Season 1: Finding and keeping great people

Khalilah Olokunola Chief People Officer at TRU Colors

Get recruitment right and never look back

Business growth is great. It’s an exciting time. But with growth comes challenges. Often, time and resources become a point of tension. How do you continue to do the things you’re doing well, and take more on? Usually, it means you need to bring new people in—and getting that right is crucial.

It pays to plan ahead

The simple approach to hiring is to fire out a hastily-worded job description and hope for the best. You may find decent people. But what if you don’t find the right people? And how will you be able to tell? 

Taking the time to recruit properly is the best thing you can do for a growing business. Quick fixes might fill gaps, but they won’t help you in the long term.

Experience leads to insight

I’m chief people officer at TRU Colors, a people-focused, for-profit start-up based in Wilmington, North Carolina. I’m also the founder of Re-engineering HR, a round-table of Human Resource pros who come up with innovative and strategic ways of addressing traditional HR practices.

Growing up in Brooklyn schooled me in understanding what really makes people tick. Today, I bring those qualities to the boardroom. I design and build systems that instil humility, unity, and teamwork in businesses across the globe.

So often I’ve seen businesses grow fast with many getting their approach to recruitment wrong. They believed things would simply work out for the best. Occasionally they do. More often than not they backfire.

Slow down to get ahead

When recruitment doesn’t go according to plan, there’s always a price to pay. Financially, and then some. For one, you’ll have to start all over again. This wastes time and energy; those precious resources you didn’t have in the first place. One step forward, two steps back. Suddenly your growth has hit a bump in the road.

So, understand this: your approach to recruiting new people is every bit as important as the work your business does each day. Without a sound strategy, it’s going to be hard for you to find the best people and, just as importantly, for them to find you. Remember too that recruitment is a two-way dialogue: people can tell when your approach is hasty, and it won’t help your cause.

Remember too that recruitment is a two-way dialogue: people can tell when your approach is hasty, and it won’t help your cause.

Khalilah Olakunola

The good news is that there’s so much you can do, to get it right. When recruiting, align the personalities you’re looking to recruit with the personalities of the platforms you’re recruiting from. Is this an entry-level role, mid-manager or senior executive position? This will help determine where you place your job ads.

And consider your social channels. Having a presence on the main platforms (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and so on) is key so that you can put forward your vision and values to attract the right people. And what about hosting a hiring party? It’s a great way to open the doors to your company and welcome in a range of applicants. Advertise your party on websites aligned with the roles on offer (such as entry-level ones), ask people to apply with their CVs, then issue invitations to those people you’d like to meet. At the party, share your company story, make introductions, have conversations. It’s a bit like an open house but for hiring!

The only thing that matters is everything

How you target people, how you represent yourself, and how you interact with candidates, all influence whether you recruit the best person for the job. Every stage of recruitment counts and makes a vital difference. So, take the time to get it right. Resist the quick fix. The work you do now will pay dividends. In the long run, it’ll benefit you, your business, and everyone in your team.