The 2016 Cleantech Hiring Endgame Starts Now

At the start of the new year, many cleantech companies are setting goals regarding product rollout and sales metrics that they want to accomplish by the end of 2016. Inevitably, achieving those goals requires topnotch energy and technology professionals to execute on those plans. It’s natural to start thinking about who you might need to hire in February, but what about December?

In today’s tight hiring market, candidates are only available for a few weeks and negotiating impressive compensation packages. This is especially true when procuring top sales and product marketing professionals. Companies that take the time to develop a comprehensive hiring plan and (more importantly) share it with their executives, stand a better chance of securing the top talent they are looking for. You may still execute your hiring quarter by quarter, but by communicating your hiring vision for the year, your internal and external recruiting teams can assist these efforts by being more opportunist throughout the year. By opening more opportunities for being at the right place, at the right time, with the right type of offer, can ultimately secure you the top talent you need to reach your endgame.

Failing to look beyond the next quarter, or being reactive at filling positions once there is a void, often leaves a company scrambling to hire candidates who don’t fully match all of the desired qualifications. Another pitfall, is waiting until the next series of funding is in the bank to start searches for new team members. By building an annual plan, you can create multiple levels within your hiring process in the search for the perfect candidates, while maximizing your efforts, and minimizing your losses.

However, a plan is only as good as the people you share it with. Sometimes it can take as long as six months to court a top candidate, especially if they have competing offers. The sooner your staff can identify potential A Players before they are ready for a move, the longer they will have to build rapport with them, and learn their timing and preferences in terms of finding a new company. The stronger your relationships are with potential candidates, the higher your chances are of securing them over time.

Recruiting professionals (whether internal or external) can be particularly helpful in this regard, as they are often the first point of contact when high-quality candidates are in the early stages of making a transition. Recruiters can protect you from tipping your hand to competitors on your expansion plans, while gaining you access to the right pick when key candidates emerge. As an added bonus, your recruiter is a resource of knowledge providing insights into seasonal hiring trends, as well as hard to place positions such as product marketing, and C-Suite executives, which can help you maximize your efforts.

By developing and communicating your plan to your teams, you can arm everyone with the context they need to provide you with a well vetted pipeline to review, as if it was plucked right out of your wish list. Through this process, you’ll filter out the under-qualified to yield a wealth of qualified professionals to choose from and be prepared to make a deal quickly when the time is right.

Steps to Building an Annual Plan

Step 1: Outline your vision for hiring over the next year or two.

  • What are the key business goals and objectives for the next year?
  • What skills are already present within your organization to help you reach those goals?
  • What skills or experience is lacking? Where are the gaps?
  • What qualities are you looking for in people to ensure they would be a good fit culturally in your organization?

Step 2: Build a wish list of positions you would like to fill in the next two years.

  • What are the qualities you are looking for?
  • What specific people or types of people you would like to find?

Step 3: Break the wish list down into quarters.

  • What is the ideal timing for certain positions?
  • How long will it take people to ramp up, given your typical sales cycle?
  • What seasonal contingencies might arise that could accelerate or slow down your search process?

Step 4: Determine where you might hire internally or externally.

Step 5: For external hiring, how can the current talent market impact your hiring plans?

  • Is the talent you are looking for in high demand?
  • How long is a typical candidate on the market?
  • What is considered a competitive hiring package in the current market?

Step 6: Communicate your plan.

Share the plan with your staff and recruiting teams so they can start confidentially looking for people who could be a good fit, even if neither of you are currently ready to make a move.