101 #HiringHacks for Startups

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Want to hack your hiring? Want to know what the experts have to say about the tricks of finding, hiring, and keeping awesome talent?

Check out our 101 #HiringHacks SlideShare!

You’ll learn #HiringHacks to…
-Design your employer brand
-Build an internal recruiting engine
-Source the top candidates
-Fast-track your shortlist
-And more!

We packed this full of wisdom from @dharmesh, @randfish, @kate_hughes, @bhorowitz, and more. So check out our 101 Hiring Hacks for Startups, and let us know what you think!

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101 #HiringHacks for Startups

  1. DESIGN YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND
  2. 1 OFFER A BASE-LEVEL OF BENEFITS AND PERKS. In a competitive environment, many perks are considered a price of entry. Research what your main competitors offer and ensure you at least match it.
  3. 2 OFFER UNLIMITED VACATION Nothing says ‗we respect your judgement‘ more than giving employees total discretion on their holidays.
  4. 3 OFFER A PAID PAID VACATION If you find unlimited vacation doesn‘t help your hardworking team take a break, consider paying them to take time off. Paid Vacation? That‟s Not Cool. You Know What‟s Cool? Paid, PAID Vacation. @bartlorang
  5. 4 TAKE AN ANNUAL ONE- MONTH COMPANY RETREAT Expensify takes their entire team to a (low-cost) location each year for a full month. In 2012 it was Thailand.
  6. We believe that smart folks can get five days of work done in four days. Simple as that. 5 DON‟T WORK FRIDAYS. @RyanCarson
  7. 6 GIVE A DAY OFF ON BIRTHDAYS. Its just another way that shows them you encourage them to enjoy life outside of work.
  8. 7 CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARIES WITH THE COMPANY. It‘s easy to recognize the anniversaries of the date they started with you either with a gift or with day off that they can take any time in the month of their anniversary.
  9. 8 OPEN A TAB AT A NEARBY CAFE Let your staff get their daily caffeine fix on the company.
  10. 9 HAVE FRESH FRUIT DELIVERED TO THE OFFICE REGULARLY. Avoid sugary snacks, and try fresh fruit at work to give a regular health boost.
  11. 10 PAY FOR GYM MEMBERSHIPS Offer an incentive where you will cover individual gym memberships (up to a certain dollar amount) for all employees once they have passed their probation.
  12. 11 PROVIDE GENUINE FLEXIBILITY Github is famous for the distributed work environment and lack of structure. They‘re doing something right… ―Hours are bullshit‖ @holman
  13. 12 CREATE AN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK. MAKE IT GOOD. Putting some real effort into an employee handbook shows real commitment to people. A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one‘s there telling you what to do. LINK
  14. 13 DOCUMENT YOUR VALUES. SHARE THEM PUBLICLY. Whether you like it or not, you're going to have a culture. Why not make it one you love? @dharmesh
  15. 14 TELL GOOD STORIES. Tell your stories through every medium: in person, blogs, Twitter, publications and product design.
  16. 15 DEMONSTRATE SOCIAL AWARENESS As a company, select a charity that the team supports either through donations or through volunteer work.
  17. 16 CREATE A VIDEO OF A „DAY IN LIFE‟. This needs to be transparent and authentic, with no BS. Give people a feel for your team culture and work environment.
  18. DELIVER AN AWESOME CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE
  19. 17 TREAT EVERY CANDIDATE LIKE A FUTURE CUSTOMER. This is a helpful mental hack to help shape all of your candidate interactions, and everything below.
  20. 19 SINGLE CLICK TO APPLY. Embed an ‗Apply with LinkedIn‘ button onto your website, to remove any barrier to applicants.
  21. 18 SET UP AN AUTORESPONDER WITH A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE CEO. This is easy to setup in Gmail, and ensures candidates have an immediate response.
  22. 20 PICK UP THE PHONE AND SPEAK TO CANDIDATES. Even in a tech startup environment, a personal call from the CEO (or a cofounder) to a candidate can have a huge impact.
  23. 21 SET INTERNAL DEADLINES FOR ALL RESPONSES. Don‘t keep candidates waiting. They‘re not only talking to you. 24 hours is a good target – remember, fastest may not always win, but slowest will almost always lose.
  24. 22 SETUP A GUEST TABLET FOR CANDIDATES IN RECEPTION Give them a tablet to do whatever they want, including playing Angry Birds. For bonus points, give them limited access to an internal Yammer feed or intranet, so they get a feel for the internal culture.
