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A London startup CEO explained the way she steals top employees from companies like Bloomberg

Posted November 5, 2015 0:48 AM
A London startup CEO explained the way she steals top employees from companies like Bloomberg

Melissa Morries Network Locum

The CEO of a healthcare startup claims 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 GP practices to 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 50% of those coming from Oxbridge, according to Morris, who won Sky TV show, "The Pitch," in 2012.  

Several of Morris' team have been poached from consultancy firms like PwC and financial giants like Bloomberg, with Network Locum cofounder William Hoyer Millar hailing from the latter. Other members of her team were hired from JustGiving and London cleaning startup Mopp. 

Morris, a Bath University graduate who worked for 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 claims 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 then she’ll persist, contacting them up to three times in 72 hours if needs be.

"It might sound a bit annoying but actually my response rate goes 4x after messaging 3x," she said. "Also, I make sure not to send the same message each time."

Approximately 30 of the 100 people she contacts come back and say they’re interested, Morris claims. The majority of the others respond but say they’re not interested for one reason or another.

Morris then meets with each of the interested individuals, who are "much smarter" than her, and "whittles them down to one or two" through a series of tests.

Culture-fit test

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 and solve a problem that one of the Network Locum project teams has been struggling with for two or three weeks. The candidate will only get two hours so they're not expected to solve the problem but they are expected to make progress.

Morris said this tests a candidate’s intelligence and their ability to "get s--- done."

If there’s anyone left at this stage, they’ll be invited in for team drinks with the rest of the Network Locum employees.

Business Insider asked Morris how she convinces 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 saying Network Locum salaries are competitive, adding that the company is small enough to give away attractive stock options. 

A journalist from The Register also questioned Morris on whether she was looking to hire people that were similar to her but Morris said there is a lot of diversity across her company.

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Credit: Network Locum


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