December 3, 2021
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5 minute

Fostering relationships: How Harvest’s Partnerships Engagement Manager helps connect founders with skilled talent

Inside Harvest

Builder Story is a series where we get to know members of the Harvest team and their roles. We sat down with our Partnerships Engagement Manager, Cody Reeves, to talk about his experience connecting startups with talent management solutions and his advice for founders when it comes to attracting talent. 

What inspired your passion for partnerships and talent? 

I've always had an interest in entrepreneurship, even going back to my school days — my major at the time was enterprise development. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur at some point in my career. So, I think that was a big motivator when I actually moved to Alberta from Nova Scotia and got my start in technology, particularly tech recruitment.

Can you walk us through your journey to Harvest? 

I saw Harvest gaining headway in Alberta. When it came time to look for my next opportunity, I reached out to Alitta, who is now our head of partnerships, and said to her, ‘I don’t know exactly what Harvest is doing, but I know that I want to work there!’ 

I really liked the idea of working with people whose mission is to support the development of a growing technology ecosystem. The experience of working with Harvest fit perfectly with my strengths and career goals. 

What does your role at Harvest consist of? 

As Harvest is a startup itself, I always joke that my job changes by the hour. 

Ultimately I boil it down to being that first contact point with Harvest. I'm responsible for connecting and working with entrepreneurs, startups, tech companies, investors [and] talent to help them understand what it is that we do, and learn more about their organizations and the challenges they are currently facing. I act as a consultant to understand key areas of support needed and how Harvest and our network can help. I also support further ecosystem outreach with the rest of our team.

Speaking of challenges, what common talent challenges do founders approach you with?

The common challenge our founders or startups come to us saying is, "how am I supposed to find this purple unicorn when I can't pay as much as Amazon or Google?" 

Almost every startup is not cash-rich - that's just the nature of the business. I pull it back to understanding the true need for the position, and when you get to actually recruiting for those positions, what makes it exciting to work for you as a leader? Not everybody's motivations are purely money. The key is to ensure that the talent you are attracting is aligned to your mission, organizational values and that they are motivated by the opportunity that the organization offers. Our team spends a lot of time working with founders to understand all of these aspects before going out and searching for talent.” 

What common mistakes or considerations do companies overlook when attempting to connect with their current or prospective employees?

I think one of the biggest mistakes I've seen [is] employers taking employer-centric recruitment strategies. I have seen many organizations that go into interviews with a “what-can-you-do-for-me?” mindset. A value proposition to the candidate is really key. Hiring a full-time employee is a long-term investment [and] should be treated as such.

Attracting and retaining talent is always a two-way street. When it comes to hiring new employees, or ensuring your current team remains engaged in their role, companies need to recognize the value people bring to their organizations, and the cost of losing them.

How does Harvest’s approach to recruitment differ from a recruitment agency? 

What sets us apart is that we're practicing what we preach consistently. Not only are we recruiting talent for other organizations, we're also building our own startup companies, so we understand the challenges these founders and small to mid-size companies face. We specialize in the people and skill sets that make these companies successful. 

The other piece that may set us apart is that we understand when it comes to hiring key team members, we understand you're looking to invest in someone [for] the long term and they are crucial to your path to success. We don't shy away from those hard roles.

How important are networking and relationship-building strategies to recruitment efforts?

Networking is paramount when you're trying to attract talent and build [an] effective organization overall.

A lot of businesses [are] wanting to attract passive seekers - candidates that are not actively searching but if an opportunity like ‘this’ came along, they would move. So I would say networking and relationship building - to this day - is the number one strategy in terms of attracting those passive seekers to open opportunities. It's something that job boards simply can't replicate. So many great opportunities are filled through referrals and through past and current connections.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your role with Harvest? 

I think the coolest part about my job is that I sit in a company with 30 plus subject matter experts - all extremely motivated - and I get to learn from them and their unique perspectives. My contributions are valued and I can be a part of supporting the success of founders, their vision, and the talent that makes it all happen.

As well, oftentimes, the Toronto's [and] Vancouver's of the world haven't heard of the startups or things that are going on in the Prairies. So, being able to spead the word and say, ‘hey, this is happening right next door. Why don't you check out these organizations?’ has been a really fulfilling aspect of my role.

Interested in leveling up your recruitment efforts? Find out how Harvest can help you identify, attract, and hire top candidates. 

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