Tips for Building a High-performing Team in a Niche Industry



by Dorie Blesoff on August 07, 2015

Education & Certification , Litigation Support , Professional Development

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Building a high-performing team in an industry like ours is as challenging as it is rewarding. It’s an industry that’s growing incredibly quickly—and software developers, service providers, and law firms are working hard to keep up. On the other hand, e-discovery is a niche industry, and not many outside this space have a good grasp of it. Plenty of strong professionals are looking for jobs, but not all of them can hit the ground running in such a specialized line of work.

Regardless of the e-discovery services your organization provides, when you open a role for your next superstar, the competition for top talent will be stiff. How do you tackle your need for hiring new talent with a smart growth strategy? kCura has been growing with the larger e-discovery space in recent years, and we’ve asked ourselves the same question. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned as we’ve tackled some challenges along the way.

Challenge #1: For core business roles, you need to build interest in an industry most recruits know little or nothing about.

First, be prepared to teach—and learn. If you’ve done a good job educating your current team, they can be a great help recruiting and interviewing the right talent. Look for applicants that show curiosity about what you do, and answer their questions about your place in the industry thoroughly. Remember that the right person will want to learn from you. Our internal learning program is critical to our onboarding process, as we’ve found it helps new employees feel educated and empowered as soon as they start at kCura.

Second, provide context with the bigger picture. If your team is passionate about the impact you have on issues and technology such as big data, the cloud, and predictive analytics, let your candidates see it. That kind of enthusiasm is often contagious. For example, we highlight how e-discovery plays a major role in the way the world solves serious problems—and will play an even greater role in the future—and how our technology directly supports the justice behind investigations and disputes and helps businesses protect their intellectual property and operate smoothly.

blog_industry-talentChallenge #2: When you’re looking for industry superstars, how do you find the right talent and stand out in the crowd?

There’s no better way to stand out in a crowd than to simply be yourself. Define and demonstrate your culture for candidates. At kCura, that means owning and sharing our core values, offering an employee-centric benefits package, and keeping e-discovery fun. We take pride in our geekiness and aren’t afraid to show it off. Be transparent about what makes your company unique, and show your candidates as much respect as you show your customers.

While e-discovery is about getting down to the business of litigation and investigations, it requires plenty of creative problem-solving. Another way to stand out is to describe how your office environment supports the work you do and nurtures creative minds. What makes your environment unique? In our office, an open floor plan, areas for spontaneous discussion, and modern technology support our engineering teams’ Agile work. Regardless of how your space is set up, make it a discussion point with candidates if you’ve put thought into making it work for your teams.

blog_smart-growthChallenge #3: Identifying the right candidate can take a special kind of interview process.

At kCura, our team thrives on agility and an eagerness to learn, so we look for those qualities in new team members during the interview process. When we’re meeting candidates in person, we interview on the candidate’s professional experience as well as on how they embody our core values. Having multiple team members interview on distinct aspects of what makes a candidate successful has worked well for us. This approach gives us a great chance to understand their background and simply get to know them.

For your interviews, build a list of questions that ensure both a technical competency and a good fit for the long haul—and consider offering specialized exercises for specialized roles. For example, interviews with candidates for our advice specialist role include focused questions around the evolution and trends of the e-discovery industry. For potential processing engineers, we combine those industry questions with some hands-on tests for technical competencies specifically focused on processing software. These exercises are practical ways to connect with candidates and get a good feel for their skills.

Dorie Blesoff is chief people officer at kCura, helping implement internal development initiatives across the company and fostering a culture of engagement. Dorie has also taught organizational development courses at Northwestern University’s Center for Learning & Organizational Change for 14 years.

 

 

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