Hiring Tips

Because you may have a long list of candidates, you should batch calls as often as possible. For example, set aside 15 minute segments in a 3 hour block daily. In a first-pass, I always ask:

  1. “Walk me through your resume”, to understand if the candidate is actually interested in a startup via a clear story, or just shotgunning their resume;
  2. “If you left a

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Stay Interviews

There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking to leave: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc.  One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.”  Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could … [ Read more ]

Salary Bands

As you think about building out a team, you’ll want market data to ensure you’re making hires within the right salary bands. It’s much easier to have a conversation with a candidate when you have market data vs. what you’ve just heard from your peers. Creating salary bands with multiple seniority or experience levels early on will help navigate tricky internal equity discussions down the … [ Read more ]

A Compensation Philosophy

Why is it so important to have a philosophy around compensation early on? As a company is growing and establishing its culture and values, it needs to make sure that its compensation philosophy is aligned with the company’s overall mission and values. For example, a company that identifies with “transparency” as a value, needs to make sure that its compensations practices are transparent. Anyone involved … [ Read more ]

External Talent Needs Management, Too

The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]

Have Senior Management Work in Customer Service at Least One Day a Year

Kaizen and the whole process of continuous improvement was, and continues to be, a powerful tool at Amazon. That’s partly because for a long time Jeff Bezos has had all of senior management work in customer service at least one day a year. This allowed executives to see events on the front line, to understand the problems that came up, and to help find solutions. … [ Read more ]

Analyze Your Firm’s Jobs and Activities

McKinsey has been investigating the future impact of automation on the workplace. The firm structures its analysis around roughly 2,000 individual work activities and assesses the requirements for each of these activities against 18 different capabilities (see below) that potentially could be automated. Analyzing your own firm’s jobs and activities with a similar framework would not only help plan for future disruptions, but also could … [ Read more ]

Apply Principles of Customer Experience Design to HR Practices

Applying customer experience strategy to employee experience begins with needs-based segmentation, grouping employees into clusters based on their wants and needs.  Most companies organize employees in standard groupings like job title, rank, department, business unit, or geography. But just as customer experience design requires a more nuanced understanding of customers than simple demographics or economic value, employee experience design should be based on employees’ drivers … [ Read more ]

Make Job Descriptions More Inclusive

You can attract more diverse applicants if you avoid using male pronouns and stereotypically masculine words or attributes when outlining desired qualifications. Tools like Textio can help identify if language in job descriptions is potentially disqualifying.

Nurture Your Talent Pool With Drip Email Marketing

Most of the time we can only hire one person for a position. That means we may have to turn down some really talented people. Don’t let the work you did finding that talent go to waste. They can become a stable of potential employees ready to fill your next position.

One easy way to make this work is through drip email marketing. Once you’ve made … [ Read more ]

Assign New Employees an Early Win

Consider giving new recruits a small project they can accomplish during their first month on the job. Have them all spend five minutes presenting whatever it is they did at the next All Hands following their first day. It’s an opportunity to make immediate impact and introduce themselves to everyone in a positive light. It’ll also build camaraderie between folks who started within the same … [ Read more ]

Test Drive New Employees

Not sure if an employee can “hack” the startup environment? Try freelancing first or do what companies like Automattic do – figure it out by having potential employees do real (paid) tasks with the team before making it official.

Reverse Mentoring: Putting Personal Advantage to Collective Good Use

To address inequality of opportunity, we need to acknowledge and address the systemic advantages and disadvantages that people experience daily. For leaders, recognizing their advantage blindness can help to reduce the impact of bias and create a more level playing field for everyone. Being advantaged through race and gender come with a responsibility to do something about changing a system that unfairly disadvantages others.

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Use … [ Read more ]

Hire to Train

Here’s the good news: The new, bigger role of learning allows you to save money in hiring. When I launched my first company in 2008, one of my first hires was a CTO. I chose an experienced developer who was in huge demand and was an expensive hire.

I also hired an entry-level employee who demonstrated enormous potential and ambition, although he had only rudimentary development … [ Read more ]

Identifying the Ideal Employee

Claire Hughes Johnson, COO of Stripe, occasionally finds it helpful to plot members of the team on a Venn Diagram with three circles: People who are good at their work, people who are making great impact, and people who love what they do. The ideal employee fits into all three circles. Make a list of all the people who fall into this bucket. What other … [ Read more ]

Improve Your Hiring Process

In hiring, what most leaders do is they have a set of criteria, they evaluate a bunch of candidates through interviews and resumes and other information available, and then they make decisions based on their gut. You could actually turn that process into a much more scientific approach, where you lose none of your experience but you add a lot of data.

The way I would … [ Read more ]

Entry Interviews

Too often, managers don’t know enough about what work people enjoy. It spills out in exit interviews — a standard practice in every HR department to find out why talented people are leaving and what would have convinced them to stick around. But why wait until they’re on their way out the door? Instead, use entry interviews. In the first week on the job, managers … [ Read more ]

Open Salaries

Buffer has taken transparency to an extreme. The social-media management tool firm has adopted what it calls an “open salaries” system, publishing all of its salaries, as well as the standardized formulas with which those salaries were calculated: Salary = job type x seniority x experience + location. In other words, a salary is determined by a base pay based upon job type; plus, a … [ Read more ]

Listen to the New Hire’s “Outsider” Ideas

One important milestone during the first six months is to get your new hire’s perspective on your operation. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but getting information from someone less experienced can be annoying. They have all these ideas and they question everything: why you do what you do and why you do it the way you do it. So we fight it … [ Read more ]

Improve Your Interviewing Process

NerdWallet gives candidates the following materials to make their experience before and after company onsites better:

  • An interview day outline. NerdWallet sends every candidate an outline detailing their day at the office 48-hours before they arrive. It includes: the names and roles of the team members with whom they’ll meet, interview times and duration, and any activities they will be participating in throughout the day. The

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