Tim Wallace guides iPipeline through rapid growth

“If you think about it, one in every five iPipeline employees has been with the company less than 12 months,” Wallace says. “That puts tremendous stress on the organization. It puts stress on the HR department. It puts stress on the recruiting engine.”

iPipeline uses a third-party recruiting firm to help ease this burden. Employees in management still influence the final hiring decisions, however, and Wallace has more involvement in hires at the executive level.

“It puts pressure on us to make those employees welcome, but also productive. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right training programs in place, the right content that they can review, the right mentoring programs,” Wallace says. “Then you get into process and methodology and, putting those things together in order, to make sure that we’re not duplicating everything, that we’re building a process once and that we’re making sure that we do it the best way we can, which allows for efficiencies to accommodate the growth.”

Avoiding common pitfalls

With rapid growth comes a greater chance of missing something during the hiring process.

“The biggest mistake that you can make, when you grow that fast and you have to hire that quickly, is not putting the right hiring criteria in,” Wallace says. “You must hire people who are going to be successful in their roles and fit into the organization.

“You hire the wrong people just because you need people versus focusing on hiring really quality people who are going to fit well into the organization and be successful.”

From application submission to offer letter, it usually takes four to six weeks to hire at iPipeline. At least 10 applications come in for every position.

When it comes to retention, right now iPipeline is hovering at 90 percent, which is respectable, Wallace says, compared with the 14 to 18 percent rate that technology companies often experience.

“I think the retention is offset by the fact that, as we’ve grown so fast, we probably weren’t doing as efficient a job of hiring as I would have liked. The turnover that we’ve had probably was more related to not hiring the right people at the right time,” Wallace says.

Company and team values play a large role in recruiting talent that will fit well with the company long term. At iPipeline, employees are encouraged to be: innovative, passionate, accountable, customer-centric and team-focused.

“We build fairly strict adherence to policies about the type of people we’re looking for. They’ve got to align with our core values. So we’re looking for people who are innovative and hardworking, want to be at a software company, and are focused on the team versus the individual. Those are all things that are important to us,” he says.

Prospective hires need to show passion for what they do and to pass employee testing on business methods and skill sets, along with passing a psychological profile test to make sure they will be attuned to the iPipeline culture, Wallace says.

“Then we put them through an interview process that typically (starts with) a phone interview. Then — if we decide to bring them in — they typically meet with five people on-site for the day. Then we make a decision about whether we want to hire them,” he says. “I’m involved in making sure that those processes are followed and adhered to, and I helped build them.”

Encouraging a shared vision

Having a clear vision of where your company wants to be in the next five to 10 years is essential to building employee loyalty. In addition, at iPipeline creative thinking is encouraged within the organization via the company’s core values, allowing employees to participate in the execution of that vision.

“We build innovation into our core values and we talk to employees about it all the time,” Wallace says. “There are many situations that we get into with our customers where employees actually have to innovate to create a product that we don’t currently have.

“We’ll pull certain people (from) throughout the organization, put them together on small teams and let them build things. We always talk about and foster innovation and creativity.”