The role of a Startup CEO in closing candidates!

Hiring plays a pivotal role in the success of any startup. As the CEO of a fledgling company, you are the Chief Recruiter, responsible for shaping your organization’s culture and trajectory through your hiring decisions. While defining company culture, creating job descriptions, conducting thorough interviews, and checking references are all essential parts of the hiring process, startups often stumble when it comes to closing candidates.

Your startup’s success heavily relies on the first 100 to 200 employees who will help build your rocket ship. Others will eagerly jump aboard once they see it soar.

My experience as the Head of Talent at Nutanix and Lightspeed Venture Partners has been instrumental in my understanding of effective leadership and its role in attracting top talent. During my tenure as the Talent Head at Lightspeed Venture Partners, I had the opportunity to collaborate with several CEOs who demonstrated a profound grasp of what it takes to assemble and lead high-performing teams.

The mistake many startups make is treating candidate closing as an afterthought. Closing should be an ongoing process that begins even before interviews and continues throughout the hiring journey, ensuring that when the interviews conclude, the hiring process is complete.

The final interview for the first 100 employees should include a brief meeting with the CEO, even if it lasts just 15 minutes. This meeting is reserved for potential candidates who are already being considered for an offer. Its purpose is to give the candidate the opportunity to ask questions and take on the role of the interviewer. It’s a chance for the CEO to personally connect with the candidate.

Before the meeting, take a look at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile. Identify mutual connections and discuss them during the conversation. This personalized approach demonstrates that the CEO has taken the time to learn more about the candidate. Engage in discussions about their educational background, previous work experiences, and offer sincere praise for their choices. Make the candidate feel valued and appreciated, fostering a sense of connection.

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