The startup recruiting industry, by most accounts, has adhered to the same process for years. Only recently has web technology been embraced beyond email and CRMs. Electronic distribution and notification methods and some other time-saving enhancements have changed the level of throughput, but in a lot of ways the processes have remained the same:
- Resume review
- Phone screen
- On-site interview with a few, select folks
- Go / no-go hiring next steps
But in hot employment markets, companies with inventive and progressive cultures are taking another approach: The Open House.
The term “open house,” for me at least, arouses images of my mother talking to my 5th grade teacher in a collage-filled school room, while my dad is in the bathroom coping with the extremely low position of elementary school urinals. The type of open house I’m talking about here in the San Francisco Technology ecosystem, is quite different, all the way from restroom engineering to purpose and engagement.
The new way to startup recruit is just as much about gauging culture and personality fit, as it is inspecting credentials.
In the traditional day-time interview scenario, particularly in the technology arena, we all know who the interviewee is–the guy in the suit. There’s not always a whole lot of opportunity to get beyond the polished nature of the candidate. It’s not an opportunity to observe socialization ability, personality in a casual group setting, or banter between the would-be employee and his counterparts. The open house offers that missing opportunity.
The startup recruiting open house I attended was at EventBrite. What works about EventBrite as a product, is that it fills a market void, offering a ticketing solution for SMBs, groups, and organizations who don’t necessarily need to fill-up a stadium with attendees. EventBrite, the product, is a well-designed, intuitive social media tool, that does exactly what you expect it to do. It takes away all the tricky payment, logistics and record-keeping of event hosting.
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EventBrite, the Open House, was similarly effective on several fronts. The event was widely attended by all sorts of interested candidates thanks to terrific social media promotion. The environment with it’s “winter theme,” direction poles, festively dressed employees, and spread of food and drinks all screamed, “home!” It’s quite inviting to step out of the rain to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a sourdough bowl of chili. Next, with noticeably organized by corporate function, it was easy to navigate around the room and identify who was in the marketing department, and that the finance department was host to all the wine.
Clearly, this was a collection of talented people who love what they do and have a good time doing it. For the prospective employee, that’s what you want to experience. For the growing, inventive .com, that’s precisely what you want to convey at your startup recruiting event. I dropped my CV off with the marshmallow-hosting, marketing group.