Letting go of individuals when they reject your job offer

Brett Huff

Former Head of Engineering at BillionToOne



Atlassian's acquisition of Trello had a huge impact on hiring. New hires had to receive an offer from Atlassian and accept it, even if they had already accepted a Trello offer. A very good engineer had said yes to a job offer from Trello in December, but couldn't start before January, when the acquisition was announced, so was given an offer by Atlassian, but he rejected it.

Actions taken

I managed to get him on the phone to make sure he was not upset with Trello or Atlassian. He claimed he was looking for more impact, which was easier in a smaller company, and also for more equity (startup equity has more potential). We had a good chat, and it seemed that others were trying to get hire him, with offers of higher salaries and better terms.

Lessons learned

Hiring is tough and extremely competitive. But you should draw a line about what you are willing to do. You cannot build a company off superstars, you must build a company off of a team. If you rely on superstars, then the loss of a superstar can destroy your company, but great teams are just as effective and more resilient. The more you are willing to make special exceptions, the more you set a precedent of favoritism and change everyone's expectations. You need to learn to let go of individuals when they have decided not to accept your best reasonable offer, as it's the best for the team.

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Brett Huff

Former Head of Engineering at BillionToOne

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