It's a Blast: Startups & Recruitment- When does a Recruitment Expert add value to your business?
We kicked off our next video podcast with Rita Scroggin, from Triad Group. A seasoned and experienced Executive Recruitment Specialist supporting recruitment searches for Executive, Technology, Telecommunications, and Beyond.
Key questions we ask and the critical answers from Rita.
Tell us a little about who you are and the role you fulfill and your business.
I’m Rita Scroggin and I lead the executive search practice for the trial group I'm also the founder of First Board IO. So, I work for Leadership teams for startups. A lot of my clients are in the cloud, DevOps, developer tools, and security sales ecosystem. More recently I've become interested in the intersection of health and health tech because there's a lot of opportunity there. And Of course, AI is a big topic in that. My search ranges from marketing to product to engineering leadership searches as well as the C. Suite, and then part of my first initiative is for board searches.
Tell us a little about First Board IO
First Board IO is s initiative to diversify company boards from the gender perspective. So why is this relevant because my network of female technology talent has grown exponentially, and it enables me to bring a much wider talent pool to every search and for a lot of my clients that have been, important and relevant in going forward and with the need of their business.
What’s the goal and the value you offer to Startup businesses?
I think oftentimes companies come to me because they might have been referred, and they know that I have a network in a specific ecosystem. And let’s touch on the point about what my ecosystem typically looks like because it takes many, many years to build that ecosystem, and I can bring that ecosystem immediately to every search. I mean it doesn't mean that everybody I know is exploring new opportunities. but it's a way to start.
The other thing is, I've been doing this for many years, so the value of my search expertise is what I bring to the table. over hundreds of searches, I've observed over the years, warnings, or they may be positive signals. So there's a lot of what you can learn from what's happening during the search, and in observing the behavior of the candidate, and the client and it's all about ultimately bringing two parties to the table and facilitating the match. But I also try to do this during every interview process through a debrief with both parties, because I want to uncover any kind of obstacles early on. Sometimes they can be resolved, and sometimes they cannot, and it's better for the company as well as for you to know the candidate to disengage earlier rather than later. You want to find this out at the beginning and not, at the end otherwise you’re starting all over. So I’m trying to manage the search as much as possible. There's always a surprise factor, we're dealing with people right, and you never know the situation may change for somebody. So with everything, we always have to manage the moving parts, and we're trying to control the cost as much as possible. I think that's also valuable to come to these particular early-stage companies who may have not done this before, and it might be a first-time Founder who has never hired a CMO or first head of product so this is somewhere companies can benefit. We'll talk about this data, I think, too, if it's a different story recruiting for a company with a lot of funding versus Google. Anybody can recruit for Google. That's easy. But for a company’s earlier stage, the candidate has never heard about this company before.
At what stage should you engage a recruiter?
I would say it should be, it could or can be, as early as in a seed round of funding or it's late as an A-round company. it’s just about to go public, or maybe even a public company. So for the early-stage company, as I mentioned before, it is definitely about the network, because typically the early-stage company will hire from his or her network. But then there's a limit to it. They know only so many people, and you reach that limit soon, and it's also even the people who found us, or the CEO may know may not be the best candidate for that particular role. So I think, working with an outside firm is first of all. So why that talent pool? But it's also it's a chance of finding a better fit, and I and I think there's a shift right now. A lot of companies used to think. Well, I have it from my network. and that's sort of, I know this person, so I feel comfortable. But I think right now with the shifting economy. It's about, getting off the ground early and in the best way possible. And I think with that it's really important to hire the right people early on in the seed, or the A round, and so on. So I think it's critical to try to get the best match for that, stage of the company and the people who, a candidate who's a good fit for a round of funding may not be the right one who is going to carry it through a D round. But if it if it's a hire, for the A round is wrong, the company may never get to the D round right, so it's critical. And then for a later-stage company, and even a public company that may have a large talent team, it still makes sense to use a recruiter. And it may be a confidential search. It may be that the company is looking into tapping a particular space. It may be the company is trying to diversify the Talent Pool. I see that particular relevance, for, engineer and product leadership searches because of the Times, the Canada Pool. There is oftentimes very me or Oriented, and a lot of companies saying right now that they, we want to bring in this. We are very interested in bringing the female data, so that might be a reason why they reach out to somebody like me who has built this network of, female technology data. So that's that might be a reason. Or there could be anything else. Maybe they have so many other open sources they work on, that they don't have the bandwidth to allocate, to another search. There could be different reasons why a later-stage company would want to engage with an outside firm as Well.
