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BoS2015 Patrick McKenzie, (@patio11) CEO, Starfighter - Hiring at Scale


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Patrick, Hacker News legend, blogger and CEO of Starfighter shares so many great ideas about hiring the best technical talent to your team you would never need to buy his services.

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BoS2015 Patrick McKenzie, (@patio11) CEO, Starfighter - Hiring at Scale

  1. 1. HIRING AT SCALE Patrick McKenzie (@patio11), Starfighter
  2. 2. Missed BoS 2014 Due To A Release Date
  3. 3. Difficulty Level: Matasano
  4. 4. Oh Wait This Spy Story Is Real
  5. 5. $125,487
  6. 6. a) What you pay a recruiter for one engineer b) Buys a lot of things from non-loathsome people $25,000
  7. 7. Hiring As A Funnel Outreach Attract Assess Close
  8. 8. 100 Geeks 100 10 6 1
  9. 9. General Principles  Track it, track it, track it.  Sustained effort from founders / engineering management.  Incorporate hiring into day-to-day life of company.  Play long ball.
  10. 10. Goal: increase number of qualified candidates who know your firm is an option Outreach
  11. 11. Basecamp: Strong Hiring Funnel
  12. 12. Use the events which already exist in your community. If they don’t exist, create them. Events
  13. 13. MakeLeaps Runs “Hacker News Tokyo”
  14. 14. How Every Dev Ends Their Talks  So that was fun.  Here are my slides: linky  By the way we’re hiring.
  15. 15. How Your Devs Should End Their Talks  Thanks! We’d love to talk to you more.  If you’d like to learn more about this, we have a lesson here: or send an email.  The thing I like most about working here is…  We’re hiring and I can jump you to the top of the queue, see me later.
  16. 16. Or, how to create the best candidates in the world for exactly your job. Cryptopals
  17. 17. Cryptopals Overview  Seven problem sets which teach cryptography, soup to nuts.  ~2 weeks of development time upfront.  Graded manually. Administered over email.  Grading/correspondence was 50% of one junior FTE… for hundreds of participants.  Problem set eight is “Want to work here? Let’s talk.”
  18. 18. Chapter 1 of 7
  19. 19. Holy Difficulty Curve Batman
  20. 20. Clone Cryptopals. It Will Work!  Pick an interesting part of your problem domain.  Teach it to interested folks. Start accessible, work upwards.  Don’t build any software.  Make it maximally easy to get started.  Don’t make it public. (Cannibalizes perceived value.)  Feed interesting folks into hiring funnel.  Don’t use this for assessment!
  21. 21. … But don’t do one. Seriously, that’s our job. CTFs: Very Valuable!
  22. 22. The Product As Friendcatcher
  23. 23. “Want To Pair With Us?”
  24. 24. In which developers guaranteed to be interested in your company line up and ask to be counted. OSS / API
  25. 25. Goal: Increase number of qualified candidates who apply for a job Attract
  26. 26. Send Them A Book: $25 + S&H
  27. 27. Reducing Cost Of Interaction With You  “Apply for a job” is a huge mental commitment.  “Come have lunch with the team on Thursday.” is not.  “Let’s grab coffee and talk shop.” is less of one.  You can upgrade any conversation into a job application.  Just say “Are you interested in working together?”  Always, always, always offer “If you X / since you Xed, we dispense with a bit of the formalities.”
  28. 28. Improve Copywriting For Job Ads  The job ads has one purpose. Is it:  To keep HR happy  To exhaustively list what requirements apply to the job  To detail in exquisite detail your 401k matching
  29. 29. Job Ad: Get Them To Talk To You
  30. 30. Dozens of Great Candidates, For Free This ad has voice, intrigue, and sells the desirability of asking for more details.
  31. 31. Goal: Increase number of desirable applicants you successfully identify from applicant pool Assess
  32. 32. How To Read a Resume
  33. 33. Work Sample Tests
  34. 34. How Effective Are They?
  35. 35. Developing One For Your Company  Create an in-house application which roughly represents day to day challenges  Knock out a representative feature which takes ~2 hours to implement  Package in a Vagrant VM  Give it to the candidate
  36. 36. Evaluating The Tests  Written rubric followed slavishly  “Did the candidate unit test the $FOO case?”  “Did the candidate unit test the $FOO case (failing) ?”  Capture as much granular signal as possible  Test grader != hiring manager for the candidate  Forces your “internal test API” to be better  Refine the test over time as you find what outcomes predict your best actual employees.
  37. 37. Sell The Job, Even If You Don’t Give Offer
  38. 38. Goal: Increase rate at which offers convert to employees Close
  39. 39. Quick Tips To Raise Your Hit Rate  Communicate status with the spirit of Steli.  Ridiculous leverage in a designed offer letter and/or customized presentation to candidate.  Have rational expectations about market rate.  Can’t afford market? Train more or expand risk profile.  Ask candidates who took other jobs what attracted them to the other position.
  40. 40. Treat All Candidates Like Peers
  41. 41. Thanks! I Like Hearing From People   I love hearing from people in software, at any time, for any reason. You cannot waste my time.  Talk to me about hiring.  I’ll probably have beta invites in ~3 weeks – feel free to email me for them.