  25. Even if you have given them a wifi code or other distractions, never keep a candidate waiting. This is the first impression they will have of how you run your business – make it good. 23 NEVER KEEP A CANDIDATE WAITING.
  26. Remember to offer your candidate a glass of water (or perhaps even a coffee). And at the end of the interview, remember to see them to the elevator or to the door personally. 24 REMEMBER THE LITTLE THINGS.
  27. Thank them for their time, be transparent with your decision (whether successful or not), and if appropriate, offer constructive feedback. 25 SEND A PERSONAL NOTE TO EVERYONE YOU INTERVIEW
  28. It‘s amazing what insights or potential competitor information a candidate will share with you over the phone that they wouldn‘t even consider including in an email. 26 WHERE APPROPRIATE, PICK UP THE PHONE TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK.
  29. BUILD AN INTERNAL RECRUITING ENGINE
  30. This allows fixed time every week for interviews, coffees, or phone calls. Even if no interviews are scheduled, work on the top of the funnel — events, blogging, but with a focus on candidate attraction. 27 AS CEO, ALLOCATE TIME EVERY WEEK FOR RECRUITING.
  31. Map a process that will work for you, including who will conduct each round of interviews, who gives the office tour, and at what stage any full team engagement will take place. 28 DEFINE SPECIFIC ROLES FOR EACH OF YOUR TEAM.
  32. Show what it‘s like to work at your company. Even if not recruiting, build your pipeline by allowing people to express interest. 29 ADD A CAREERS PAGE TO YOUR WEBSITE.
  33. Most startups don‘t need a full ATS (applicant tracking system). What we do need is speed and visibility. 30 FIND SIMPLE, CHEAP TOOLS TO CREATE AN AGILE HIRING PROCESS.
  34. Measure your conversion at every stage in the hiring process. Then identify where you need to improve. 31 MEASURE YOUR HIRING PROCESS LIKE YOUR CUSTOMER ACQUISITION FUNNEL.
  35. Have a shortlist of ideal candidates for your upcoming roles. Then like any sales target, nurture them: with coffees, shared content, or invitations to your events. 32 BUILD A BENCH
  36. SOURCE THE TOP CANDIDATES think like a headhunter
  37. 33 FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE. Where do the rockstars in your space hangout?
  38. You need to touch 100 candidates to make one great hire. @kate_hughes FOLLOW THE „RULE OF 100‟.34
  39. Send your team to events in their space, where they can spread the word in a relaxed environment. BE VISIBLE AT EVENTS AND MEETUPS. 35
  40. Hosting your own events brings great visibility, credibility, and contact details for all attendees. To hack this idea further: litter the room with a few posters or notes that ‗We‘re Hiring‘. SWAP A FRACTION OF A TRADITIONAL RECRUITER‟S FEE FOR HOSTING EVENTS. 36
  41. Your existing customers, followers and ambassadors are a great place to start. Share your open roles in a newsletter, or on Twitter / Facebook. ASK YOUR COMMUNITY FOR REFERRALS. 37
  42. You can search for almost any public profile on LinkedIn. Learn the basics of Boolean Search to uncover people well outside your network. 38 LEARN THE BASICS OF SEARCHING LinkedIn.
