…or as Gary Vaynerchuk said, “what about the great ‘not even applying in the first place’?”
The seeds of the “great resignation” go back several years and it was Texas A&M’s Anthony Klotz who gave it a name back in 2019. A 2021 Microsoft survey of over 30,000 workers showed 41% were considering quitting their job with that number rising to 54% when just Gen-Zs were considered.
Gary V’s point was that this was small beer compared to the next generation not being interested in formal employment at all and, consequently, looking for creative options around their interests that would sustain a more basic lifestyle.
What does this all mean for our B2B tech founder looking to make their first Sales hire? Is there going to a labor pool to select from? Should they lower their standards and take what they can get? Perhaps, make the hiring process easier?
Most importantly, this is not a time to accept a lowering of standards. Grabbing what you can get was never a winning strategy for startups trying to reach scale-up. Your first Sales hire is no different. Indeed, your hiring process for your Pathfinder salesperson should be tough (yet fair and respectful) with a bright light shining on the advantages of working in your business, with you and the rest of the team. Here are some general pointers to help you through:
- You have a lot going for you, flaunt it. Employee-focused businesses are going to win out and you have the ability to define what that looks like for your team. Not just in terms of work/life balance but in how you lead. Great leaders I’ve known have been empathetic and haven’t used fear as a motivator. Even when they have been tough, good leaders do so having already established empathy.
- We’ve previously discussed why you should make the hiring process hard. Remember that people’s commitment to ventures is directly proportional to the level of effort required to begin the venture. That includes social clubs/groups, employment etc.
- People don’t generally shirk from ‘hard’ and accept that as part of their hiring process, but a lack of communication is often not forgiven. How you communicate with your candidates is important, so remember that unsuccessful candidates could be potential future employees/customers. Even your chosen Pathfinder might view your business suspiciously if you ghosted them at some point in the process.
- Unless you’re 100% sure you need someone with 10 years of 125%+ overachievement in your exact industry sub-sector (and we’re 100% sure this is something you don’t need) then don’t call it out in your job posting. This is one of seven mistakes commonly made when founders make their first Sales hire.
- In a similar vein, don’t inadvertently exclude the best candidates with a poorly described job description.
The great resignation is undoubtedly real. Gary Vaynerchuk has got his finger on the pulse for sure. However, a B2B tech founder is in a great position to create an environment that is attractive to employees and that environment can only be significantly enhanced by focusing on hiring the best candidates.