Decision time: are you really ready to hire?


Every fintech company should have a robust talent acquisition and management plan, something that’s established as the business moves through the five stages of growth.

5 stages of small fintech company growth.PNG

As a company advances through these stages different hiring requirements will naturally arise, defined not just by role type but also by the individual skill-sets required in each role. Hiring the right person at the right time can lead to great success – and conversely the opposite is true, particularly during the early stages of company growth, when every individual has a dramatic impact on a company’s bottom line. In addition, each stage of growth has its own business challenges, so you may find that different skills and experience are required in the same role as time progresses.

So, for each new hire being considered, ask yourself these questions:

• Is the role really needed?

• What would be the deliverables and performance measures for the role? Visualise what you would see as success in this particular role.

• What positive impact on the business will the role bring, and what value will it add? If possible, aim to quantify this.

• What would be the consequences of not hiring for the role, or the pain the business would experience by not filling the role? Again, aim to quantify this if you can.

• Where does this role fit in terms of business priorities for all anticipated hires over the next year, taking into account the company a whole?

• What are the timing considerations for getting someone started in the role?

• Is there consensus across the board and/or senior management team for the hire?

These questions might seem elementary, but they help to develop an objective assessment of your needs – this can then form the foundation for the hiring process. On the other hand, it might bring about the realisation that the hire isn’t needed after all, or it’s a lower priority than other roles. Many companies either enter a hiring process before they’re fully committed, or change their mind about hiring once processes have started. This just wastes value management time and resources, and can send a negative message to the market.

If not filling a role has no consequence for a business – either by way of adding value or taking away pain – then why even bother to hire at all? You may well be better off saving the capital to invest elsewhere in your business, or keeping it in reserve to meet new business priorities and requirements as they arise.

Having gone through this thought process, a company that decides to go ahead and hire will have:

• Consensus and commitment to a hire from all role stakeholders in the business, laying the foundation for a coherent selection process.

• A clear idea of the core value (deliverables) of a role, which is an essential component of defining the role and the person required to fill it.

• An appreciation for the importance and urgency (timing) of the hire, which may have an impact on candidate sourcing methods.

Another idea to consider involves shaping your hiring plans to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. To approach this, share your plans with your fintech recruiter, discuss how you anticipate your organisation developing over the next 12+ months, talk through the nature of the roles you anticipate hiring, and ask your recruiter for their input. Experienced fintech recruiters will have seen all manner of organisation charts, how they’re structured with roles as they grow, the nature of the skill-sets required, the talent available to you in the market, and nitty-gritty details such as salaries. All this is extremely valuable intelligence that can help you develop your business plan to ensure that you’re well positioned to get the right talent, in the right place, at the right time.

If you’re at a financial technology, data or research provider that that’s reviewing its hiring plans, you’re welcome to book a free 30-minute talent strategy phone consultation with me. There’s no sales pitch to use our services, just an industry networking opportunity and some free input from an expert recruiter with 20 years’ experience helping firms like yours grow. We’ll explore your talent acquisition and management plans, and I can share ideas and market feedback with you based on my hiring expertise in your niche market.

About the author: Shawn Rutter is the founder of Excelsior Search, a market-leading, niche search company specialising in international executive search and recruitment solutions for financial technology (fintech), data and research providers to the global capital markets and investment industry.  With experience delivering search assignments across the Americas, EMEA and APAC, he founded Excelsior Search in 1999, having previously worked as an Army Officer and for the international search firm MRI. Shawn invites you to connect on LinkedIn.