How have recruitment searches changed compared to a few years ago?
It knows it's all about operation expertise. In the last 5 to 10 years that didn't matter so much because money was just coming right. So whether or not, It was product or market fit, it didn't matter as the company was typically able to raise another round, and then maybe have more time to work out the fit. Well, I think right now it's all about operation expertise right to figure out what is the product and who needs it. How can we optimize it? And how can we, find you and everything we do on every level, whether it's the leadership level, whether it is, on the individual contributor level, I think it also makes a case for bringing on an independent board member area who can accelerate the journey of the company and, if it well-networked board member may help, open up doors which otherwise, nobody will have access to, and there's one aspect, or just bring, additional credibility to the table and experience. So I think the way companies are running right now is rapidly changing at this moment.
Why can’t I just post the job listing myself?
Well, I mean you could right, but here's the problem. The people, the good people, are probably not looking at your postings. I mean, right now, we have several people who have been laid off. This might be an unusual environment. It might be a few months right now when there is a chance that a job posting might result in finding somebody great. I'm not saying it's not possible but it is probably not too likely, and it creates a lot of work. So who will have the time to look through all these people who apply and it doesn't stop there? So typically especially on the leadership level, if somebody applies, they probably would also try to reach out to the decision maker in some form or another right or to multiply in a decision, make us in the company, and it's not good to just ignore that right. So you kind of have to respond. If somebody reaches out directly to the CEO, then maybe it says, hey, we have these 2 10 common connections, we should talk. It's hot. It's not.: It's a very good fit, so I think it's high up the leadership team more than it leads to. That's problem number one, and it's also very, very time-consuming. So, for example, I mean, we used to also post a link as a firm. And I typically don't do this anymore, because especially if I post a V or VP level search, I get hundreds and hundreds, of people who apply, and that was before the layoffs and it can take so many hours to go through it. So I don't find that a very good use of my time, so I can't imagine why it would be a good use for, the CEO or founder, and even for the talent team. So I do think I mean job posters have their space, and if it wouldn't work, nobody would use them. So, it's a market for it. But I think. Yeah, I think it might be more beneficial or more efficient to work with somebody who can help, filter this through. And so most of my searches are either maybe know whom I’m representing, or I’d be finding. the candidate based on very well-defined search criteria.
If you're looking for someone or an agency to support this type of search. What skills do you look for in hiring the right type of agency? Why would they not hire that person full-time?
Yes, it's a good question. So again it's about the network, right? So I think that's the number one reason to work on it. Maybe not the number, but one of the reasons why to work with an outside firm and in the search for expertise. Now, if you I mean you can. Of course, you can hire this person, but typically at the outset, we could. It like me will be in a certain ecosystem, and we'll continue building that out. We'll continue developing clients in that space. Now an internal recruiter may go from one company to another, and then they may be related, but they may be unrelated. So I think chances are that they might have to start from scratch building that out. And meanwhile you, that person gets paid. That person also needs to have, a LinkedIn subscription. That person will also need, to pay for an applicant tracking system. All kinds of things. So, this is the which oftentimes companies don't think about, if that makes sense, if you only hire 5 roles, in one year. Yes. So, it all depends. It's not wide or long. It depends on the kind of. What is the volume of the high? How important is it that somebody understands the ecosystem? It isn't. It’s just software engineers. They can come from anywhere that might, So then it might make sense to bring somebody on internally. It just really depends. I mean, our firm. I also have Ps. In the folks on individual contributors, primarily engineering individual contributors and they've built. that Talent Pool again for 10-15 years now, and they know who's looking because they know somebody will ping them. Say, hey, I’m open now I’m looking for something new. And Here’s Why so? All these benefits are kind of hard to replicate for somebody who is inside. Of course, in the last few years, many firms in the early stage companies have built these internal talent teams because it seems like it would. It would provide cost savings, and if it's a lot of volumes, you can make an argument. But right now I think it's more subject to hire which makes more sense to think about who is the best resource for what we want to accomplish here.
