As a woman and a newbie among the founder community, I’ve had the chance to speak with a handful of other female founders who are farther down their paths. They’re always kind and so generous with their ideas. They each offered a nuanced element of advice based on their experiences, but most often their failures. I’m not surprised at all that in business, like life, we learn the most by falling down and scraping ourselves up a little.
Early on, a lot of my questions were really focused on the work – talking about recruitment marketing and how to develop a niche with tangible products from a recruitment marketing services firm. I’d dial in to the how tos and the “what am I not looking for” questions, begging for answers that would help me avoid the predictable potholes.
However, the one question I wasn’t really asking was – “what were you thinking about when you started hiring?” In my head, I had 2 things going for me. One, I was solo and planned to stay that way for awhile (I was wrong, btw). Secondly, as someone who writes, reads and speaks pretty extensively about recruiting and hiring, I could totally just do in my own company.
What Is Hiring With Intent?
But it’s MY company. That means it matters a little more than some generic one-off piece of advice. It all seems much more complicated than it ever has before. See, everything we talk about when it comes to the practical and functional elements of HR and recruiting don’t begin to touch the psychology behind your first hire in a startup. The risks. The what ifs. And even more importantly, the intent to do good.
Like I said earlier, I was wrong about the solo forever thing. I am going to have to start hiring people soon to make sure my business can scale. Frankly, I’m petrified. I’m scared that if I fail, I’m taking other people down with me. I’m scared that I won’t hire the right person and will have to fire someone. I’m scared that I’ll have to have really hard conversations.
I can keep going.
However I also recognize that hiring can be an accelerator. It means I can deliver more programs and help more people write really smart and effective recruiting messages.
But I’m also practical. (Thanks accountant parents.) So, in recent conversations with female founders, I’ve started asking about hiring. How did they know? When did they know? Who did they hire? While there was a ton of practical advice, what I found really fascinating were the founders who are hiring with intent.
What do I mean by hiring with intent? They were determined to create opportunities for people they know are undervalued in the market. They wanted to serve others by creating a new path that would afford them the life they want to lead and value who they are instead of treating their background or needs like a scarlet letter.
One was a Mom who specifically hires other Moms because she knows there should be more remote, flexible work to let people live a balanced life. One, two women determined to build a videography team of women in a male dominated field. There are more.
In a world where people are all trying to automate, replicate and template recruiting – they said “no” to the inherent bias that brings. They built new hiring pipelines that made it all about ability over pedigree. They let people submit work samples and most said, “ya know, I never would have hired this person if I got a copy of their resume.”
That’s a recruiting model I think we should all get on board with. I know Three Ears Media will. Once I get over being petrified and all.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.