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Hiring the best at Opower

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Hiring the best at Opower

  1. 1. OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE Your role: hiring the best July 2013
  2. 2. People who inform our approach » Hadi Partovi » @Hadip » World class investor and team builder » Advised Opower on recruiting in 2010 » Ben Horowitz » @Bhorowitz » Well known VC and entrepreneur who blogs about team building OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE » Geoff Smart » @Geoff_Smart » Runs leadership firm for CEOs, investors » Authored an acclaimed book on hiring leaders
  3. 3. Why do I have an opinion on hiring? Done more than 300 interviews for Opower Hiring manager for largest group of departments Helped turn around recruiting at Opower Regular “topgrading interview” partner (more on that later) with Dan for executive hiring OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  4. 4. Hiring managers must do » Own your hiring number; sit down with your recruiter and go through resumes together so they understand what you want » Source and recruit by example and expect the same from your team » Build scorecards and interview panels that circumvent your own weaknesses » Set the standard; say “no” even under pressure to grow » Insist on closing…do not give up on the great ones OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  5. 5. We are all in recruiting Sourcing: Our best hires come from referrals or are sourced directly by hiring managers; Dan and I personally source for roles on LinkedIn every month Primary focus for today Evaluating: We have a diverse team of A players at Opower, and each person has a role in evaluating different capabilities and holding to a high standard Closing: Nobody is more effective at selling a candidate than a passionate Oployee, and anyone can be closed with the right approach OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  6. 6. Sourcing: be a hunter, not a browser » The easiest methods are usually less effective: • Post job listings • “It’s recruiting’s responsibility” – recipe for failure » Finding and dislodging people beats resume browsing » People who have looked at your LinkedIn profile » People you went to grad school with, college with, even high school with » Former co-workers who supposedly love their current job » People you know who you think are highly paid and unlikely to move » Remember: When building a team, recruiting is the manager’s #1 job 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 6
  7. 7. Evaluating: Best people above all else Hadip » Quality, not quantity • Exceptional people, for all roles • A team of 10 passionate rock-stars will outperform a mediocre team of 20-30 » Talent > experience • Naturally, you want both • Experience can be learned, talent cannot • This is true esp for mgmt roles: only “A players” hire more As » Passion is important too • Passion = fuel, but you need to provide the spark OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  8. 8. Evaluating: The million-dollar decision Hadip » On the fence = no » Maybe hire = no » Yes with caveats = no » Gut-wrench = no » But the resume is impressive = no » Hire but not my team = no » It’s far better if team growth is painfully slow than to live with the alternative repercussions OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  9. 9. Evaluating: interview etiquette » Interrupting is key to successful interviewing • You are in control, not them; rambling answers can waste your entire evaluation • Start interview saying you will interrupt them regularly » When someone avoids an important question, ask it again • Good interviews have tense moments. » Know what you’re trying to learn before you go in • Have a scorecard in advance that spells out the job clearly (more on this later) • Have questions written in advance; always study the resume • Coordinate the topics amongst the interviewers » Make them perform • Code for engineers; design for PMs • How they sell and handle pressure for salespeople • Project management forOPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE TPMs 5 November 2013 9
  10. 10. Evaluating: Some questions are shortcuts (some that I have used, find your own) » Most analytically complex project you led » When people break work streams down and assign them to people, what types do you get and why; examples » Why are you interested in this job; what motivates you » Biggest failure on a project and what you learned » Favorite class in college » Hardest class in college » What percentile are you in your job at analysis, team, communication if I stack rank you against peers; if I print out your current perf review will it substantiate what you just said 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 10
  11. 11. Evaluating: interviewing sales people Bhorowitz Dick Harrison, CEO of Parametric Technologies, home of perhaps the greatest enterprise sales force ever built, interviewed Mark Cranney, the greatest sales manager I have ever met, as follows: Dick: “I’ll bet you got into a lot of fights when you were a youth didn’t you?” Mark: “Well yes, Dick, I did get into a few.” Dick: “Well, how’d you do?” Mark: “Well, I was about 35-1.” Dick: “Tell me about the 1.” Mark tells him the story, which Dick enjoys immensely. Dick: “Do you think you could kick my ass?” Mark pauses and asks himself: “Is Dick questioning my courage or my intelligence?” Then replies: “Could or would?” Dick hires Mark on the spot. Ask an engineer that same set of questions and at best she’d be confused and at worst she’d be horrified. By asking Mark those questions, Dick quickly found out: •If Mark had the courage to stay in the box and not get flustered •That Mark came from a rough environment and was plenty hungry •That Mark was super competitive, but smart enough to calculate his answer Hiring sales people is different. OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  12. 12. Evaluating: interviewing sales people » Have them sell you on a former (or current) company • Actually have them stand up with ppt or whatever they need • Act the role of a buyer (and don’t be a pain in the ass) » Always, always, always as for relative ranking on commission • Tell them that you will ask their references for this • Everyone says that they beat their quota. You want to know where they ranked » Pressure them in the moment • Challenge them on a weak spot: “You don’t know SaaS software sales. I don’t think this a great fit. Tell me why I should look past this weakness.” » Get them to share thought leadership they had in the past • Challenger salespeople are the best sales people » Get them to list off the highest access they were able to get by themselves • Sales people that need their VPs to moveDISTRIBUTE org don’t scale 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT up the 12