Do you think ChatGPT will replace recruitment anytime soon?
We don't know right now but it might be something we might be using in our searches. I can see that because it's very time-consuming to do the searches and so maybe using AI in some form, would help us on that side. ChatGpt or any AI Tool is still not going to tell you the personality of an individual, and whether they are fit for the business. Yeah, I see why it's a tool right? I mean we're putting existed before LinkedIn. Now, LinkedIn is probably the most important tool we're all using right I can see in the future we might all be using AI, but it is still a tool and of course, the key will be to figure out how to use it most efficiently. And when and how so it is to it. I mean interesting technology, No question, right? And it will change several industries in all kinds of ways. Absolutely. Yes. And I think, and I don't think it's a tool to be scared of right now, either. I think it's a tool, I say, to work out how it works in your ecosystem. So, I think it's super interesting that it does almost table up everything.
What are your predictions for recruitment in the current market?
Well, right now we see a lot of companies reducing their internal teams. So I think there is a shift there and probably a shift more towards using as-needed outside firms. And I think in general we're going to see probably more money venture capital going into earlier-stage companies rather than late-stage companies that will need to raise another big round of 100 million or more because of diversifying the capital. Also, we do service with responses smaller right and so they can invest more companies. And therefore I have a higher chance that maybe one of those, but for the companies will be a big winner. and I think a lot of people thinking about starting companies. They have ideas. And now is the time because they might have been laid off, or the company they're working for it's not doing well, and they always wanted to do it in. And now it's an exciting time. So I’m telling the number of people who worked at well-known technology companies who are now contemplating the idea of starting their own firm and talking to Venture Capital. So I think it's a reality in a way, the exciting time, but the shift. And I’m hoping that we're going to see more companies started by women by other underrepresented groups this is hopefully a soft problem we need to solve. I want to say climate tech. It's an interesting space, and it's going to grow there. The good news is that right now Venture. Capital firms are sitting on a lot of money, yeah billions of dollars, and that money has not been deployed yet. But we'll have to get deployed. They must sit on it. So I do think, there is a lot of opportunity right now for early-stage companies to come up with a great idea and a lot of room for innovation. So and so I’m excited about what we're going to see forward. I think, right now what it's been a holding pattern becomes a laying off. So, everybody is phrasing. So, what if they're laying off? What should we do? So I think we're kind of all holding our breath at this moment, but I think by the summer things will open more in soon this again, and maybe even as early as Q. 2 in the desk probably will settle sometime during this year. But, Of course, I can't see the future, so we can talk about it again. At the end of this, we can come back and have another. We don't know, right? But yes.
What is the future of a Tech startup?
Yeah, I think the future is bright. Number one, and I think, getting the first 2 highest in consecutive highest is more important than ever. Because it is all about operation expertise, and I think we'll continue, for several years to come. I don't think we're going to go back to how it was. This last year’s money this kind of kept falling from the sky pretty much so I don't think we're going to see that, anytime soon again. So I think it is really important to get the higher right into the look at it by the pool and hire the best person, but also be decisive. it. It doesn't help too. Kind of looking for one here for the right person by that time, so nobody in it might be too late. So be decisive. But, look at what's the best way to go about recruiting.