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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
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Hiring startup engineers? Talk about challenge, not pay

Hiring startup engineers? Talk about challenge, not pay | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Here's what matters most to people when considering a job.

Back when I worked at Microsoft and Amazon, I spent a lot of time hiring and building teams. I had the methodology down: Get referrals from strong people already on the team. Look for someone who is uniquely great at something, preferably something that makes them different from the rest of the team. Don’t let problem personalities past the first step no matter how capable they are.

When I decided to take the leap from the corporate world to starting my own company, I figured hiring would be the easy part. But when I sat down to write the copy for the careers page on our company website, I got stuck. I’d always advised job-seeking friends to choose the manager first and the specific job second. Most of my colleagues looking for jobs in the corporate world would talk about what they were looking for in terms of factors like pay and opportunity for continued advancement.

But the more I talked to people at startups, the less relevant these factors seemed to be. Although several people mentioned the potential long-term payoff of sweat equity, they were mostly not motivated by immediate pay; they would have been working at corporate jobs if they had been. They talked a lot about wanting to be part of a team of smart and collaborative people, but few mentioned direct manager as a consideration. Many of them talked about how much they were learning. I never heard anyone discuss promotions.

We didn’t want to advertise our roles in a way that would attract the wrong candidates — or worse, no candidates at all. We are also huge analysis nerds. We wanted to get beyond the anecdotal conversations. Just as we do for any important product or business decision, we decided to get some data.

We wanted to understand what candidates look for when they visit job listings. And not just any candidates but the particular candidates who fit the profile of people we want to hire. Our career site needs to be true to who we are as a company; it’s important to speak to our genuine values and hiring philosophy. It also needs to speak to the unique concerns of the people we want to hire.

I did a quick survey of nearly 350 developers, designers, technical marketers, product managers, sales leaders, and user researchers who work at a mix of corporations, startups, midsize companies, and nonprofits. Participants answered a single question: what are the top three factors that you look for in a job? I suggested some possible answers with the question, including challenge, pay, location, team, manager, flexibility, social purpose, and specific job description, although respondents were free to add any factors of their choosing.

What I had observed anecdotally showed up in the data. Here are the job selection criteria techies mentioned most often in different kinds of organizations, along with the percentage of respondents who mentioned them:


Everyone cares about things not in their top three list. Few people would turn down great pay on a fun team working towards a cause they believe in. But the data shows interesting and relevant differences between what people in different kinds of organizations care about most.

Manager, scope, and growth are corporate terms. Team, challenge, and learning are their startup equivalents. Corporate workers prioritize immediate pay more highly, while people at startups value flexibility. We realized as we looked through this data that the selling points we have to offer people joining Kidgrid aligned well with the factors that people working in startups value. That made us feel like we were on the right track.

Now that we’re up and running, we’re finding that the people we’re the most interested in are the ones who care about team, challenge, and learning, because those are the things we care about too. That’s true whether they currently work at startups, at corporations, or in some other environment. A good culture fit is just a good culture fit.



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Startups, Tech Companies Shop for More MBA Hires

Startups, Tech Companies Shop for More MBA Hires | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The smallest companies are making the biggest splash on business school campuses, according to a survey released this week. Slightly more schools saw more companies of any size coming to campus to recruit MBAs, driven by a flurry of startups that started to hunt for new hires.

The survey by the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, an association of business school career-management offices and companies, found that 55 percent of business schools saw a rise in on-campus recruitment in the spring of 2014. But that growth—up from 48 percent a year earlier—was mostly tepid, since many schools in the survey saw only a modest uptick or reported flat recruitment numbers.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Recruiting quality employees is becoming a problem for tech companies.

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10 Things Great Talent Always Does

10 Things Great Talent Always Does | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Recruiting top performers for your company can multiply its success.

Finding amazing talent is a tricky process. Making talent recruitment a top priority can multiply the success of an organization.

To recognize great talent, hiring managers can look for the following signs instead of paying attention only to resumes and cover letters.

Here are 10 things people possessing great talent always do:

1. They talk about their long-term goals.

Talented candidates aren’t afraid of their future. In fact, they’re excited about their career and what’s in store.

Ask candidates about their long-term goals during a job interview. Those with great talent will talk about their prospective future with the company and what they plan to accomplish if hired.

2. They’re resourceful and prepared for anything.

Great talent is prepared for any situation. The ability to think and act on the spot is a quality few people have.

People with top-notch talent know their resume inside and out, have their portfolio ready and can answer interview questions without stumbling over their thoughts.

3. They display confidence in any situation.

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance when identifying top talent. Confident individuals, however, can handle any situation and accept the reality that it’s OK to be wrong.

During the interview, ask candidates about their weaknesses. Look for a candidate who can confidently speak about weaknesses and explain the lessons they have learned.

4. They market their versatility.

Individuals who are truly talented possess a wide range of skills and can transfer them to different roles and succeed.

Ask candidates about a time when they had to try something new or apply their skills in an unusual situation. A good candidate will be able to share an experience or two.

5. They prioritize results.

Talented people care about results. They have a burning passion to accomplish their goals, both in their personal life or career.

Those who possess top talent will talk about what they want to accomplish once hired without the interviewer having to ask.

6. They ask smart questions.

Bright individuals are curious people. Because of this, they’ll ask questions to learn more about an organization and how it functions.

During the interview, a talented candidate will ask questions about what he or she is expected to accomplish if hired. They will inquire about the attributes of the top performers at the company and about what it takes to drive results.

7. They’re extremely flexible.

Many organizations continuously update their goals and implement new strategies. Top talent can adjust to such changes without becoming derailed from success.

Ask candidates about a time when they had to quickly adapt to a new situation and what happened.

8. They’re comfortable with taking risks.

Risk taking is involved at any business. Talented people aren’t afraid of pushing the envelope to discover new ideas.

Ask candidates about a time where they had to take a risk. Their response should provide enough insight about whether they can take big enough risks.

9. They bring passion to the position and organization.

This might seem like a cliché, but passion is a quality that sets apart those with great talent from lackluster candidates.

When a talented person is passionate about what he or she does, that individual is not afraid to tell a prospective employer. In fact, when someone is truly passionate, a hiring manager can see it in the individual's personality and previous experience.

10. They communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders.

Strong communicators have the ability to take organizations to the next level.

When speaking to candidates over the phone or in person or exchanging emails, pay close attention to how they communicate. This gives employers a better indication of their communication skills.



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