  43. Browse profiles of target candidates, and if someone browses back, ask for connection. „FLIRT‟ WITH PEOPLE ON LinkedIn. 39
  44. Do some research, and make it clear why you‘ve contacted them. CRAFT PERSONALIZED EMAILS TO TARGET CANDIDATES, AND FOLLOW UP. 40
  45. Think how many emails you send in a month. If 0.001% of those people made a referral… well, you do the math. ADD A NOTE TO YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE, WITH THE ROLES YOU‟RE HIRING. Example: „Know any awesome Ruby developers? I‟d love to buy you dinner for an intro.‟ 41
  46. Make your job ads less boring. We can‘t all afford a billboard, but there‘s no limit to startup creativity. GET CREATIVE WITH JOB ADS.42
  47. Use sponsored Tweets or Facebook ads to reach your target audience. TRY INNOVATIVE SOURCING CHANNELS 43
  48. Find the blogs your candidates will be reading, and just hustle to get in front of them #Protip: make sure you have something smart to say. COMMENT ON RELEVANT BLOGS, WITH A NOTE THAT „WE‟RE HIRING‟. 44
  49. Are you torn between ‗growth hacker‘, ‗ninja rockstar marketer‘, or ‗engineer who knows marketing‘? Like any copy on your site, try A/B testing. A/B TEST YOUR JOB TITLE AND DESCRIPTION. 45
  50. Cash is boring. Try dinner at the best restaurant in town; 12 months supply of PBR; or a weekend trip to Tahoe. Like employee bonuses, make it something people will enjoy, but are unlikely to buy for themselves. OFFER REFERRAL INCENTIVES, BUT MAKE THEM CREATIVE. 46
  51. FAST-TRACK YOUR SHORTLIST
  52. Every link provides invaluable information, and will save you time searching for it all yourself. Union Square Ventures only ask for social links from applicants (no CVs wanted!). HAVE APPLICANTS SHARE THEIR FULL SOCIAL IDENTITY. 47
  53. Depending on the role, a bit of sleuthing can also help. Whether you buy into them or not, measures like Klout give a directional sense of someone‘s activity on the social webs. MEASURE THE INFLUENCE AND REACH OF CANDIDATES. 48
  54. SeatGeek (a NYC ticketing startup) was receiving hundreds of dodgy applications for developer roles. So they set a challenge: “All applicants must submit their resume by hacking into our backend jobs admin panel”. It worked so well, they extended it to non-tech roles. SET GAMES OR CHALLENGES FOR PEOPLE TO APPLY. 49
  55. Ask candidates to follow simple, but very clear steps in submitting their application. If they can‘t, don‘t even read it. A simple example: including a custom message in an email subject. SET SIMPLE RULES FOR DISQUALIFICATION. 50
  56. Rather than finding the rare 10X engineer, focus on building a superstar team. DON‟T LOOK FOR THE 10X ENGINEER. Belief in the Mythical, ―10X‖ Hire Hurts Your Team 51 @randfish
  57. For roles with many applicants, swap time-consuming phone interviews for automated video screening. They can save +30-40 minutes per applicant. USE VIDEO TO SCREEN SOME ROLES. 52
  58. INTERVIEW LIKE A BOSS
  59. Make sure they understand the overall process, goals for each interview, and the types and style of questions Read: The Complete Managers‘ Interview Guide. TEACH YOUR ENGINEERS HOW TO INTERVIEW. 53
  60. Leave space for notes and answers throughout the interview, and ratings. Once finished, scan the paper and attach to your candidates‘ notes. CREATE A STANDARD TEMPLATE FOR ALL INTERVIEWS. 54 Read: Interview Template and Guided Framework.
  61. Plan a core set of behavioral questions in advance, and sync this with your team. Use this to dig deeper in certain areas; and make sure no candidate answers the same question twice (to different people). PRE-PLAN YOUR STRUCTURED QUESTIONS. 55
  62. You want to learn how they think; about the quality of their ideas; and whether they‘ve invested real time and effort into learning about your company. ASK CANDIDATES HOW THEY WOULD IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCT/ MARKETING/ UI. 56
  63. Ask a Product Manager how they would design a metrics dashboard; or a marketer to ‗Develop the launch plan for a new product feature‘. WORK THROUGH A CASE STUDY TOGETHER. 57
  64. Whether doing a case study or not, encourage candidates to sketch out solutions to any big responses. You‘ll quickly get great insight into their ability to structure and communicate an answer. HAVE A WHITEBOARD IN ANY INTERVIEW ROOM. 58
  65. HAVE A TEAM MEMBER CALL YOU 15 MINUTES INTO THE INTERVIEW. 59 Answer the call if you want an excuse to finish early. Ignore the call if you like where it‘s headed. #Protip: to show a strong candidate you really value their time, pull the phone out of your pocket and put it face down on the table, without even looking at the screen.
