The CEO of a healthcare startup says she has come up with a formula to help her steal the most talented individuals from large corporates like Bloomberg and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Melissa Morris is the cofounder and CEO of Network Locum, which provides a platform to help self-employed locum doctors find work at GP practices and to help GP practices find cover when they need it.
“This is what I’m doing to take your talented people,” she told an audience of employees from firms such as Barclays, Google, and Shell at the FT Innovate conference in London on Tuesday.
Eight months ago, Network Locum had 10 people at its office in Clerkenwell, London. Now it employs 30, with half of those coming from Oxbridge, according to Morris, who won the Sky TV show “The Pitch” in 2012.
Several of Morris’ team members have been poached from consultancy firms like PwC and financial giants like Bloomberg, where Network Locum cofounder William Hoyer Millar hails from. Other members of her team were hired from JustGiving and the London cleaning startup Mopp.
Morris, a University of Bath graduate who worked for the management consultancy firm McKinsey and as a strategist for the NHS in London, said she begins her hiring process by finding six companies that she perceives to have high-calibre employees.
Persistent LinkedIn messaging pays off
She then goes on her £700-a-month LinkedIn Premium account, which she says is cheaper and better than hiring a recruiter, and finds 100 potential individual hires.
Each person on this list is contacted by Morris directly through LinkedIn, which is “by far the best” hiring tool she’s ever used. If they don’t reply, she’ll persist, contacting them up to three times in 72 hours if needed.
“It might sound a bit annoying, but actually my response rate goes four times after messaging three times,” she said. “Also, I make sure not to send the same message each time.”
About 30 of the 100 people she contacts come back and say they’re interested, Morris said. Most of the others respond but say they’re not interested.
Morris then meets with each of the interested individuals, who she says are “much smarter” than her, and “whittles them down to one or two” through a series of tests.
The first test is a “culture-fit” test. The metric for passing this test is: “Could you sit next to this person on a train for two hours?”
Morris then gets candidates to try to solve a problem that one of the Network Locum project teams has been struggling with for two or three weeks. Candidates will get only two hours, so they’re not expected to solve the problem, but they are expected to make progress.
Morris said this tested a candidate’s intelligence and ability to “get s— done.”
Anyone left at this stage will be invited in for team drinks with the rest of the Network Locum employees.
Business Insider asked Morris how she persuaded the top employees and the best graduates to come and work for her when they could potentially walk into a company like Google or Facebook, where they could be paid significantly more.
Morris replied that Network Locum salaries were competitive, adding that the company was small enough to give away attractive stock options.
A journalist from The Register also questioned Morris on whether she was looking to hire people who were similar to her, but Morris said there was a lot of diversity across her company.
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