  13. 13. Evaluating: Dan on Engineers and PMs » Engineering: computer science, not syntax and technologies • Algorithms and problem decomposition (OOO, etc) is much harder than memorizing class libraries, formatting, and commenting discipline • Sample questions: – – – – – Remove duplicates from an array in < O(n2) time Past project where you personally decomposed the problem and how you did it Past project where you personally designed interfaces/abstraction layers Database design for a social network (e.g. Facebook) Describe memcache in as much detail as possible » Product management: design, features, market fit and development process • Don’t confuse project managers or product marketers with PMs – Project managers : Gantt charts, no novel thinking on features and product/market fit – Product marketers: not technical; talk about market trends not features to deliver against them • Sample questions: – Alarm clock for the blind – do the UI and the feature set – Favorite feature you created in the past and both why it was needed and why it was cool OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE – Past example of feature triage to hit a deadline; example of deadline you missed and why
  14. 14. Evaluating: How to create a scorecard Geoff_Smart 1. Mission: Why a role exists. 2. Experience profile: relevant past experience 3. Outcomes: What a person must accomplish to achieve an A in next two years. 4. Competencies: Personal behaviors needed to achieve the outcomes. 5. Ensure alignment and communicate 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 14
  15. 15. Evaluating: Sample scorecard » Mission • » Experience profile The mission for the VP of Engineering is to lead and grow a high performance engineering organization that delivers the software platform Opower needs to grow our business exponentially and profitably while delivering huge reductions in energy usage. » Outcomes • Leader: Lead team with a culture of victory and high performance. – Reintroduce startup mentality to engineering team and maintain it as we grow. – Recognition across rest of org as a great culture – Recognition within engineering org as a great culture – Every engineer clearly understands why their work matters – Every engineer knows which teams are performing best and why – The VP should be a member of the senior leadership team at the company, contributing to company-wide problem solving. • » • • • » Outcomes (cont.) • • • • Organized, planner Efficient Aggressive 5 November 2013 On-time Delivery: international, thermostats, social – – – – • 90% success rate of hitting commitments 50% increase in speed to market Make and deliver on commitments within an Agile environment Deliver under a two-coast and off-shore team environment Quality: Maintain product quality – No increase in bugs per product area – Industry reputation for high quality product • Design leadership: design platform for the future – Design platform so that twice in next two years we get a new feature set "for free" due to wise architecture. – Architecture: Cut feature cost by 75%; scale to 50M homes – Operations: reduce cost to launch and maintain clients by 75%. Hiring: Topgrade team and grow to 200+ within 2 year – Hire an A Player Director Engineering – Hire an A Player Director of SEiT – Hire three A Player Lead engineers Competencieswho is not an A player – Fire any engineer Led team of 50+ people Have been on a senior management team Experience with customer-facing software, ideally SaaS • • • • Evangelize: become most popular platform for 3rd party developers and technologists in energy industry Strong communicator • Good judgment Persistent • Curious and Creative Proactive • Good teammate OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 15
  16. 16. Interview day: divide and conquer » Design the day to empower the hiring manager to make the decision • Everyone is supporting the hiring manager, but they get to decide • Hiring manager always does the top grade • Less is more – ideal day is 4-6 people » Example of the SVP People interview day (too big): • • • • • • • Operational HR: Loewer (HR) Global vision for HR: Kramer (CFO) Culture and collaborative organization: Sachse (GC) Performance management: Kirsch (Sales) Learning and talent management: McPhee (Eng) Recruiting: Boulanger (Recruiting) Topgrading: Yates and Morris 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 16
  17. 17. Evaluating: The 2hr topgrading interview Geoff_Smart 1. What were you hired to do? 2. What accomplishments are you most proud of? 3. What were some low points during that job? 4. Who were the people you worked with? i. ii. What was your bosses’ name (how do you spell that). What was it like working with him/her? What will he/she tell me were your biggest strengths for improvement? How would you rate the team you inherited on an A, B, C scale? What changes did you make? Did you hire anybody? Fire anybody? How would you rate the team when you left it on an A, B, C scale? 5. Why did you leave that job? 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 17
  18. 18. Evaluating: Reference checks are more important than interviews! Hadip » 99% of references are positive » The right question to ask references: “is Joe a good candidate, or a great candidate?” • References won’t say “bad” even if that’s what they’re thinking • If they say “good” that means “bad” » The best ref-checks are those you find on your own • Example: cold-call the head of the division the candidate worked at 2 jobs ago. • Or ask the name of a boss or employee from a company that wasn’t in the initial list of references you got OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
  19. 19. Evaluating: Red flags = “No” Geoff_Smart » Candidate does not mention past failures » Exaggerates his or her answers » Takes credit for the work of others » Speaks poorly of past bosses » Cannot explain job moves » People most important to candidate are unsupportive of change » Seems more interested in compensation and benefits versus the job » Tries too hard to look like an expert » Candidate is self-absorbed » For managerial hires, candidate has never had to hire or fire anyone 5 November 2013 OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 19
  20. 20. Closing: Pick the right pitch and persist SF: "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?" DC: "Don’t be an idiot. Get on a rocket ship. When companies are growing quickly and they are having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves.” » You can compel people to move to DC » People will leave jobs they have just taken » People who say “no” at first can be turned around by having Dan or a management team member call » You can convince people to make lateral moves » Nobody is “too good” for your role; your selling needs work OPOWER CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE

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