  66. Why are you really sitting in front of me today? What are you ideally looking for in your next position? What salary are you on now? Who else is involved in your decision making process? How will your manager react when you resign? ASK THESE 5 QUESTIONS TO EVERY CANDIDATE. 60 1 2 3 4 5
  67. SELECT FOR SUCCESS
  68. The toughest decisions are with candidates who are highly competent but don‘t fit the culture. HIRE FOR CULTURAL FIT OVER COMPETENCE. 61 While you always want to shoot for high competence, high cultural fit people early in your company‟s life, it‟s always better to chose cultural fit over competence when you have to make a choice. @bfeld
  69. Set a small, real-world project relevant to their role, and give them a few days to work on it. You‘ll get much richer insight into their actual ability and style. SET A SMALL PROJECT.62
  70. Give the same project to multiple candidates. Hiten Shah (Kissmetrics) asked 5 designers to build the same infographic, then could make a more data-driven decision about who to hire. A/B TEST YOUR CANDIDATES. 63
  71. Ask them to provide verified code or a Github account. A more objective (but expensive!) option is Gild, which evaluates and ranks the technical chops of millions of developers in 200 countries. CHECK OUT THE SOURCE CODE OF POTENTIAL HIRES. 64
  72. You don‘t want employees who think working in a startup is cool. It‘s hard work. Really. You want people who‘ll get smacked, work through the pain, and keep smiling at the end of the day. LOOK FOR HONEYBADGERS65 …who „don‟t give a sh*t about anything.‟
  73. Every new hire impacts your culture, so get the team involved in all decisions. INTRODUCE THEM TO THE ENTIRE TEAM. EARLY. 66
  74. A candidate will never provide a negative reference, but you‘ll be surprised what you can learn from a phone call. PERSONALLY CALL THEIR REFERENCES. 67
  75. Don‘t just call references they provide. Search deep for other connections you have to the candidate, to get the real inside word. CONDUCT BACK-CHANNEL REFERENCES. 68
  76. Invite the 2-3 top candidates in for a full working day (on different days, obviously). Include them in product discussions, sessions with their team, and general day- to-day operations. After working with them for a full day, you‘ll be surprised how clear a cultural fit (or misfit) becomes. SETUP A ONE-DAY TRIAL. 69
  77. WALK THEM THROUGH A „WEEK IN THE LIFE‟ OF THE ROLE. 70 Watch carefully for how they engage, and the type of questions they ask.
  78. NEGOTIATE THE OFFER
  79. Make sure it‘s legal, and includes all benefits and perks. Ideally, your lawyers can provide a template as part of any standard documentation. CREATE A CONSISTENT OFFER LETTER FOR ALL CANDIDATES. 71
  80. Understand general industry ranges, then check AngelList for a market comparison. If your offer differs significantly from other startups, you‘ll need a good reason when talking to the best candidates. UNDERSTAND INDUSTRY BENCHMARKS FOR SALARY AND EQUITY. 72
  81. Find out what motivates someone, and pitch to their passion. You might find them willing to budge; and also that they‘re worth more than you think. DON‟T FOCUS ON SALARY.73
  82. If you don‘t want to share the actual percentage, at least provide enough detail for employees to understand the value of their offer. FOR EQUITY OFFERS, INCLUDE BOTH THE NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE. 74
  83. This should be non-negotiable. 4-years (at minimum) with a 12-month cliff. VEST THE EQUITY FOR EVERY EMPLOYEE. 75
  84. Can you give me the offer in writing? How does my compensation compare to my peers in the company? What are my options worth? What percentage of the company do my options represent on a fully diluted basis? Can I exercise my unvested options early? EXPECT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. 76 The Role: 1 2 3 4 5 @VentureHacks
  85. How much money do you have in the bank right now? How long will it last? What was the company‘s post-money valuation in the last round? What are the investors‘ preferences? Who is on the Board and whom do they represent? The Company: 1 2 3 4 5 EXPECT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. 76 @VentureHacks
  86. CLOSE YOUR TOP CANDIDATE
  87. Tell them how the role will be difficult, and gauge their reaction. The right person will be energized when they hear that. SELL THE ROLE‟S DIFFICULTY. 77 @dinolamela
  88. …then let them write their own job description. GIVE CANDIDATES THE FULL SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM. 78
  89. Ask what other roles / companies your candidate is considering. Develop a winning game plan in response. UNDERSTAND YOUR COMPETITION. THEN BEAT THEM. 79
  90. You could include a press kit, branded swag, bottle of wine, or Kindle. If they‘re considering other roles, it‘s small things like this that can tip the balance in your favor. SEND A PACK TO THEIR HOUSE. 80
  91. If you‘re bootstrapping hard, a simple hand-written note could have a similar effect. Anyone can send an email — you need to be memorable. SEND A HAND WRITTEN NOTE. 81
