Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

Overcoming Hiring Constraints

Goal Setting
Remote
Company Culture
Hiring

25 October, 2021

Mustafa Furniturewala
Mustafa Furniturewala

VP Of Engineering at Coursera

Mustafa Furinturewala, VP of Engineering at Coursera, speaks on overcoming the constraints of hiring in the Bay Area by opening a Toronto office and emphasizing the importance of local recruiters, brand awareness, and team culture.

Problem

Early this year, we struggled to meet our hiring goals as we focused on finding talent within the Bay Area. Our company was expanding, and we faced the challenge of not finding potential candidates fit for positions available within our company. We were looking to scale our organization with diverse individuals while meeting our hiring goals, something we couldn't find by only looking within the Bay Area. The problems arose when faced with a scarcity of talent combined with fierce competition.

Actions taken

Our company took three significant measures to overcome hiring constraints and meet our hiring goals. First, we devoted our time to researching different target locations where we would open our new office. We created specific goals related to our needs and focused on the regions with the highest talent. We required all candidates to reside in the North American time zone and speak English fluently, so there would be no hiccups during cross-team work. We searched for areas that had a midground between skilled talent and low competition. Once we had compiled this data, we spent time analyzing it, finding the exact skillsets we were looking for in prospective employees and where to find them.

The second step we took was conducting surveys. I focused on two specific targets during this process: industry professionals who had experience in the remote hiring process and internal employees striving for upward growth. I interviewed 20 experts in their field who surmounted the challenges of creating a remote office. I asked for their insights for success and compiled a list of many suggestions I would have otherwise not considered.

On the other hand, the internal survey focused on those interested in moving with the company. Whether a lateral shift or upward progression, I discussed opportunities and changes available with my primary team before onboarding new members.

The final measure we took was creating a cross-functional team or hiring board, strictly focused on employing new members. This team represented different functions within our company, from Finance to HR. Each function was present within this board, which was necessary for potential employees to establish a sense of our company's culture.

As we put these initiatives in place, I thought we would begin seeing rapid advances. However, this was not the case; growth was slow within the first two weeks until we hired seasoned, local recruiters. After hiring them, I realized what had been missing. Qualified recruiters know where to seek the best active and passive candidates for a position. I found that some of the best applicants for the roles weren't actively seeking new employment and therefore were not looking at our opportunities. We began pushing our brand using prior market research during the two-week lull of talent hunting. We held happy hour hiring events and promoted our company on TikTok in the hopes of catching the attention of prospective employees.

At the headquarters, I pushed something I dubbed "initial team culture." This idea was based on the premise that new employees would embody qualities that current employees displayed. We were lucky that our original employees were high-performing individuals idealizing strong dedication to the work at our company. The "initial team culture" mainly benefited employees after they were hired, allowing them to visualize the values of our organization.

Lessons learned

  • Don't be afraid to allocate resources to a professional local recruiter. A recruiter understands how to use and leverage their network to find the ideal applicant and persuade them to take the job. I believe that hiring local recruiters was the critical step in accelerating the hiring process.
  • Understand the qualities your company is looking for in prospective employees before conducting interviews or producing job listings. Taking the time to research specific areas and critical values will expedite the hiring process.
  • Brand awareness equates to possibility. When we decided to start creating hiring events, our job applications blew up. The remote professional world is growing, and any hiring board should invest in marketing strategies to target their potential talent.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Preparing Your Team for the Remote Workplace

29 November

Vadim Antonov, Engineering Manager at Meta, dictates how he brought a brand new team into the remote learning process by ramping up onboarding and creating a mentor system.

Alignment
Remote
Internal Communication
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Data Team
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Vadim Antonov

Vadim Antonov

Engineering Manager at Facebook

How to Strengthen Your Team Pitch

29 November

Vadim Antonov, Engineering Manager at Meta, details his journey to improve his personal hiring process and team pitch.

Alignment
Personal Growth
Hiring
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Changing Company
Vadim Antonov

Vadim Antonov

Engineering Manager at Facebook

Improving Team Execution in a Remote Environment

29 November

Vadim Antonov, Engineering Manager at Meta, details his process of implementing an organized execution system for his cross-functional team.

Alignment
Remote
Leadership
Delegate
Feedback
Vadim Antonov

Vadim Antonov

Engineering Manager at Facebook

Demystifying the Cult of the Founding Engineer: Talking to Customers and Discovering “Hidden” Talent

23 November

Albert Lie, former Founding Engineer and Tech Lead at Xendit, didn’t know what it takes to become an early engineering hire and not a lot of people around him experienced this unknown and arcane path. He had to learn it the hard way from the pitfalls he encountered along the way and he has been creating numerous frameworks to measure his growth and keep burgeoning in this role since then. He codifies and expresses the systems he put in place surrounding the balance of customer inquiry to product building and growing the engineering team.

Alignment
Meetings
Feedback
Hiring
Prioritization
Albert Lie

Albert Lie

Former Tech Lead at Xendit

One-On-Ones for Engaging Employees: How Good Managers Run Them

11 November

Matt Anger, Senior Staff Engineer at DoorDash, shares some of the benefits of having one-on-one meetings and tips on how both parties should run them.

Goal Setting
Leadership
Meetings
Feedback
Matt Anger

Matt Anger

Senior Staff Engineer at DoorDash

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.