Building a Recruiting Function from Scratch: An Interactive Exercise

This week I am going to try to get YOU involved in writing and contributing to this column. I am going to outline a scenario that I see frequently. What I would like from all of you is how you would deal with this situation. What would you do if you were this person? What would you recommend if you were a consultant? I will collect your responses and add my own thoughts. Next week we’ll see how WE did in solving (or at least helping solve) this situation. You’ve been hired to build a recruiting function for a small start-up software company. The company is high tech, but as is usual, the top level executives are the typical “low tech” types who don’t really use or understand the Internet. They think recruiting is a snap — find some people, offer some money and the rest is just details. You are a one-person HR function with recruiting just one of your many duties. You need to hire more than fifty IT professionals ranging from HTML programmers to C++ coders and project managers. On top of that, there are open positions for sales professionals, technical writers, QC staff and some clerical positions. You can also hire a recruiter or two, on a contract basis, if needed. You could subcontract a lot of this to an agency, but your Management doesn’t really want to pay the fees involved. The pressure is on and you have only a few weeks to fill most of these jobs if the product is to be finished on schedule. Fortunately, salary levels are reasonable and flexible and there are great stock option packages. Your real problem is in how to organize this and source, close, and get these people on board. Where to begin? What systems to use? What processes to put into place? Send your thoughts to Please put “Recruiting from Scratch” in the subject area.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


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