Hiring for Growth Mode: How to Find Candidates Who Can Evolve Alongside Your Business

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g. you@yourcompany.com)
Please enter your work email
(e.g. you@yourcompany.com)


As technological innovations like artificial intelligence continue to change the economic landscape, attracting and retaining skilled talent who can thrive in a company in growth mode is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for business leaders.

While forward-thinking business leaders often plan for flux and flexibility in their product and service offerings, they often fail to build teams that can adapt to rapid change in the same way. What organizations should be doing instead is building teams that are capable of growing along with the business.

But what exactly does that look like? How do you identify the candidates who are most likely to succeed at a company in growth mode?

It all starts with following three key recruiting principles :

1. Look for Career-Minded People Rather Than Job-Minded People

Career-minded people are willing and able to consider the big picture; they’re primarily focused on how they can contribute to the overall success of your organization. Job-minded people, on the other hand, are simply looking for a job description to fit.

Growth-mode companies need career-minded people, because growth-mode companies need employees who can both perform their current tasks adequately and show potential to serve future needs. For example, if you run a technology startup with a mission to empower girls in STEM, you may want someone with both specific technical skills and strong public speaking skills to help share your mission with potential advocates. The idea is to think ahead as you build your team, hiring with your company’s overall mission in mind instead of only worrying about the immediate job description.

Whether they realize it or not, most hiring managers recruit job-minded people. That’s because of how the typical hiring process plays out: You look at whether a candidate’s prior experience matches the job at hand, and during the interview, you only ask questions directly related to the current job opening. This can tell you a lot about how a candidate will perform in a particular role, but very little about how they’ll contribute to your company’s overall success now and in the future.

A good way to find out where your candidate is on the career-minded vs. job-minded spectrum is to ask probing, open-ended questions that get candidates thinking about their role in the grand scheme of the business. For example:

• “Tell me about a time when you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.”
• “What if I asked you to take on a task that fell outside of your day-to-day job responsibilities? How would you handle it?”

If your candidate provides answers that demonstrate they are willing to do more than what is specifically required of them by the job description, you’ve got yourself a career-minded individual who has potential to grow in their career as your company grows.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

2. Prioritize the Right Resumes

A candidate’s resume can offer valuable insight into how well equipped they are to grow along with your company. If a candidate’s resume includes special skills, training courses, and outside achievements, that’s a sign this candidate has a career-oriented mindset. In contrast, a resume that lists only specific responsibilities at each prior place of employment typically signals a candidate has more of a job-oriented mindset.

Prioritize those candidates whose resumes speak to a career mindset. Move them through the process as quickly as possible and interview them first. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the overall recruiting process.

3. Prepare to Upskill Your Current Staff

Even if you hire the right people, their continued growth depends on your company’s continued support. Plus, every hire represents a significant investment — as much as $4,129, according to SHRM.  You’ll achieve a far better return on that investment if you make ongoing training a priority.

According to a study by IBM, approximately 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies will need to be reskilled in the next three years in order to keep up with the evolving business landscape. The earlier you embrace this reality, the better positioned your company will be for success.

Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 initiative  is a perfect example of planning for growth with your current workforce. The company is investing $700 million in efforts to train employees in software engineering, artificial intelligence, and more. In effect, Amazon is cultivating its own internal talent pipeline to get the flexibility it will need in the coming years.

You May Not Be Able to Do It Alone

If your company is in growth-mode, you may not have the time or resources necessary to conduct the full hiring process effectively. In that event, you may want to consider engaging a professional recruiting firm for assistance.

To identify the right firm for your organization, be sure to ask potential partners for examples of previous work that demonstrate a successful track record of hiring for companies with staffing challenges similar to your own. Don’t be shy about asking for client references, either. You can use these points of contact to learn more about how the individuals the firm has placed have progressed in their various roles.

In the end, business moves at the speed of technology — and technology is getting faster. By hiring for growth now, you’ll position your company to respond to whatever the future holds with increased agility and adaptability.

John Florez is CEO of RightWorks.

By John Florez