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How Employee Feedback Can Improve Startup Recruitment Results

Adi Assaf

Employee feedback plays a crucial role in a small company in the growth stage. The fact that a young startup encourages two-way feedback and open communication channels attests to openness and transparency, and goes a long way to inspire a community spirit and employee wellbeing.

In small startups, where surveys are unsuitable, I recommend holding designated one-on-one feedback talks with employees on a regular basis, thus enabling them to share honest comments regarding the work atmosphere, team colleagues, superiors, work procedures and many other crucial topics. Previously unknown factors impacting on job performance and employee behavior come to light. With this regular input, the company can take steps to improve whatever needs fixing. 


Aside from serving as a wakeup call for management and leadership, this kind of feedback also gives employees the opportunity to think about their own strengths, personal growth and commitment to the company. If the employer is wise enough to  implement the necessary changes, these efforts will generate strong trust and loyalty, resulting in increased productivity. This win-win situation provides management with better understanding of employees’ needs, while staff is instilled with a feeling of better appreciation at the workplace.


Connecting the dots - how employee feedback can facilitate startup recruitment


Based on years of experience, I believe that employee feedback can also serve as a solid basis for startup recruitments. Startup recruitment requires finesse and a deep understanding of your company’s needs. While it may look like you have some perfect applicants in the stack of resumes on your desk, you may not completely understand your company’s true needs. Some candidates may have excellent technological skills but still won’t fit in with the company culture. Others may be super talented but unable to function as part of a team. You need to drill down in order to find the right matches.


What should your feedback meeting include?


Here’s where employee feedback can be helpful. During one-on-one meetings, make sure to ask questions about the individual’s job satisfaction, the company culture, team function, management, performance and future expectations. Come to the discussion with an open mind. Don’t be tempted to respond to criticism or offer on-the-spot solutions. Gather as much information as possible and ask follow-up questions. Gather all of the responses, and then analyze how you can resolve problems and change the situation.. 


Use the collective comments to improve the workplace, procedures and leadership. But also apply lessons learned to your ongoing recruitment processes.


Your employees know who and what they need


Existing employees’ responses can provide you with focused insights into your company’s actual manpower needs. If staff members are complaining about a team’s performance, my advice would be to look for a candidate who can motivate and blend into the team without dominating it. If they note that there are inclusivity issues, I recommend to seek out applicants who are open, accepting and inspiring. In the event of increasing crises related to Covid-19 or other personal problems, hire a professional who has the skills to warmly assist and support employees in times of difficulty. Obviously, these are only examples of ways that employee input can help you cherry pick precisely the right candidates at any given crossroads in your company’s development. 


Needless to say, all of these applicants should have the basic qualifications required for the stated position, but from my experience, personality plays a no less crucial role. How can you reveal the candidate’s true temperament?  Résumés can only tell part of the story, so you need to discover more about your candidates’ interpersonal capabilities before proceeding. In a skillful interview and open conversation, you can discover a good deal about your candidate’s personality. Talking to managers and co-workers at previous workplaces can also afford you with crucial insights. Only make your decision after acquiring as full a profile as you can of the applicant.    


Match new staff members with your current employees     


Your hiring needs may well be dynamic and change with each recruitment round. But as CEO, it is your job to keep your finger on the pulse and stay attuned to the type of new hires that are needed. In order to ensure feelings of wellbeing and continuity, I recommend adopting a basic rule of thumb - make sure your new recruitments are a good match for your existing ones.