Sourcing and recruiting

How to hire for ‘entrepreneurial spirit’

Many companies actively seek people with entrepreneurial spirit to join their teams. These are people who are willing to challenge the status quo, explore innovative thinking, and act with the grit and determination needed to move projects forward.

A large proportion of companies that have been through successful IPOs hired for candidates with entrepreneurial spirit in their formative stages of growth. For example, 21% of AirBnB employees had this attribute at the time of raising their Series A, 16% at Series B, and 22% at Series C.  At more established companies too, like Google and Facebook, 7% of employees have this attribute, which supports their ability to evolve, develop new ideas, and adapt to current market trends.

Entrepreneurial spirit clearly has value in the workplace, but it isn’t something people would usually write on their resumes. So, how can companies hire for it?

The short answer; you need the right search technology. But first, let’s take a look at what ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ even means…

Characteristics of ‘entrepreneurial spirit’

The meaning of entrepreneurial spirit can change depending on the company defining it and the area of the world in which they are located.  It’s not a fixed trait, but rather a mindset that leads to particular outcomes.  Here are some key markers that point to an entrepreneurial spirit – someone who has:

  • Been a founder or co-founder at some point in their career
  • Transitioned across functions during their tenure at a previous company
  • Founded societies or groups at college
  • Specialized in strategy, marketing, or entrepreneurship as part of their MBA program
  • Taken career risks by joining a company at a very early stage, such as pre-seed, seed or Series A

The challenge of sourcing for this manually

The thought of trying to build a pipeline of candidates that meet all these criteria is a daunting task. You’d have to start with a title or set of keywords that could provide you with a broad list of potential candidates using an online database like LinkedIn. It’d then involve reviewing every profile to see their employment history, research each of the companies they worked at, review each company’s financial data to see which stage of funding the candidate worked for them and so on – and that’s just for one key marker.

If you want to layer others into your search, such as people who’ve transitioned across functions, you’d have to go through each profile again and track their moves manually. It’s the same process for degree specializations, positions held in college etc.

This process of reviewing every profile would take dozens of hours for even just a short list of candidates. You also have to factor in human error and bias because of the lack of process, automation, and centralization.

In short, it’s a waste of resources to chase a specific attribute without the right technology to help – even the largest recruiting teams don’t put their energy into sourcing candidates this way.

How you can source using attribute-based search

The majority of recruiting problems are ultimately data problems. The struggle to find the right people is often down to a lack of specificity in the talent search and the fact that keywords and boolean strings aren’t a reliable or comprehensive way of building a pipeline of highly targeted candidates.

Attribute-based search solves this by harnessing all publicly available people data to zero-in on candidates based on millions of ‘attributes’ for every person. Attributes can be tangible, such as verifying if someone has ‘B2B SaaS experience’ or ‘worked at a top 10 VC funded startup’, as well as intangible, like ‘entrepreneurial spirit’.

Using attribute-based search, to find candidates with entrepreneurial spirit is easy. This attribute, likely in combination with many others, simply needs to be selected as part of the talent search. From there, all data sources about companies and profiles are mapped automatically to each other and a list of candidates who possess the traits of entrepreneurial spirit is generated in seconds. The results are triangulated and verified across multiple data sources, eliminating the possibility of human error and bias and leading to highly precise matches. The markers for each attribute are not fixed and can easily be tweaked at any time.

Any number of attributes can go into the start of each talent search, helping companies to find their ideal candidates faster than ever before.

Revelations in attribute-based analytics

In addition to being able to start your talent search using attributes, it is highly valuable to be able to analyze the attributes across your talent pool.

Being able to see the location of all candidates who possess the attribute you’re looking for at a glance, for example, informs strategic decisions like where to plan new offices or focus recruiting efforts to ensure a steady stream of well-matched candidates. Benchmarking your employees’ attributes against competitors and peers – and seeing what attributes other companies hired for at different points in time – can help you stay ahead of talent gaps and give your organization a competitive edge.

With real-time access to deep insights about the attributes of every person at their fingertips, companies can build more engaged, diverse teams with the exact skills, experience and qualities needed to drive their business forward.

A paradigm shift in people search…

Too much recruiting time is spent today on manual, tedious sourcing efforts that under-deliver on high-quality pipeline. Using traditional searching methods, it’s simply not possible to guarantee that candidates will possess the attributes needed for success in the role. Precise candidate searching based on real-world attributes removes the guesswork and increases the efficiency of the recruiting process by giving you a pipeline of high-quality matches at your fingertips.

Sourcing this way frees up your recruiting team to spend all their time on the phone, closing candidates. Added benefits are the reduction of bias that unavoidably comes into more manual sourcing methods and avoiding wasted phone screens and interviews to rule out the wrong candidates.

The hunting and pecking methods tied to traditional search are a thing of the past. Ultimately, attribute-based people search gives any talent team a competitive advantage.

Want to learn more about how to hire for entrepreneurial spirit and other attributes using Findem? Request a demo today.

Take control of your recruiting
Request a demo