Case Study: Scaling for Growth

Jennifer L'Estrange
January 31, 2016

The head of HR for this startup was faced with a hiring plan that couldn’t be achieved with their current resources. They had a math problem: even if HR did nothing but interview candidates, they couldn’t close vacancies fast enough to meet business needs. While line managers were involved in the interview and selection process, HR was taking the lead in most of the phone screening and face to face interviews.  In addition, there wasn’t a consistent approach for job posting that would promote their employer brand and create some passive sourcing opportunities.

What we did
We started by taking a look at the overall process and how we could take advantage of their existing ways of working to get better leverage out of the HR time dedicated to the recruiting.  Their line managers were smart, talented and highly engaged. The company founders were incredibly coachable.  We also looked at how technology could support their process management.

As a next step, we took a look at the workforce plan and how it tied to business growth targets. We set priorities so that everyone understood what had to be filled first across both sales and operations functions.  Knowing that the company planned to continue to grow, we also added a vacancy for a full time recruiting once the organization hit 70 headcount.

We implemented a subscription based applicant tracking system (ATS) that offered them a career landing page, the ability to post for free or at heavily discounted rates on dozens of job posting sites and allowed all resumes to come in to one place.  The system performed an initial technical screening based on skills and an easy rating system where we could triage candidates for further review.  They also added a outside skills assessment for certain job families.

We also looked at the interview questions and developed an inventory of role-based interview questions using Korn Ferry Leadership Architect® and trained all line managers in behavioral interview techniques to create consistency in the interview process across the organization. From there we were able to get hiring managers involved earlier in the recruiting process. Using the ATS along with #slack, we had the hiring managers screening for skills and used role-specific assessments for further screening data. HR was still responsible for the overall process but the hiring manager was able to take the lead in the interview and selection or employees for their teams.

The result
We were able to manage far more vacancies in parallel now that hiring managers were at the center of the process and the organization grow from 30 to 120 in less than a year. They moved out of their WeWork and into their own office space downtown.

We recently went to visit this client about 9 months after concluding the engagement.  They are now just under 300 headcount and were recently acquired for a substantial multiple of sales. They continue to be process-focused which drives their ability to scale. Their leadership is among the most coachable that we have worked with and their teams are highly engaged and feel a vested interest in the company’s success.


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