Implementing a Scalable Hiring Process
15 May, 2020
After finding product/market fit and getting a decent financing round, the mandate is usually to grow the engineering team to be able to do more. Every location has challenges, including remote hiring. It's an employer's market: more demand than supply of great talent. Growing a team well is hard, and the challenge is to keep raising the bar because complexity keeps growing. A players will know how to hire A players, but B players will hire C players, who'll hire D players. A clear, measurable, and sustainable hiring process is key to mitigate that, and continuously improve both people and the process itself.
Be clear on the skill sets (both soft and hard) you're looking for. Make diversity a major part of the mix. Have a broad upper funnel by design since you want to ensure access to all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds.
Shift from job descriptions to impact descriptions. You're selling, not buying -- be clear about that. People have options and want to understand what's in it for them, how they can make a difference and what growth potential they have being in y our team. Give them a sense of the tech stack (which is of particular importance to individual contributors).
Define standard scorecards for test case reviews and interviews. It removes bias, helps guide interviewers during both interviews and debriefs. As you learn, you can evolve the contents, in order to get a better signal on what you're looking for.
Use systems thinking to define clear funnel stages. Optimize for flow, and find the trade-off between depth and end-to-end speed that makes sense for you. You want to properly assess the candidate, but you don't want it to take forever, or the candidate will just go elsewhere. Getting lots of signals very quickly is the goal.
Leverage your ATS to measure flow. Don't get caught up in all the vanity metrics. Conversion rates, and time spent in each stage is probably enough. Review regularly with HR to fine-tune the process and communicate this data out to the engineering team to reinforce how this is a key part of the culture.
It's not an HR problem and it's not an Engineering problem. It's both, and it’s an opportunity to break down org silos. It's also important to continuously liaise with Product because you don't want 50 engineers for 3 product managers, for example.
Optimizing for candidate experience generates good will and good word-of-mouth. It pays off down the line. It's a long-term investment with both short and long term upside.
If the goal is to significantly grow the team, you must make hiring activities part of the culture. Set clear expectations: growing the team properly is as important as building the product. Great people build great products. Otherwise, you'll burn out the few who are drowning in interviews and test case reviews.
It's critical to make sure you're not just growing for the sake of growing. If you're a tech exec, you must keep an eye on revenue per head.
Paulo André, VP of Engineering at TourRadar, discusses different aspects of a scalable hiring process.
VP Engineering at TourRadar
Vijay Gill, SVP Engineering at Databricks, shares some tips on how to improve diversity by attracting more diverse talent and ensuring they stay in the organization.
SVP Engineering at Databricks
Matt Nemenman, Director of Engineering at Lyft, shares his story about how he dealt with being short a manager on his team and how he had to shift his team organization to solve the problem. His story demonstrates that when things go wrong the best approach, sometimes, is to start from scratch.
Director of Engineering at Lyft
Veronika Fleisher, Director of Engineering at BitSight, explains how her company implemented a clear promotion process and structured feedback meetings.
Director of Engineering at BitSight
Janssen Choong, Partner at Horizon Connect, highlights the importance of the right hiring strategy when your startup scales rapidly.
Partner at Horizon Connect
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