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Taking the Time to Tinker
Taking the Time to Tinker
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Recruiting Technical Talent for Early Stage Startups

  1. Technical Recruiting Poornima Vijayashanker EIR @ 500 Startups April 24, 2014 1
  2. • Right time to recruit • Sourcing candidates • Interview process • Crafting an offer • Closing candidates Agenda 2
  3. Recruiting is a sales process. 3
  4. What do the BEST sales people do? 4
  5. Don’t sell! 5
  6. They get you to buy! 6
  7. 7
  8. Brand building. 8
  9. Story of Starbucks. 9
  10. Right time. Supplemental Reading: How to Keep Your Startup Engineer Sane 10
  11. Pre-sourcing. Sourcing. Interviewing. Closing. 11
  12. Pre-sourcing. Sourcing. Interviewing. Closing. 12
  13. Communicate criteria. Supplemental Reading: Recruiting for a Startup? First Figure Out Who & What You Want., How to Keep Your Startup Engineer Sane, Technical Recruiters Get a Bad Rap 13
  14. Specify position Culture, Skills, Experience Level Identify ideal candidate Who matches & does NOT match? Communicate criteria To everyone: employees & entire network. 14
  15. Pre-sourcing. Sourcing. Interviewing. Closing. 15
  16. Don’t hire a recruiter at this stage. 16
  17. Get out more! hackathons 17
  18. Git online! 18
  19. 19
  20. Validate candidate. Assess their needs, skills, experience & interest. Pitch the company. Vision, why candidate is a fit & story that meets their needs. Explain process. Employees, recruiters & referrals. 20
  21. Pre-sourcing. Sourcing. Interviewing. Closing. 21
  22. Explain to candidate the interview process. Steps of the process. Who they will meet. When to expect an answer. Interview the candidate. Divvy up areas & review questions. Every interview MUST tell vision. What it’s like to work there. Evaluate the candidate. No communication during interview. Have criteria set & measure every candidate the same. Feedback system. 22
  23. Make them solve REAL problems. 23
  24. Phone screen first. 24
  25. 3 Keys to an Interview • Make the candidate comfortable • Background interests • Have them teach you something 25
  26. Early Stage Employee DNA • Adaptability • Productivity • Quality 26
  27. Evaluation Criteria • Process • Estimating complexity • Testing • Refactoring • Acknowledging their limits! 27
  28. Before you talk numbers... 28
  29. Sell your vision. Sell freedom. Sell working for YOU! 29
  30. Crafting an offer. 30
  31. Offer • Role • Numbers • Leave room for negotiation 31
  32. How to definitely get rejected! • Low ball offer. • Aggressive offer deadlines. • Not address needs. 32
  33. REJECTED. 33
  34. Why? 34
  35. Q&A 35
  36. Appendix 36
  37. Motivation Why do you want to work at a startup? Why do you want to work at this startup? What do you need from me to be productive? How do you keep up with tech trends? Technology Acumen What technologies are you familiar with i.e. can you actually write code in? Can you handle full stack development (front to back end)? Do you do TDD/BDD? What are the gaps in your skill set or knowledge? Are you willing to help recruit people who can compliment you? How would you scale a system from 1-10, 10-10k, 10k-1M users, and do so with in a fixed budget? Are you familiar with: security, monitoring, backup stores, deployment, scaling, performance tuning? Process How do you interact with product managers and designers? How would you implement an agile development team? How do you evaluate a build vs. buy situation? How do you ensure code quality? What is your process for handling technical debt? Mini Project Come up with a small project that you think will take them either a couple days to 1 week to implement. Can be as simple as integrate signups with email marketing provider. Grade on attention to detail (quality), how accurately they implemented what you wanted (capable of building & shipping), and turnaround time (speed). Sample interview questions. 37
  38. Resources Books Basic Black by Cathie Black Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson Secrets of Rockstart Programmers by Ed Burns Smart & Gets Things Done by Joel Spolsky The Leadership Pipeline by Charan, Drotter, Noel The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard Blog Posts right-for-you/ Podcasts Hire & Retain Talent - Barry Deutsch & Brad Remillard 38
  39. Infrastructure Application Hosting Website Hosting Code Repository Backups, Security Product Features Deployment Testing Continuous Integration Release Cycles App Store Maintenance Technical Debt Org Efficiency Email Server Email Marketing Social Media Data & Analytics Engineering Department 39
  40. Roles Front End Interactions: JavaScript, HTML/CSS Back End Algorithms, Features, Scaling Architect Understands entire system. DBA or DevOps Data Storage, security, scaling Growth Hacker Get me more users! Language Specific Rails Developer Mobile Developer iOS or Android Developer CTO/VP of Eng Manager 40