Who to hire?

Hiring for uncertainty

Often initial recruitment must preceed clarity on what exactly the team will be doing and indeed the first hires will often spend considerable time figuring out what ideas to pursue and how to go about it.

Cluelessness and challenging the status quo

Corporates often want to disrupt or radically reinvent approaches and models in these setups, so moving existing staff across is generally not the best way forward. On the flip side, bringing in external and more entrepreneurial profiles will challenge the status quo, but will often lack the deeper understanding of the space. Disrupting a sector is hard from the inside, but equally hard from the outside.

Finding and attracting talent

Even with the question “who do we need” firmly answered, finding them can often be very difficult. Any recruitment hinges on being able to articulate what you are looking for, find them and bring them onboard. Corporates moving into unchartered territory will often struggle with all three.

A short recipe for initial staffing

Overall, corporates should consider the following when hiring for their venture, innovation team or hub:

  • You are hiring for uncertainty, so hire for a wide skillset and managerial experience initially to ensure flexibility and a gradual build up of hiring competences.
  • You need to carefully mix outsiders and insiders, picking off talent from the mothership and giving them well defined roles of subject matter expertise and liason.
  • You need to actively target other channels and communities than your regular recrutment and scrap the regular corporate recruitment proces. It is designed to pull in people with certain profiles and will turn off the corporate-nevers you are looking to attract.

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