Effective Engineering Hiring

In this month’s newsletter, Mike talks about effective engineering hiring from his experiences at Facebook, Etsy, Workday and his own start-up Kollide.

Effective Engineering Hiring
Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

In this month’s newsletter, Mike talks about effective engineering hiring from his experiences at Facebook, Etsy, Workday and his own start-up Kollide. Moreover, we continue our search for unique individuals to join us as a Machine Learning Engineer and VP of Operations, so please pass on the message to any star candidates!

Early-Stage Hiring for Engineering Teams

At Moonfire, we are the first money in which means we need to roll up our sleeves to help our founders build the foundation to become a rocketship.
The three areas we talk to founders most about are hiring, sales, and fundraising. In this blog, Mike outlines tips and tricks to help founders conduct a rigorous recruiting process for technical hires derived from his learnings at Facebook, Etsy, Workday and Kollide.

Early engineering hires will set the tone for the company's future engineering culture which will have a permanent impact on the company’s ability to deliver on product objectives. It can also be hard, costly, and time-consuming to course-correct after making hiring decisions which turn out to be incorrect. On top of this, early-stage startup employees may spend more time with each other than they do with their own family during the early years of a company. For all of these reasons, it’s critical to approach engineering hiring with a rigorous and repeatable process that ensures quality and consistency. With that being said however, it’s also critical to be fair and respectful of the fact that candidates don’t have infinite time to spend interviewing with a company.

Mike has a multi-stage approach which involves initial screening, technical screening, leadership and culture assessment, system design architecture review, coding assessment, deep team assessment, references, and offer calibration and sell. For each phase, Mike shares recommendations to get the most out of each individual stage of the workflow.

While the process that the blog article articulates is rigorous and specific, Mike highlights the importance of flexibility and being able to iterate on your hiring process. For example, it’s ok to skip one aspect of the assessment if you are hiring a very senior person with verifiable experience in certain domains.

We are passionate about this subject matter and we’re confident that this article will help our portfolio companies design a more rigorous and repeatable hiring process for their engineering teams.

Portfolio News

Oliva - Proper Mental Healthcare For Your Whole Business

When we first met Javier and Sançar at Oliva we did not know we were going to dive deep into burn out, stress management and our own experiences of dealing with these difficult issues. It was a meeting of kindred spirits but also a reflection on society increasingly becoming more aware and open of the mental strains at the workplace. But we need more access to advice and help to really have an impact more broadly in society.

To address the mental health crisis in workplaces, Oliva launched in the UK and Europe delivering on-demand, professional-led mental healthcare for employees and managers. Oliva raised a $2.2 million pre-seed investment round led by Moonfire. Oliva’s take on this is not to create a marketplace of pre-recorded videos, but to provide the first comprehensive mental healthcare solution where trained professionals are put in front of employees to talk directly to them. Research suggests psychotherapy via the internet is as good if not better than face-to-face consultations.

Oliva is founded by Javier Suarez, who previously co-founded TravelPerk, and Sançar Sahin, who previously led marketing teams at Hotjar and Typeform.

We are extremely excited to be a partner in their journey.

Moonfire Zoom Series

Go-to-Market Sales Opportunities with Elaine Mao, Global VP of Business Ops at Tessian

Sales are the lifeblood of any firm and that is why we are delighted that Elaine Mao, Global VP of Business Operations at Tessian will present a bit about her philosophies on Sales, Sales/Business Operations, SaaS organisations for our August Zoom series. Running effective and efficient sales organisations that support the business strategies and objectives is hard which is why we are excited to have Elaine come and share her experiences.

Elaine is currently a VP of Business Operations at a London-based cybersecurity firm, Tessian. She was one of Tessian’s first hires in the US and has been focused on building the GTM engine and incubating new areas of growth. Prior to Tessian, she led Biz Ops and Sales Operations teams at LinkedIn, Uber, and Compass experiencing all stages of growth, from early to IPO. At Uber, she helped get the first sales team off the ground, scaling from conception to ~$500M run rate. At Compass, she helped launch several new markets and products growing revenue 150%+ y/y.

In September we will be hosting Ilkka Paananen, the founder of Supercell, talking about his perspectives on building teams and the role of the CEO.

Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for next month's edition.