Mashable’s new video series, Behind the Launch, follows Vungle on its startup journey toward a June launch. Each week on Mashable, the Vungle team will offer our readers some tips and lessons learned from their own startup experience. This week, we met Vungle, and it brought on “a closer” to try and accelerate the company’s development, so co-founder Jack Smith offers a few recruitment tips. Watch the episode above, and be sure to tune in to Behind the Launch every Monday and Wednesday.
Hiring, especially in Silicon Valley, can be one of the toughest challenges of running a startup, as there’s so much competition — especially for engineers. When trying to run a lean startup, the prospect of spending 20% or more of a hire’s salary on recruiter fees is not exactly appealing. But recruiters aren’t your only option for hiring. There are lots of ways to hustle your hiring on the cheap — here are five tips.
1. Have a Structured Recruitment Process
It’s good practice to come up with a structured recruitment process, which you can evolve over time and bypass only for exceptional candidates. Having every candidate go through the same process means that you will have a level playing field on which to evaluate them; we’ve often found that when we’ve skipped our interview process for a candidate, there are glaring issues down the line that we hadn’t picked up on. Here’s a good step-by-step outline.
- Review the profile of candidates coming through and arrange a short call with the ones of interest.
- Keep the initial call to 15 minutes and mainly focus on assessing cultural fit to figure out if you’d get on working with this person. This is also an opportunity to “sell” your startup to the candidate and get them excited about what you’re working on. If the candidate is a cultural fit, then reach out to arrange a follow-up call for him to speak to one of your engineers.
- The follow-up call with an engineer will last roughly 15 to 30 minutes and center on getting a high level assessment of the candidate’s technical knowledge. During the call, they will agree on a time when the candidate would be free to spend roughly 30 minutes completing a technical interview question.
- Using tools such as Boomerang for Gmail or RightInbox, you can schedule to send a technical engineering question exactly at the time agreed upon with the candidate. At that point, you’ll be able to assess how fast he can problem-solve and how complete an answer they send back. For consistency, send all candidates the same technical question. A good place to look for inspiration for these engineering questions is university courses. If the candidate does well in the engineering interview, then invite them to your office for an onsite interview.
- When the candidate comes onsite, introduce him to the whole team, then have him work with different engineers through a series of engineering questions. Then give the candidate an opportunity to hang out with the rest of the team, perhaps over lunch. Review candidates based on this onsite interview.
2. Keep on Top of Your Hiring Pipeline
It’s no use having a structured interview process if you can’t keep track of what stage of the process each of your candidates is at. PipeDrive is a great way to manage various candidates and keep track of their recruitment process, but you could just as easily use Excel or Google Docs.
3. Utilize Different Tools To Get the Right Amount of Candidates
It’s important to balance quality with quantity when reviewing potential candidates. I would recommend setting the bar high at the CV review stage to avoid wasting time on calls with average people. LinkedIn stands out as a great tool to identify potential candidates, but there are a few other websites that are useful for identifying a larger number of top candidates, including:
4. Don’t Forget to “Sell” Your Startup
It’s easy to forget that an interview actually works both ways — the candidate is assessing your startup as a place to work. Show your passion for your startup, outline the challenges that you face (top candidates like to be challenged) and invest time in building a team dynamic. Company culture is important, both in the recruiting process and for employee happiness, so go on team hikes, go out drinking together and tell candidates about the sort of activities that you do as a team.
5. Don’t Stop at the Job Offer
When you find someone that you want to hire, don’t expect him to join just because you made an offer. There’s so much competition for hires, and highly coveted people often have several options. It’s likely that candidates won’t make a decision of where to join based solely on the terms of the offer. It will likely come down to a few factors, such as how much he believes in your vision.
Therefore, your work shouldn’t stop at the job offer stage. You should continue to work to convince the candidate that your company is the one he should join. If you have investors, you should ask them to take calls with candidates, to explain why they invested in you. You can also consider starting the person as a contract-to-hire, where possible — you’d pay the person as a contractor at the beginning, until he’s ready to make a decision. Lastly, ask any mutual connections that you might have with the candidate to ‘backchannel’ them to hype up how great your company is.
What are your tips for hiring? Let us know in the comments below.
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