiring manager to fully understand the requirements of the job and why would a talented individual even be interested in joining our team. With every open role our Talent Acquisition Specialists will conduct a discovery meeting with the hiring manager and really define and understand what that job is really about and the nuances that come with each unique role. We appreciate that the position description could change (and likely will), but at least it gives us a baseline to get started. This becomes our road map to find what may potentially be the purple unicorn that we are searching for.

Step Four: Be Engaged

The whole recruitment process is about keeping the hiring manager and candidates fully engaged and informed. Our TA team does an excellent job of constant communication with both the hiring manager and candidates in terms of updates, and internally updating the job requisition on a regular basis. We have a lot of communication around that. There are one-on-one meetings between the hiring manager and recruiter, but we also have twice-a-week ‘talent acquisition scrums’ and weekly reporting that we provide back to the line business in terms of who are in the talent pipeline and at what stage we are at for each job requisition. Ongoing and multi-directional communication is part of our winning formula.

Step Five:

Be Clear You need to work very closely with the entire Executive team, but also with Marketing so that the brand and the image that you are creating are compelling and consistent. As a company, you need to be clear about your employer value proposition, your “EVP”. Why would a talented individual want to work for you? What will capture their imagination and heart? Our EVP positively contributes to our hyper growth in that we have a common shared story that is communicated that helps shorten our recruitment cycle. The reality is that talent management is an organizational enabler. Hopefully these five simple steps will help enable your organization to scale more effectively and efficiently.

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