How We Hire at Administrate (Hiring Tips for Startups)

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This is how we hire at Administrate and was originally presented as a brief talk at the Edinburgh CodeBase educational series for Startup Founders and Chiefs. Feel free to learn from our mistakes and see how we hire!

Transcript of How We Hire at Administrate (Hiring Tips for Startups)

  • How We Hire Administrate
  • First, Some Assumptions People and Teamwork are the most important part of our business. Our values drive our company, therefore they drive our hiring processes. These thoughts are based on our experiences hiring more than 150 candidates over the last 10 years, across a mix of companies.
  • Three Ways to Recruit Buy, Steal, Grow Right now, we grow.
  • Hiring Prerequisites Team structure (aka an Org Chart) this is the meat space API of your company! Job DescripHon that includes: Day to day responsibilities (A day in the life of) Success factors Interfaces to other people, teams, etc. Company Values Time set aside to hire (1-2 hours per day) Youve read Peopleware and watched Office Space Company handbook and employment contract.
  • Dont have these prerequisites? Dont hire. Period.
  • Our Interview Process 1. Hiring manager works the job themselves for a minimum of 30 days (if its a new position, or if theyve never managed it before themselves). 2. Refine the job description and success factors, using whats been learned from Step 1. 3. Interview 1. Review blinded CVs (remove name and university whenever possible) 2. Phone screen first (code test with screen sharing for devs) and have the money discussion. 3. In-Person interview with hiring manager (candidate meets team, sees environment) 4. 2nd round interview (including team-mate) 5. 3rd round interview if cross team functionality, senior role, or if we have a lot of great candidates. 4. Verbal offer and acceptance. 5. Email offer and acceptance. 6. Official offer letter and acceptance. 7. Send contract over in advance to review. 8. Arrive and sign contract.
  • About Our Process 1. Candidates can (and often do) bomb out within 5-10 minutes on the phone screen. Thats OK. We just politely say were not for each other and stop wasting everyones time. 2. We respond to ever single CV sent in. Always. 3. The first window into a company is the hiring process. Dont be late. Dont reschedule interviews. Respect the candidates and the process. 4. We try to blind things as much as possible to remove any potential for subconscious (or overt) bias, racism, or discrimination. The phone screen serves to remove appearance as a bias point too.
  • About Our Process (continued) 1. We sort the money question early, as it can be a deal breaker. We are transparent about our pay range and dont play games. We communicate the pay scale first. 2. We dont outsource critical components of our product or support, so we dont outsource our hiring. 3. We apply our values test during the interviews. If a candidate is unreliable, thats a values problem for us, and we take it into account.
  • ProTips Figure out a way or a question that can help you test each of your corporate values. We strongly value reliability, so were testing this with every email and interview interaction. Trust your gut, but get a second opinion. Every company has a few insanely valuable people with nontraditional credentials. Make sure any process you put in place wouldnt preclude you from hiring that person again. If you dress casually, warn the person in advance they dont need to dress up! Be prepared to let your interview time run long if necessary.
  • Important Things Weve Learned 1. Transparency really matters. Almost no question is out of bounds. Why are you hiding something? 2. First week and first impressions are key make sure EVERYTHING is sorted prior to candidate arrival. 3. We actively attempt to discourage candidates from coming on board by contrasting how were different from other companies. 4. We anchor expectations (usually with a small salary adjustment) around the 90 day probation period. 5. During high growth periods, employee referrals are key. 6. The CEO must be personally involved in the first 150 hires.
  • REALLY Important Things Weve Learned 1. Youre changing someones life. This a truly important decision. Treat it like one. 2. Approach all HR decisions with empathy and using the Golden Rule. 3. The best way to create a political company culture is to not provide a transparent compensation path. 4. Culture fit is really important. Theres no fixing poor culture fit. 5. More employees, more problems.
  • REALLY Important Things Weve Learned (continued) 1. Educate, educate, educate. In all areas (technical, interpersonal, financial, etc.) 2. Change titles and give senior titles slowly. 3. A startup is stressful. Weve long understood that lots of life changes shouldnt be made together, so we want to make sure if theres going to be lots of change in their life, we talk about how well both work to manage it.
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT THING Employees are #1. Act like it.
  • Frequently Asked Questions Q: This sounds really complicated. You guys are obviously a huge company. What about for small startups? A: We only have 13 employees. Weve used this process from the beginning. You can (and should) too. Q: What if I cant afford to do X? A: Then you cant afford to hire people. Q: I dont like HR. Cant I just ignore this? A: We dont like it either, but its part of being a company. Do it well and nobody will notice it. Do it poorly and itll destroy you. Q: How did you learn all of this? A: We made a lot of mistakes. Learn from us!
  • Questions? Comments? Feel free to get in touch!