My secrets for recruiting a great team

At Fractyl we’re building an amazing team – the best I’ve ever worked with. Our team is super smart, highly productive, and absolutely dedicated to our mission. We see the big picture but we aren’t afraid to sweat the details.  We also know how to have fun.

Great teams start with great recruiting. Recruiting best practices are important, but not enough. Read on to learn how we’ve built best team in medical devices.

Every manager wants to recruit a great team, and best practices are no secret: read this and this and this and this.

At Fractyl, we’re pretty diligent in our best practices. We spend a ton of time crafting job descriptions, so we’re really sure what skills and traits we want in a hire. We work our networks relentlessly – the vast majority of our team came to us via trusted people in our networks. We interview rigorously – multiple rounds and as many as 10 interviewers. We plan interview topics to get a full picture of candidates, and when appropriate we test candidates. We debrief as a team to identify areas of concern, and go back for another round. We ask pointed questions in our reference checks. We assess cultural fit explicitly in the interview process.

Most companies follow similar practices, though perhaps they aren’t as diligent as we are (and we are!). But there are two things that set Fractyl apart from every other company I know.

First, we have higher bar for hiring than any other company I know. Not only must a candidate be an A-player, we insist that a candidate be a nearly perfect fit for the role we’re hiring. When we evaluate candidates, we ask if s/he is going to really drive the company forward. We would rather hold a position open than hire anyone less than the best person for the role. I’ve met many fantastic people in our hiring process, who just aren’t the right fit for the role we need. While it pains me to turn away great people, we simply can’t hire every great person in the world. The right fit is a must.

Second, we get way out in front of the hiring timeline. I’m not only the company President, I’m also our chief recruiter. About a third of Fractyl employees had initial conversations with me (or someone else on our team) six months or more before we created a position. My motto: always be recruiting. Starting early enables us to spend a lot more time finding the right person for each role. Most companies have compressed hiring timelines, which generates a lot of pressure to fill positions rapidly and settle for “good enough.” “Good enough is the enemy of the great.”  Getting out in front of the timeline is the only solution. I’m constantly meeting people who could be candidates for roles that I think we may need a year from now. I ask colleagues for the names of the best people they’ve ever worked with and I set up introductory conversations. I never know how these conversations will go, but I get to meet a lot of great people, and I’m building the pipeline of future Fractyl all-stars.

Building that pipeline well in advance of our needs sets Fractyl apart from other companies. It takes a lot of time to recruit a great team, but as Steve Jobs said, recruiting is “the most important job.”  Totally.

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