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Top 4 steps for alignment with recruiting partners

 As a startup grows, there will be many decisions to make about recruiting and hiring the right talent. One that will come up frequently is the decision to do it yourself or partner to fulfill your needs — as well as how much of the process you want to control and how.   

While a startup can use internal recruiters, contract recruiters, search firms, traditional outsourcing partners or innovative solutions like Comeet’s Elastic Recruiting, solutions vary in terms of inherent control, models, and the relationships themselves.   

Assuming that at some point, like most startups, you’ll want to partner with providers for all or part of your recruiting activities, technology, or both, here’s a shortlist of critical factors for alignment — and ultimately success of that relationship.

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Exploration of fit and exchange of information (mutual discovery)

Researching potential solutions and beginning discussions with providers gives an invaluable opportunity to explore capabilities and fit. This foundational work is what drives future alignment of the provider with your organization’s culture, vision and goals. [note: link yellow to the new TA scaling recruiting innovation piece

As this process advances to a potential partner shortlist, you’ll move from internal research, discussions, and information review to discussions with a subset of potential partners. During this time, it’s important to openly exchange information and discuss topics like the following: 

  • Business Model: What is their business model and solution and how does it map to your needs now as well as over time?
  • Technology: Do they offer a technology solution as part of what they do that will help your team save time and improve the candidate, hiring manager and HR experiences as well? 
  • Pricing: What are options and pricing, and how do they compare to alternatives?
  • Defining Success: What will it take for the relationship to be successful? 
  • Issue Resolution: What if something goes wrong?

These questions are the beginning of determining fit and whether or not the potential partner has what it takes to work with you and your company. The process of working through a contract will help identify more areas that fit and most likely some that don’t. The contract should establish many of the steps outlined below. 

If you are already past this exploration step, you can assess the relationship from this perspective at any time! 

Formal kickoff meeting

A formal kickoff meeting is an important step in aligning both teams around shared goals and vision. It begins the formal working relationship and should establish and review goals, expectations, success criteria, communications, rollout and measurement of success.  This meeting is also an opportunity to provide important facts and supporting materials to the provider so that they understand your business goals, talent strategy, values, vision and all aspects of what makes someone a great hire at your firm. All of the supporting talent acquisition strategies, tools and materials should be discussed at this time.  

A startup can maintain some control when working with any type of service or outsourcing venture by having the service provide a candidate shortlist based on the startup’s well-defined criteria and prepare candidates for the interviews using agreed upon materials. Then the startup will own the process from there. 

Performance metrics and tracking

Once the contract process starts, the factors for success are typically identified and this is an important step in aligning both teams around shared goals and vision. These can include, among others, typical recruiting metrics like candidates presented to job opening ratios, time to fill, time to start, quality of hire and other satisfaction criteria. 

Scheduled business reviews and ongoing check-ins

Establishing a schedule for formal business reviews where the provider presents the data to show what took place in the prior period are beneficial to ensuring great relationships and continued alignment.  Typically, quarterly or in some cases monthly, these formal meetings give the teams an opportunity to address any issues and move forward together into the next period. Ongoing check-ins also contribute to the success of the relationship.   

With the right partner who works with you well and fits your needs, along with these 4 critical steps in place, you’ll be on your way to a successful, aligned relationship with your recruiting solution partner.  

For more ideas to fuel your startups success, check out our new whitepaper “The New Startup Scalability Superpower: Recruiting Innovationfor more tips. It includes 7 major trends, 7 myths and 7 steps to scaling talent acquisition which can make a big difference in your growth! Download your copy here. 

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