Bursts of Color

By Geoff Donaker

Bursts of Color - What's Your Hiring Angle?





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Bursts of Color - What's Your Hiring Angle?
By Geoff Donaker • Issue #51 • View online
The other day Molly Graham, COO of Lambda School, posted:
Y'all. Just fyi, everyone in the WORLD wants to hire engineers with 2+ years of experience and a CS degree from the top 10 schools. 
Guess what? Those engineers are f*ing expensive (good for them). 
What if… instead of trying to compete for the same engineers, you focused on getting **really really good* at onboarding new grad engineers? 
What if those new grad engineers didn’t have to come from the top 10 CS programs?? 
Imagine what a competitive advantage that would be.

Hilarious Because It’s True
Most hiring managers know better, but we run into the same buzz saw time and again…
  • Need engineers? Yes, MIT grads from Facebook please.
  • Salespeople? Top performers from Salesforce or Yelp only.
  • Biz Dev or Ops? Sure, as long as they’re HBS + McKinsey.
Yikes! The result is that we’re picking over the same tiny candidate pools, which in turn slows hiring cycles to a crawl. It’s also a losing strategy for all but the most blue-chip, deep-pocketed employers like Google and Apple.
We All Need a Hiring Angle
Most companies can find their first 10 or 20 employees by hiring friends of friends. After that, it sure helps to have an approach and candidate pipeline that’s differentiated in some way. This usually includes trying to focus on some dimension where you can win like:
  • Geography: e.g., Indianapolis, Warsaw, Mexico City
  • Schools & Programs: e.g., UNM, Santa Clara, Whitman
  • Affinity Groups: e.g., military, athletics, etc
  • Users: some of eBay and Yelp’s top talent were users first
  • Remote-First: Used to be differentiated; less now
Training Can Be Its Own Angle
Per Molly’s post above, we can also choose to invest in training… and thus widen our hiring pipeline proportionately. In some cases, teaching someone a whole new skillset (1-3 months for many roles in my experience) is actually much faster than hiring & onboarding the pedigreed candidate (3-6 month benchmark). The person we invest in may also stick around longer. 😉
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Geoff Donaker

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