Hiring is Growth Hacking applied to organizations.
What does that mean?
It is expensive to pay a staffing consulting $10k – $20k per hire, so creative, guerrilla tactics have to be adopted. Using your network to reach out to your audience, relying on word of mouth, the referral program that extends beyond employees, Quora/Twitter/LinkedIn for lead generation, fancy videos and blog posts with great content, etc.
It can be harder for large companies to do real growth hacking, whether to acquire users or employees, for many reasons, some legitimate: agility, red tape, risk averseness, etc. But there are always inspired employees in these companies making an exception.
So how should one go about hiring like a growth hacker?
1. Double down on metrics
Draw out funnels for every channel you are sourcing candidates from. Measure success rates (define success explicitly: an interview accept? the actual hire?) and work on drop off points. Be ruthless about cutting out the underperforming channels, regardless of how cool they are right now. It is an optimization problem.
2. Growth is a culture
You have to build acquisition and retention into your product DNA. Same for your organization. Every employee should be an evangelist. Every employee should be helping with the hiring process.
3. Initial user experience
If the first interaction requires a prospective candidate to commit to a job search or going through an interview process, it’s an anti-hack. It’s why you choose to ignore those InMails. Elicit a “wow” the first time, then take it from there.
4. Spread success stories
Get new employees to update LinkedIn profiles, Facebook/Twitter statuses immediately. Ask them to blog about their first day. Show off internal successes.
5. Multi multi channel
That’s two “multi”s. Everyone is already multi-channel: they’re on LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter, StackOverflow, etc. Find more channels. Treat everything as a channel. Exactly why this is like growth hacking: the answers are not already available.
6. Create content
Content is one of the best ways to engage your audience. The Kixeye hiring video. The Facebook Engineering blog. Meet The Team sections on so many company websites.
When you’re starting from zero, you have to bootstrap. An online education startup bootstrapped by creating courses themselves from publicly available course material. A local services marketplace bootstrapped by letting you type in any service you wanted, and then going out to find and sign up a provider for that service. An e-commerce selling diapers online started by fulfilling orders by buying diapers from the local Target store.
Got any more growth hacks that can be applied to hiring? Leave a comment, and I’ll add it to this list.