So you want to hire someone? Well, you had better have a good reason for it. You are asking for a $100k–$200k cash investment at the very minimum, not to mention all the hidden costs associated with adding headcount, like ops and communication overhead.
Because of these costs, hiring should be your last resort. At the same time, you need to ensure your team is not understaffed, or else you may find yourself getting pulled into IC work in addition to your managerial and recruiting duties.
Your managerial leverage is your team's output divided by your team's size. In other words, how much are you able to do with as few people as possible? Great managers understand that by hiring the right people you can have a force multiplier effect on the output of your team. And conversely, that by hiring the wrong people (or over-hiring), you reduce your managerial leverage.
A key part of making the right hiring decisions comes from a process of inquiry that helps them justify the hire: a role proposal that explores alternate options, models the ideal candidate, and defines success.
As with asking for any investment, you first start out with a proposal—a pitch deck justifying the expense. This should be submitted to both your manager and our People team.
The first failure point of hiring is not being crystal clear about what you really want the person you hire to accomplish. A good proposal will cover that.
For a good example of a role proposal, see the one we created for our Head of Rev Ops position.
This is a public-facing job description to be posted on our website and on other job sites. This description should include a list of key responsibilities, a list of need-to-haves, and a list of nice-to-haves. This description should take you thirty minutes to one hour to write.
Most companies' job descriptions are relatively boring; don't make that mistake. Write a dynamic and entertaining proposal really selling the company and the position. Remember, you're trying to influence someone to make a fundamental change to their lives, it had better be worth it for them!
Furthermore, A players will already be gainfully employed and performing well. You're pulling them away from comfortable success, so you need to highlight growth opportunities, a culture of success, and the other things that make working here so special.
We recommend including a series of questions at the end of this job description for the candidate to answer when applying. This will let you quickly filter out candidates who are applying to jobs en masse and focus on those who specifically want to work here.
We recommend using this description for our Rev Ops position as an example.
This should detail how we actually measure what we want this person to accomplish in the first 6–12 months and what attributes they should possess in order to accomplish this. Here is a good example: Scorecard for Head of Revenue Operations.
From the book Who, a scorecard should consist of the following things:
Mission. Develop a short statement of one to five sentences that describes why a role exists. For example, “The mission for the customer service representative is to help customers resolve their questions and complaints with the highest level of courtesy possible.”
Outcomes. Develop three to eight specific, objective outcomes that a person must accomplish to achieve an A performance. For example, “Improve customer satisfaction on a ten-point scale from 7.1 to 9.0 by December 31st.”
Competencies. Identify as many role-based competencies as you think appropriate to describe the behaviors someone must demonstrate to achieve the outcomes. Next, identify five to eight competencies that describe your culture, and place those on every scorecard. For example, “Competencies include efficiency, honesty, high standards, and a customer service mentality.”
Ensure alignment and communicate. Pressure-test your scorecard by comparing it with the business plan and scorecards of the people who will interface with the role. Ensure that there is consistency and alignment. Then share the scorecard with relevant parties, including peers and recruiters.
While typical job descriptions break down because they focus on activities, or a list of things a person will be doing (e.g., calling customers, selling), scorecards succeed because they focus on outcomes, or what a person must get done (e.g., grow revenue from $10 million to $15 million in the third quarter).
We have standardized levels for every role at Clearbit to fairly calculate compensation. Talk to our People team if you're unfamiliar with the different bands.
In this section of your role proposal, also include who the person is reporting to (probably you) and their title.
Use our leveling system to find estimated salary ranges.
These are metrics that you would expect to improve if we successfully hired for this role.
Give a list of alternatives to hiring this person. This is an important part of the process because it indicates to whoever is approving the role that you have really considered every other option. You might think hiring someone for the position is obvious, but entertain alternatives. Being able to explore the opposite is the mark of an enlightened mind (see Exploring the opposite).
If it's clear you haven't spent much time thinking about alternatives, then prepare for your request to be denied.
This section should indicate the urgency of the hire. Can we push this hire out for three months, or should we have made it yesterday?
Again, make a real effort to give this an honest answer. A good tactic in startups is to mortgage the future, that is, to punt problems into the future when you will have more time and resources to deal with them. Is this one of those cases?