Claire Angelle, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Accelerator participant in Atlanta, founded Angelle Consulting–a mission-driven PR and consulting company–in 2018. Claire fuels positive change by elevating the voices of business leaders committed to do well by doing good. We are following Claire, who recently joined EO’s business accelerator program, as she grows and scales her business. Here’s what she shared with us about her talent attraction strategy:
Today, Angelle Consulting is shy of its 4th anniversary. While I’m proud to have made it past the dreaded three-year mark, in the midst of Covid-19 no less, I’m just now building my team. And, it seems like I couldn’t have chosen a worse time to do so with the talent shortage at an all-time high. Not a single day passes without news of the Great Resignation’s impact on companies big and small. As a result, businesses are competing for workers more than ever before, and they’re not afraid to leverage higher wages, better benefits, and all kinds of perks to their advantage. But, as a budding enterprise, my company is simply not in a position to compete.
I thought I was doomed from the start. Who would join a new organization instead of a well-established company, offering an entry-level salary with no benefits? I didn’t think I had a lot going for me. But, to my biggest surprise, less than a week after posting my first job announcement, I received dozens upon dozens of qualified applications. Two weeks later, I made an offer to a fantastic candidate, who is as excited as I am about our future collaboration.
Here’s what I learned along the way:
Give people meaningful work.
Yes, most people need to work for a paycheck. But, more than ever, they want to make a meaningful contribution not only to your organization, but to the world and society at large. While my company couldn’t offer the market’s most competitive financial incentives, our higher purpose was compelling. We’re in the business of elevating the voices of companies that do well by doing good. We promote companies that leverage the laws of capitalism to right the system instead of being part of the problem. That message resonated deeply with all the candidates I had the pleasure of interviewing, regardless of their demographics.
Bring transparency to the hiring process.
Years ago, I applied for a job only to learn, after the third interview, that the pay offered was way below my current salary. It was frustrating then and remains a waste of time today for both candidates and recruiters. That experience shaped me, so I decided to state clearly in the job announcement the position’s salary range, together with the list of limited benefits. By being transparent, I attracted candidates who were fully aware of the compensation package offered and still remained interested in pursuing the recruitment process.
Don’t ask people to work for free.
The number one criterion for the position on my team was impeccable writing skills. While most candidates provided writing samples, I asked a select few to write a custom article to further gauge their style. However, I’m a strong believer that nobody should work for free. We have a saying in French, my native language, which translates as “all work deserves pay.” So, I offered an hourly fee for completion of the work to all participants. The feedback I received from the candidates, who felt valued, was outstanding. In addition, it allowed me to assess their work speed and sense of ethics: a true win-win.
Think outside the box to compensate for any shortcomings.
I knew I couldn’t compete on salary and benefits such as health insurance, 401k and swanky office space. However, I boosted my offering by providing a flexible work environment, generous time off, and a clear path for upward mobility. A word of caution about unlimited PTO: research shows that employees with unlimited vacation take an average of 13 days off per year–less than the national average–for lack of clear boundaries. Instead, I provided four weeks of vacation time to set clear expectations.
Don’t drag the process out unnecessarily.
We all know the saying, “hire slow and fire fast.” While true, nobody should be subjected to a recruitment process that goes beyond three interviews. If you need buy-in from multiple stakeholders, make the most of everyone’s time by scheduling group interviews.
For too long, the power structure in recruitment has favored the recruiter. As a result, many struggle to adapt to the new trends we’re witnessing in the labor market. Instead, I like to think of recruiting as dating: an opportunity for two people to find a mutually beneficial relationship based on reciprocity, care, and trust.
You may think I’m naïve. After all, I’m just starting on my entrepreneurial journey. But, Andie starts in two weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited for the future.