how to hire a real hacker?

how to hire a real hacker?

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  • User 2023-12-19 17:35:20

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This article comes from Iris Shoor, co-founder of startup Takipi and VisualTao. Iris Shoor shared with us some practices of recruiting star hackers in this article. After reading it, you will find that recruiting star hackers is actually an art to win people's hearts, and Iris Shoor really made some efforts when recruiting them.




You can call them hackers, ninjas, or rock stars. In addition to being awesome programmers, these people have a common attribute-it is really difficult to recruit them into the company. It was not easy to compete with other companies on the same stage. If your startup company is still unknown, it will be even more difficult. Yes, you may become the future Google, Facebook or Instagram, but before that, how can you persuade a hacker to join the company when your CEO is still working at the "IKEA" desk?


Here's a way-recruit like a startup, recruit in a creative and flexible way, and do something that big companies can't do.

In the past five years, I interviewed more than 250 candidates and successfully recruited dozens of outstanding engineers to join the company. Although the initial interview was conducted in the kitchen of our office, we managed to persuade some of the best candidates to join us. There is no magic in it, but there are some tips and methods to share:


Before the interview: You are a startup company, so the founder should establish the first contact.

In fact, we lost some potential candidates before we officially started recruiting-we couldn't get them to attend the first interview. Some of these people should have met many companies, while others decided that we were not their type after seeing our official website. However, there is still room for this issue. Our co-founders (including myself) are responsible for sending the first email to potential candidates, and even if the company grows and develops later, we have maintained this habit. At first, I was worried that the candidates would think that we were idle (I'm sorry, this is not the case), but it was soon discovered that when the candidate received a personal email with praise (which is very important if this person is a star programmer), he would feel that employees are paramount in this company.


On how to write this email, here are some points for reference:


* Link to your own personal homepage (personal blog, interview about you, video, etc.) when introducing yourself. Once candidates can see a face behind the email, they are more likely to give a positive reply.


* Add a little personal relationship. Did any of your employees go to the same school as him? If so, bring it up; Did anyone grow up in the same town as him? If there is, write it in. It doesn't sound important, but it can create enough temptation to attract these people for an interview.




Interview: It's not only about this position, but also about who this person is going to have lunch with.

Although we tend to tell the candidate about the job occupation, the management of the company and the whole company in detail during the interview, we often miss a part about what kind of people the candidate will work with in the future. When I ask others why they chose job A between job A and job B, one of the most common answers I get is: because of the people who work with them. So you need to let the candidates know who will sit next to them and who will share some cold jokes with them.


* When the candidate comes for an interview, we will let him meet at least one future colleague. If the candidate asks a good technical question during the interview, don't rush to answer it yourself and let his future colleagues answer it. Be good at digging up the common ground between candidates and existing colleagues (both like skydiving? All grew up in Ohio? Have a hand in ASCII code? ) and then let them know each other. We didn't arrange this in advance, but it would be a success if there was an opportunity for the candidate to talk to other colleagues in the office after the interview.


* Don't interview early or late in the day, and don't interview when the office is empty. If the candidate can only come for an interview at 8:00 am, you should also make sure that someone arrives at the office early. Because, you need to show the candidate a comprehensive picture and tell him what it's like to work here.



You don't need a gorgeous office to make a good impression-details often determine success or failure. Our entrance is pasted with the code, and our custom coasters are made in the shape of disks.


During the interview: Choose carefully which points you want to promote the company.

Joining a startup company does have its advantages-it can make people meet new technical challenges, climb up faster, get in touch with some things in the business, get the equity of the company and so on. However, don't give all these benefits to the interviewer at once. What's the point of telling an engineer who likes to study new technology that he can become a manager? On the contrary, the wrong sales promotion will often send him to another company.


* Review past work experience. When we first started the interview, we also asked them what they wanted from this job. However, candidates often don't explain their real motives at this time, but will respond to you with an answer that they think is "correct": "I just want to delve into something interesting." They'll tell you that. However, after a while, we found a more effective method: instead of asking them what they want from this job, we asked them what considerations they had based on when choosing their previous jobs. When they are asked about the past, they tend to share what they think is really important.


* Don't just sell, give examples. You can't really promise someone that he or she will become a manager in the future, or just do those interesting things. On the contrary, I will tell the candidates what those talented employees are doing after joining the company for one year. Maybe an engineer with no management experience is leading a small team now, or a newly graduated engineer is in charge of a very important algorithm now.




After the interview: How to get candidates to sign employment agreements faster?

Now, you are not far from winning. The candidate you like has promised to come to your company, and the remaining thing is to sign the agreement. This stage may be very risky. The candidate's current employer may make a new Offer, and other companies may be robbing him.


* Don't let this candidate waste his time on some legal issues. In order to solve this problem, we decided to use an employment agreement for all employees from top to bottom in the company-no matter the vacation time or some small details (note: it is not known whether this agreement will involve the division of interests such as the company's equity). This agreement is quite loving, and we still use it up to now. Once I tell the candidate that everyone in the company, from CEO to engineer to myself, has signed the same agreement, so we can't modify it. At this time, they usually sign the agreement within one or two days. They don't need to spend a lot of time on this agreement.


In addition, Scott Weiss from venture capitalist A16Z also shared his suggestion: welcome gift basket. They will put a T-shirt with the company logo, a hat, a coffee cup, a Nerf gun, fruit, wine, chocolate and a handwritten note in a gift basket and send it to the candidate's door to show how exciting it is for them to join the company. When these candidates receive the gift basket, they usually reply with great excitement by email or phone: "Oh-it's completely unexpected." When the daughter of a candidate wears a company hat and a T-shirt with a company logo, it becomes more difficult to accept an Offer from another company.


Of course, they are hackers who are two or three. Considering the time and cost, maybe you don't need to go to so much trouble to recruit every employee. However, the recruitment method advocated in this article to establish the sense of identity of potential candidates with the company may be applicable to recruiting every employee.

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