DotConnect: What We Do

DotConnect: What We Do
Is your team ready to grow, but you don’t know where to start with the hiring process?
Growth can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t laid the groundwork for expansion. One of the easiest traps companies fall into is hiring the wrong people, which happens for a number of reasons. Maybe this even happened to your business. It could be that you focused too much on the resume rather than the person, or you were just unsure of who you needed at the time.
At DotConnect, we’ve been in your shoes and want to give you the advice you need to make the right hiring decision.
Our company has experienced times of exponential growth — we went from 1 to 85 employees in just over three years. Over that short time, we’ve problem-solved through difficult situations, achieved incredible goals, and helped clients build the team of their dreams.
We can’t wait to share our story with you! Join our CEO, Dom Farnan, to learn more about our rapid growth, the strategy behind our hiring process, and the importance of relationships when working with clients and choosing candidates.

Solopreneur to RPO: DotConnect’s Growth Story

We’re a thriving recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) company now, but we started like every business — small. In fact, our company was as small as you could get in 2018. Dom was hustling as a solopreneur recruiter and making big things happen for her clients by herself, but she reached the point where she needed to expand.

“At the end of 2018, I was still a solopreneur recruiter. I was burnt out. I had a lot of clients and two part-time people helping me. At that point in time, I decided that I wanted to go all-in on building a company. Before then, I had no interest [in expanding], and I was pretty happy doing my own consulting thing.”

One night, Dom was having dinner with a friend and brought up the idea of turning her solo endeavor into a growing business. Her friend immediately responded by telling Dom that she needed to expand her operations. After a great conversation about growth, Dom agreed that building her dream company was the right way to go.
In January of 2019, DotConnect was born. Dom began hiring people who were one to two degrees removed from her and others who were already within her network. Many of her hires had little to zero recruiting experience, but she knew they had a technical aptitude and a willingness to learn. During this initial building period, Dom learned a lot about what it means to build a company and who she was as a leader.

“We had a little bit of turnover, … [and] just learned a lot about ourselves as a company. Myself as a leader, I was a very toxic micromanaging type — an aggressive command and control type boss. I’ve evolved a lot from that, and I’m still working on what that means.”

As 2020 began, DotConnect continued to grow as a company, and Dom continued her personal journey to becoming an inspiring leader. We expanded from 25 to around 40 people, and it looked like that growth pattern would continue. But then, in March, the COVID pandemic turned things upside down.

“The pandemic hit in March 2020, and we scaled down to the core 15. … I got a little SBA loan to hold us all over for the year because we had barely any work. We had revenue from one main client that covered all of our payroll. But aside from that, we didn’t have a lot to do — nobody was hiring.”

Even though mid to late 2020 was a valley, Dom worked hard to line up clients and prepared us to start climbing back up the mountain of growth. By the end of 2020, Dom had signed on a new batch of clients, and DotConnect began to grow again.

“We entered the new year, [2021]. We had a lot of new clients we were supporting and also hired a lot of people between December to January. … That was great, but hiring and onboarding new people and onboarding new clients all at the same time was a complete disaster. We learned a lot then, … [and] a majority of the people we hired then ended up sticking with us.”

The road to where we are now has had its fair share of challenges, but those challenges opened opportunities to problem-solve and discover what matters most to us as a company.
In full transparency, there have been moments where we hired quickly and without intention, which didn’t work well.
However, that lesson taught us that you find the right talent when you’re very clear on your values and behaviors. Being intentional with what you want helps you find the best people for your team, and it enables you to build a better culture within your business.

Our Internal Hiring Strategy

We’re proud of the difference we make in recruiting top talent for clients, and we understand that it begins with our company. If we want to make an impact, we need to find people who can build relationships with clients and candidates. In the past, we ran primarily on social media posts and internal referrals, but we now have a dedicated recruiter.

“We finally have a full-time dedicated recruiter for recruiters at DotConnect; before that, it was all hands on deck. We had someone kind of taking care of it in the background, but it wasn’t a core focus for us because we were growing organically and not too fast.”

