5 recruitment mistakes Parisian startups are still making in 2019

So you’ve raised funds, produced an awesome product and have some traction on the French tech scene, bravo!! But let’s face it, the most painful part of scaling your startup is most likely your recruitment process.


This is normal! How to hire A-players is certainly not taught in even the best business schools (As an alumni, I’m talking to you HEC 😉) even though this is one of the number one most time-consuming concerns for top-level management, so even the most buzz-worthy French startups miss the hiring mark sometimes. Despite plenty of information online, there are still quite a few hiring don’ts that we see even with our brightest and most promising startup clients.


Hiring Mistake 1: Treating candidates like numbers instead of like humans

    • It’s a small world in the French Tech scene. Every candidate interaction can make or break your employer brand (and come back to haunt you). No matter how nice your Welcome to the Jungle video turned out or how efficient your new Lever subscription has made you feel, it’s the personal interactions that truly count. This is why candidates should be treated just like your most valued customers. You put effort into your client pitch, empathetically listen to their value propositions and needs. Hopefully, you validate your customers as human beings. It’s time to do this for each and every candidate as well. So how can we do this? Check out our article here.


Hiring Mistake 2: Ridiculously long cycles that lack transparency

    • Hiring decisions can be scary.  The wrong hire can come at a huge cost. However, adding steps and extra people to validate the decision is often a waste of time for all parties involved. Even when you’ve rolled out the red carpet for every in-office visit, we can’t stop there! Part of creating a wow experience comes in the respecting the candidate’s time. The hiring process should be fluid and painless. Ideally, from start to finish, less than 6 weeks. Here are a few pointers for reducing your time to hire.


Hiring Mistake 3: Processes that provide a false sense of structure

    • You’ve properly communicated your recruitment structure to your candidates and employees, but the work isn’t done there! One of the biggest mistakes we see is improvising interview questions and topic structure. There is no time or room to improvise in recruitment. Ready to structure your startup recruitment like a pro? Click here for our tips.


Hiring Mistake 4: Thinking too long term

    • So you have big dreams to IPO in five years and maybe that will become a reality.  However, the top gun that will take you there may not actually be what you need today. This may even be true for the next year or two.
Hire the person you need for the next 1 to 2 years ONLY.

What are your challenges now and who can solve them today? Thinking too big and long term often costs the most in time. The C-level exec from the US may seem like the only answer.  However, a solid, operational lead may cover your needs and structure the team enough for now. No one needs a VP from Silicon Valley pulling out their hair on the first few months on the job. In all cases, very few hires stay beyond two years in a startup since the skills needed and the profiles adapted to your current stage change so quickly. Keeping your ambitions grounded in the present will allow you to scale much faster without putting too much pressure on a future need that may never materialize. Need to be challenged on your hiring roadmap? Click here.


Hiring Mistake 5: Overemphasis on culture fit and lack of diversity

  • Culture fit is one of the most dangerous buzz words on the French tech scene. Why? It’s often used as an excuse to ignore the importance of diversity and to put in testing processes that emphasize skills (since these take time and energy to develop). We see our clients using culture fit as a reason to hire people with their exact same profile, dismissing candidates who don’t have their same experience or start-upper background. This is dangerous because people who think and behave exactly like us won’t see our blind spots or contribute to expanding our vision. What to look for instead? Check out our article here.


So there you have it. These five mistakes seem easy and obvious, but subtle changes in mindset, structure, and alignment can dramatically impact your recruitment success to enable lightning speed scaling!

What did we miss? We’d love to hear from you!

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