How startups can hire better than google

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Michele Riccardo Esposito
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When we first started hiring for Candu, I was concerned with how we would attract top talent. In my previous role as Product Manager at TransferWise, I saw just how difficult this task could be.

TransferWise has a strong brand with a great reputation; it has an exceptionally talented recruiting team; it can offer benefits and perks that Candu cannot afford. And it was still difficult to recruit top talent to join the company.

How could Candu possibly compete with companies like TransferWise, Google, and Facebook in the war for talent?

It turns out that startups like Candu have three distinct hiring advantages that enable us to engage top candidates who are looking for a different kind of work experience.

1. Speed

Candu can go from phone interview to offer faster than Google can do a background check.

If we have a phone call on Monday, expect interviews on Tuesday morning and an offer on Tuesday afternoon. We don’t tell candidates that we can move quickly if they want to. We get it done, period.

Think about it from a candidate’s perspective: We offer essentially the same process in two days that a large company offers in one month. Which is more appealing?

Speed is a huge competitive advantage because it sends a clear signal to the candidate that we want them. You matter to Candu, so we’ll make you our priority.

2. Flexibility

We have a standard interview process, and we try to stick to it as much as possible. Nevertheless, we can quickly adapt it to any given candidate, making flexibility a key ingredient to achieving speed in our interview process.

We can change job descriptions to better match promising candidates if we find their skill sets would be a better fit elsewhere. Then, we can adapt the interview process to reflect these changes.

Large tech companies often have strictly defined hiring processes that are driven by recruitment teams rather than by hiring managers, and they rarely have the ability to modify these processes for a given candidate — no matter how special that candidate is. If a candidate is found to be a better fit for another team, they often have to start the interview process over again from the beginning, causing the company to lose out on talent.

Our flexibility tells candidates that we care more about them doing great work than about following processes, and it’s a reflection of what it’s truly like to work at a startup.

3. Ownership

Candu’s hiring philosophy is driven by one objective: Find talented individuals that are eager to scale Candu and to take ownership of solving difficult problems for our customers.

Startups cannot compete with Big Tech in terms of prestige, compensation, and stability. But, working at a startup can be far more fulfilling thanks to the high level of ownership that individuals have over the fate of the company.

Be sure to let recruits know just how important they will be in helping to achieve Candu’s mission.

How to Win

Interviews are a two-way street. Candidates should be evaluating companies just as companies are evaluating talent, and that’s especially true for top talent.

At Candu, we have designed our interview processes to show candidates what working at an early-stage startup is all about — speed, flexibility, and ownership.

We may not be able to offer extravagant lunches and free massages, but we have our perks, and — in certain ways — the tech giants just can’t compete with those.


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