With a full-time recruiter for our recruiters, our hiring process has become more defined than ever. It begins with creating pre-interview briefs that describe the candidate, who’s on the interview, and what they will focus on during the interview. These briefs give us great direction before we hold our interviews and keep the focus on our core values.

“We have pre-briefs written [about] who’s on each panel and what they’re going to be focused on in terms of values, alignment and behavioral assessment, as well as technical skills. Although for us, it’s more like technical aptitude and mindset. If you’re curious, we can teach you how to recruit because it’s not like we’re teaching engineering or anything like that.”

When we look for recruiter candidates, we aren’t looking for years of recruiting experience — the job can be taught. But what we are looking for is a natural aptitude for learning and a good personal fit for our team. Hiring isn’t always choosing an overly qualified candidate that checks all the professional boxes — sometimes it is just finding that diamond in the rough with a desire to learn who also meshes really well with our culture.
After we conduct our interviews, we begin the candidate review process. We like for every interviewer to bring their feedback to the table so that we have a realistic view of our recruiter candidates. Overall, we’re looking for a balanced scorecard — we don’t need a unanimous vote for yes.

“We’ll still move forward, even if it’s not all yeses across the board. … That’s important because I know that some clients we work with where they need all yeses can prevent them from moving quickly or even moving at all. They can get in their own head and go in circles.”

Our hiring process helps us narrow down the right candidates while leaving room for what makes them human. We understand that no one will fit the cookie-cutter ideal for a recruiter, and that’s why we keep our hiring process from being consensus-driven.

How We Ask Our Interview Questions

Because our end goal is to learn who our candidates are as people, we like to ask questions that get to know them personally. We don’t just want to know what they can do when they get to work — we want to know why they want to do it. Finding out who someone is before hiring them is essential to our process.

“[We] like to understand what gets people excited in their roles, like what they’re motivated by. [We want] to hear stories around where they’ve been and why they’ve made the moves they made. I like to kind of open my interviews with walking through their professional history but from a story perspective.”

Everyone is unique, and we believe it’s essential to learn what makes them unique. We want to get a candidate’s backstory. Maybe they spent years living abroad following their passion for cuisine, worked as a specialist in engineering in a past life, or decided to step into recruiting because it seemed like a welcomed shift to their previous occupation.
Whatever their story may be, getting to know more about a candidate’s history opens the door to taking those critical first steps toward building a positive relationship with them.
We have a list of questions that we can default back to during the process if need be, but to learn more about someone’s story, it’s easier to ask open-ended questions. That way, there’s a possibility to keep a line of conversation going rather than hopping to the next talking point.

“We have a list of questions that we typically use, but I find that I get more out of someone when I just open it up with an open-ended question. Then I can jump in and dig into whatever detail seems interesting to me. … I think that’s what kept me in recruiting for 20 years, the fact that I’ve never had the same interview twice.”

Starting an interview within the headspace that honors each candidate’s individuality provides a more profound sense of understanding about a person and how they align with our values. It makes it possible to learn more about their unique nature and what really makes them tick, and this understanding of what motivates someone is essential to knowing if they will fit into our team.

Learn More About What DotConnect Can Do for You!

If your team is growing or you want to be a better interviewer for your company, keep this in mind. People are more than just a seat that needs to be filled. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that you need an ideal candidate with “X” years of experience that went to a well-recognized university and has only ever wanted to do the job you need filled.
But take it from us — that’s not going to happen. Instead, find out what motivates your candidate and start building a relationship from the first question you ask in your interview. This approach will help you learn more about how they align with your values and increase your understanding of how they will fit into your company’s culture.
At DotConnect, we’re experienced talent advisors that help companies build solid and people-focused teams that retain top talent. We’ve helped companies like Beautycounter, Samsung NEXT, and Zendesk find the right talent and build stronger teams. To learn more about the results of working with us, check out our case studies. Our results speak for themselves!

If you’re ready to make a change and work with a talent advisory company that’s dedicated to your team’s success, or if you’re interested in joining our team, reach out to us. We have the tools you need to make a significant impact in recruiting.