The Employer Description is an experiment in transparency, inspired by inefficiencies I’ve experienced both as a job candidate and a hiring manager. You may think of it as a reverse job description; if a job description is about the skills and traits you look for in your ideal candidate, then the Employer Description is about what I look for when considering your company as a place to work and grow.
You are looking for someone to help build and grow an exceptional product or product team. What you are building isn’t easy. It is going to take a lot of effort and time to get to where you want to go long-term, but you’re committed to making it happen. You are obsessed with giving customers the best experience possible and it shows in everything you do. You’re looking for like-minded, motivated people to join you and help give customers something truly great.
- A culture of learning: You value candidates who have exceptional instincts, insight and user empathy as much as those with the right track record; you understand domain expertise is a function of curiosity, passion and time. You would rather hire smart creatives with the potential to become brilliant specialists than brilliant specialists who are not creative.
- High growth: The road in front of you is moving fast and things are a little blurry. Because of this you have excellent frameworks for decision-making that value fast, directionally correct decisions over analysis paralysis.
- Strong on vision, soft on details: You know why your company exists and what its true purpose is in the world. You have an unwavering conviction for what benefit you bring to your customers, yet you are willing to delegate exactly how you get there to your team. To paraphrase Mr. Jobs, you hire smart people so they can tell you what to do.
- Promote from within: Your first instinct is to give more and more responsibility to existing employees who want to grow and have shown they can deliver results. You know that the best people to grow your product are the ones most invested in its mission, history and success.
- Teams over individuals: You understand that software is a team sport. You hire great team players and don’t have time for egotistical superstars that are bad for the locker room.
- Transparent: You err on oversharing. You’re clear about your goals and don’t sweep mistakes under the rug. Employees never feel like you have a hidden agenda or are hiding the real story.
The ideal employer will also:
- Scale smart: You know when to ask if you need to change how teams get work done. Continual improvement in processes and tools are in your DNA. You know when to build vs. buy and your internal tools are exceptional because you apply the same passion and commitment to user experience that you do to your core product.
- Look backwards as well as forwards: You learn from mistakes. You regularly consider: what could we have done better as a company and how can we make sure we do better?
- Celebrate victories: Yes, operating a rocketship is stressful and demanding--but once in orbit, mission control gives out high fives and the astronauts do somersaults and look out the window in wonder for a little while before getting back to work.
- Have an outstanding executive team: Your leaders are uniquely qualified to run your company. Your C-level team is more the sum of its parts and is in the right place at the right time. The executive conference room doesn’t have a revolving door; your VPs and Directors think like founders and are in it for the long haul.
- Treat employees like customers: This doesn’t mean you have to give out free cat massages or provide 364 days a year of vacation. It means that you consciously reduce friction whenever you can so that people can focus on their job. You invest in your employees and think about how to delight and surprise them for a job well done.
Benefits and Perks
- Employees get the workstation and software of their choice
- Equity, or a 401k with a generous match
- Full health coverage (medical, dental vision) that is easy to understand and low stress.
- At least three weeks a year paid time off, excluding normal holidays
- Paid public transit or equivalent commuter benefits