The B2B SaaS space is a competitive one with a relatively limited pool of highly valuable engineers and other talent to attract. If one business is unable to do so, then a competitor will definitely hire them. Nathan Latka spoke at length with Crew Talent Advisory on the challenges of hiring in B2B SaaS and how to overcome them from a founder’s perspective.
The Challenges of Hiring in B2B SaaS
Hiring in the B2B SaaS world can be difficult, especially for founders & leaders who want to build teams of highly passionate and creative engineers.
Namely, there are two major issues:
- Many founders and leaders are bringing candidates in based entirely on a resume or recommendation, rather than the actual work they’ve produced.
- Founders are not properly appealing to the needs and wants of the small pool of highly valuable, creative, innovative, and passionate prospects.
Focus on Engaging with Passionate People
According to Latka, one of the best ways to find the right employees is to forgo traditional hiring processes. Specifically, he notes that the age of the traditional resume is over for this industry– what really matters is what they can build with a little bit of incentive.
“Hiring is always tricky, right?” Nathan Latka went on to say, “I have hired fifty people in my life and I’ve never once looked at a college resume. Today, I get people who read the book or the magazine. They reach out and say, ‘I want to join.’ My reply is always very simple. I’ll say, ‘Listen. You know what I’m building. Do something that makes me stop in my tracks and send me an MVP. Then I’m getting some people to reply back. They’ll do amazing work. They’ll build little widgets relative to SaaS data and I’ll see it and I’ll bring them on full time. So hiring today, I think, is very project-based. I think the smart hiring engineer and HR teams are the ones that ignore the traditional resume.”
Attracting Prospects with a Mission
The most talented prospects don’t care about just equity or cash. Realistically, they are looking for a founder that can project a massive vision with calculated plans to succeed.
“I think being able to tell compelling stories to potentially game-changing hires around your business’s focus [is the key to hiring],” says Latka, “Having this very clear plan of what you want to dominate attracts the right like-minded people. I think being very clear about who you are as a business, where you’re going, what you’re doing, is better than saying ‘We’re trying to do all these things and hopefully one day one of them will be successful.”
So how can Founders and Leaders really appeal to high-quality talent? This mostly comes down to three very important concepts:
- Give your prospects and new recruits your undivided attention. In interviews and when they’re onboarding.
- Be transparent from the get-go.
- Define how your product is industry-changing or has a powerful mission, and use excellent storytelling to get valuable prospects interested.
Clarity is key here, and with clarity comes honesty and integrity. No one responds well to confusing or obscure messages, and most people can instantly spot dishonesty. On top of this, good quality communication is also very important. Latka noted in the interview that the battle between synchronous and asynchronous communication can present a problem, especially in an age where COVID has left many companies to take on their hiring processes remotely. He recommends using a variety of tools to improve communication between prospective hires and company leaders, such as YAC.
“Purpose” is the key takeaways
When it comes down to it, attracting the right talent comes down to appealing to their sense of purpose. Game-changing talent isn’t attracted to a business that is doing nothing new or meaningful. Those kinds of businesses attract people that are just looking for a paycheck. There’s nothing wrong with just wanting a paycheck, but these are not the kind of people who will help you achieve something extraordinary.
Valuable employees will flock to your company if you’re able to present your vision and mission in a way that they can align with.
“I don’t like using the phrase ‘higher purpose’, but try to sell something that has a higher purpose,” Nathan Latka concluded, “If you’re very clear about that, then attracting the right quality people who can help you get to where you need to go obviously makes sense.”
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