How Coursera Competes with Google and Facebook for Best Talents (Part 1)

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John ciancutti
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When John Chankuti ( the John Ciancutti ) joined Netflix in 1999, the service team consisted of four engineers. A couple of years later, he became a technical manager, than before, of course, he never worked. With a new position came new responsibilities - hiring new technical staff. It's hard to imagine, but at that time Netflix was a small nameless company. John had to figure out how to attract world-class professionals. By 2012, he became vice president and hired hundreds of engineers to build a successful company.

Since then, he has improved the Facebook recruitment formula and now works at Coursera as the Chief Engineer (CPO, Chief Product Officer).

At Coursera, he performs a variety of tasks, including development and analytics. In all three companies, he not only engaged in hiring, but also taught dozens of other managers to perform similar tasks. Today, he is faced with the same problem of hiring promising employees that he solved at Netflix. And this is not just competition with the huge size of compensation packages and well-functioning Google and Facebook recruiting machines. Despite this, in less than two years, John managed to grow the Coursera engineering arsenal from 25 to more than 80 employees.

Thanks to his experience, he developed hiring tactics for staffing personnel. At a recent CTO Summit conferenceHe shared his principles for successfully hiring the desired candidates, and I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the first part of the translation, which tells about this article.

One of the most important things you need to think about before you begin is the end of the conversation - the most important phase of the interview with each candidate. As a hiring manager, you are the most important factor influencing the decision of candidates. If they do not consider you a significant figure, then there is absolutely no difference how they relate to your company. They will not become your employees. Processing each candidate will help you gain the necessary experience.

Some people find that the hiring process is similar to the relationship building process. All applicants will evaluate each interaction with you, your team and company. Only a hiring manager can establish an ongoing trust. It is necessary not only to wish to hire an employee, but to read the motives of the applicant. All candidates come for interviews for various reasons. It’s not your task to sell, your task is to be a “match organizer” of a kind of “pimp”. You know what makes a company great and people who are successful in it. It is necessary to present the search for each candidate as a search for an outstanding match. A similar approach will help make the best choice.

Phase One: Sources

Even if the company has recruiters, their role is always secondary. Engineering staff should be in a permanent search for candidates for their teams. Need your own recruiting process. In this case, the recruiting network will have the required strength. Circumstances change people, and a previously unsuitable job seeker may be fine at the moment. Each newly hired employee only expands your network and at your disposal is an inexhaustible source of talent.

Proximity to the source adds sensitivity to such a system. Hippos such as Facebook scatter a huge network built on the basis of their own employees. A startup needs surgical accuracy. The approach will not work here: “Oh, Google has great engineers, and I'm going to lure someone out of there!” Be more thoughtful about your job requirements.
What skills are required?
Which companies can serve as examples of such skills?
Who is better?
In the end, the list will not be exactly as you imagined it at first.

It is not regrettable, but the upper part of the “recruiting funnel” implies a maximum of contacts. It should not be forgotten that most engineers are introverted by nature. There is nothing you can do about it, you need to take it for granted. The mental warehouse of the introvert is characterized by focus on his inner world, isolation, contemplation. The introvert is not inclined to communicate and has difficulty establishing contacts with the outside world. In this regard, the primary contact should be initiated by a recruiter. Send out mail. Chat at public events.

The more often a recruiter has to talk with people, the faster he will have the experience necessary for such work. True, all this does not matter if the recruiter cannot attract people's attention.

Typically, recruiters do not do this, but one way to attract attention is to contrast yourself and the “big guys”. There is nowhere without personal contact and concreteness. Let me know that you are interested in the person you are talking to.

When hiring workers for a startup, it is required to take the fact that the company is unknown. Instead of clarification, it would be worth emphasizing the common points of the future candidate and company. Maybe you used to work in the same company, mention this. You may be familiar with the members of the current candidate team. It must be emphasized that you are a real person, specifically interested in this particular person. Briefly tell about yourself and the company. To connect the current job of the candidate with the vacancy, some effort is required.

To create the desired association, try to gently recommend specific actions: “This is the next step that you can climb. Do you want to go up a notch? ”

Start with something simple. “Listen, let's talk. You can phone or drink coffee. ” Most often, they start with a phone call, no one chooses coffee first, and that's fine.

An example of John Chankuchi:

Success is the response to a message. Even if nothing happens in the end, there will be some experience and the opportunity to expand the recruiting network. The candidate may refuse due to the fact that the current situation completely suits him, but nevertheless, he can recommend someone else. In fact, what you really don't need is silence. It is necessary to carefully monitor the reaction rate. If there is no response, you need to rebuild and try a different approach.

If a candidate agrees to a meeting, the time comes for a thorough selection. At this point, it is perfectly normal to doubt the applicant’s suitability. Although you should not make the most stringent requirements. You should just have a chat. The purpose of the selection is to understand the motives of the candidate. The conversation usually begins with a brief introduction, including thesis information about the recruiter and the company. The ideal would be a prepared pitch, the main advantage of which would be its brevity.

When a candidate speaks about himself, you can get a lot of additional information from seemingly simple questions.
Why are you wasting time talking with me?
What do you like about the company now?
What good is the job offer?
Here it is necessary to pay attention not only to the content of the speeches, but also to the emotional context, therefore the place chosen for the conversation is very important. If the applicant does not feel at ease, something is unlikely to work out for you.

At the end of the call you should have answers to the following questions:

What and why is the interlocutor working at the moment?
What influence does the company have?
Why was chosen to work on this project?
A suitable candidate always owns the entire content of the project. If the conversation is about the current project, the interlocutor should be able to answer any question on it. Otherwise, this is already a bell, indicating an insufficient involvement of the employee in the work of the company. When the applicant does not meet the requirements, it is best to limit yourself to a phone call. Honesty and the ability to explain the reasoning that is guided by failure will save time and nerves.

If the candidate is suitable, proceed with lightning speed to the next step. You need to be very fast. Speed ​​is another advantage over the big guys. They are slow, because in a large company, such a process requires the participation of many people. In most cases, speed will be your most powerful weapon. So, a successful call entails a coffee event, which is recommended to be appointed the next day.

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