How Doordash solved the biggest challenge every startup faces: Hiring great talent

Recruiting is the biggest challenge for early-stage companies. I led Recruiting @DoorDash from 50 -> 800+ employees. Here’s how we built a world-class team before DoorDash was mainstream 👇👇👇
1. It starts with the CEO. @t_xu’s top priority was (and still is) recruiting. Tony interviewed every candidate for the first 100 employees and reviewed every offer for the first 4000+ employees. The CEO sets the recruiting tone for the company.
2. Raise the bar. Great people want to work with other great people. Never compromise for good enough and hire people better than you. The reason I joined (and the #1 thing people loved about working at DoorDash): the people.
3. Recruiting is everyone’s responsibility. @andyfang added sourcing targets to all eng manager’s weekly goals. He also added recruiting as part of their performance reviews. Managers became recruiting owners, sourcing output went up >20%, and close rates improved.
4. Force conviction. Tony regularly pushed back on hires (including folks on my team). He forced managers to have conviction and own hiring decisions. Defending each hire helped managers up-level and take ownership.
5. Fix mistakes quickly. One of Tony’s favorite lines: the Michael Jordan of recruiting gets it right 2/3 times. We didn’t punish managers for bad hires but we expected them to move quickly if performance didn’t improve. A team’s performance is constrained by its weakest link.
6. Understand motivators. During the intro call, we asked every candidate “what are you optimizing for?” This helped us design the candidate’s interview experience and served as a cultural alignment check. We confirmed motivators as candidates progressed through the process.
7. Sell learning and responsibility. Great talent is ambitious and wants to grow – fast. Interviewers told stories about their growth at DoorDash, and we highlighted promotions. We told candidates if they performed, we’d give them more responsibility than they could handle.
8. Communicate positive and constructive feedback. We assessed growth mindset by delivering positive and constructive feedback throughout the recruiting process. Candid feedback – especially constructive feedback – helped us close the best candidates.
9. What gets measured gets managed. We had a monthly recruiting review that was similar to a WBR. Our format was simple: going well / not going well, metrics, asks, feedback. This meeting aligned Tony + the exec team with what was happening on the ground.
10. Think long-term. Prospects won’t respond to emails. Candidates will reject offers. We set reminders to check in on these folks every 3-6 months and tried to build lasting relationships. Our perspective: we’ll get them eventually.
11. Everybody closes. The entire interview panel reached out congratulating the candidate post-offer extend. We continued to check in every week post-offer accept (because rescinds happen). Closing starts in the first call and ends on the candidate’s start date.
Some of the folks that deserve a ton of credit: @andrewRM3 @ryanbroderick @zyloch1110 @tobyespinosa @jesslachs @michaelxbloch @charltonys @BrentSeals15 @vrjbndr @ajay_mittal @fuadhannon @ccamp05 @JeffCosgriff @CamWoodsum @RomanCobra @JackMomeyer @victorshao and many, many more

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