Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Recruiting 101 (via Greg Brockman of Stripe)

by Scott Edward Walker on February 21st, 2013

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we share a favorite video of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present Greg Brockman, founding engineer at Stripe and a smart, young entrepreneur.

In this solid 20-minute clip (courtesy of First Round Capital), Greg discusses how Stripe has built one of Silicon Valley’s best engineering teams and provides the following nuggets for founders:

  • The only thing that has worked “really well” is referrals;
  • Inbound is easy to collect, but is “not very fruitful”;
  • Working with recruiters has been “spectacularly unsuccessful”;
  • When talking to a potential candidate via a referral, the key is to “start out casual” (e.g., IM, a cup of coffee, etc.);
  • If you’re going to recruit people you already know, you have to “play the long game”;
  • Think about recruiting the same way you think about marketing — i.e., get people really excited about your company;
  • “Be aware of subtle cultural signals”;
  • Your job is to prove to the candidate that he or she will be happy at your company;
  • The interview should be focused on distinguishing the good from the great;
  • Personal references are “incredibly high signal”;
  • Make the interview as similar to the role as possible (e.g, a hack project);
  • Apply the “Sunday Test” to each candidate: ask yourself, if this person were alone in the office on a Sunday, would that make you more likely to want to come in and work with them?  If the answer is not a “clear yes,” don’t hire them.
  • Trust your instincts – your initial instincts are usually right;
  • “Hire people, not roles” – hire great people as long as you “can see where they might fit.”
  • Recruiting is a “mindset” — “always be recruiting.”

I hope you enjoy it.  Cheers, Scott

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