  92. This is someone who‘s going to have a big impact on the ultimate decision, but you‘ve probably never met. Get to know them, let them learn more about your startup, and show you care about life outside of work. HAVE DINNER WITH THEIR PARTNER. 82
  93. This can be a big swing factor for the right candidates, who might take a lower salary for an opportunity to work with big names in the game. You did the hard work getting these folk on board – so use them to your advantage. INTRODUCE THEM TO YOUR HIGH-PROFILE INVESTORS OR ADVISORS. 83
  94. Friday drinks, mid-week meetup, weekend event. Show them the great team environment they‘ll be joining, and give them a chance to hangout with future colleagues in an informal setting. INVITE THEM TO A TEAM EVENT. 84
  95. Remember the Steve Jobs „sugar water‟ moment? This is your job as CEO, but might be harder to pull off in a meeting room or office. TAKE A WALK TOGETHER AND SHARE THE VISION FOR YOUR COMPANY. 85
  96. HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
  97. Give new employees something to open on the first day, to signify a new beginning. This is how Jack Dorsey welcomes all employees at Square. CREATE A WELCOME KIT THAT REINFORCES YOUR VALUES AND CULTURE. 86
  98. Unless you want new candidates ‗building their own chair‘, make them feel physically welcome, and instantly productive. SETUP THEIR WORKSPACE COMPLETELY. 87
  99. Have a checklist with everything they need to be working productively. This includes email address, passwords, and logins to all SaaS apps. SETUP THEIR VIRTUAL WORKSPACE. 88
  100. Early in the week, there‘s often too much going on. By Thursday the team is usually more relaxed and will generally be more receptive to spending time with the new kid on the block. The weekend isn‘t too far away, and they can really start fresh with you the following week. HAVE NEW PEOPLE START ON A THURSDAY. 89
  101. Run a structured induction with introductions, training sessions, and one- on-ones with all key members of the team. Use this to ensure everyone receives a consistent intro to your company. See how Atlassian runs an induction bootcamp for all new employees. CREATE A WEEK ONE BOOT CAMP. 90
  102. Announce their arrival to your customers, partners and audience. WRITE A BLOG POST WELCOMING NEW HIRES TO THE TEAM. 91
  103. This lets them show personality and their life outside of work, while formalizing their introduction to the full team. HAVE NEW HIRES WRITE THEIR OWN INTERNAL INTRO 92
  104. DRIVE FOR PERFORMANCE
  105. When you expect people to perform well, it turns out they do (the Pygmalian Effect). There‘s a catch however: your high expectations need to be realistic and achievable, or they could have the opposite effect. USE A PYGMALIAN EFFECT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. 93
  106. Zappos requires all new employees to spend 2 weeks in the call center. You could do similar, in formal cycles, or just by having new employees sit in on a weekly meeting with a different team. You want them to understand and appreciate the work happening across the business, not just in their role. ROTATE NEW EMPLOYEES THROUGH SEVERAL KEY FUNCTIONS. 94
  107. …then after 30, 60, and 90 days (if not more regularly). Make sure to get their feedback on your performance, and their feelings about the team. HAVE STRUCTURED (2-WAY) FEEDBACK SESSIONS AT THE END OF WEEK ONE. 95
  108. This is another famous hack from Zappos. They report 97% of employees turn down the offer (of a few thousand dollars). For those who take it, the cost is viewed as an investment in only keeping the right people. PAY EMPLOYEES TO LEAVE AFTER 3 WEEKS. 96
  109. …and be a Good Place to Work. PROGRAM YOUR COMPANY CULTURE. 97 @bhorowitz Designing a proper company culture will help you get your company to do what you want in certain important areas for a very long time.
  110. Don‘t just wait until the end of the month or quarter to recognize those who‘ve done something well. Real- time recognition works wonders, whether in person or virtually on an internal feed. RECOGNIZE EFFORTS REGULARLY. 98
  111. “Hire Fast, Fire Faster” ACT ON HIRING MISTAKES QUICKLY. 99 I have never regretted firing anybody. Not once. @msuster
  112. Bring the entire company together to introduce new hires, share goals and milestones, and discuss strategy. HOLD A WEEKLY „ALL HANDS‟ MEETING. 100 The weekly all hands meeting makes a huge difference in culture, morale and communication @Bijan
  113. Despite all of these hacks, never lose sight of the big picture. CONDUCT QUARTERLY PULSE CHECKS OF CULTURE AND SATISFACTION. 101
  114. 1355 Market St, Suite 488 San Francisco, CA 94103 United States team@recruitloop.com 855 317 7226 | Tel Ground Floor, 608 Harris St Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia team@recruitloop.com 1300 769 796 | Tel RecruitLoop.com @RecruitLoop

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