Yesterday all of the investment professionals in our firm sat in a conference room for seven hours and waded through hundreds of amazing applicants for the two open positions we have at Union Square Ventures. We cut the 616 applications (359 for Analyst and 257 for General Manager) down to 75 (47 for Analyst and 28 for General Manager).
For the past week, my partners and I have done little else but work on this project. It is exhausting work. I believe we could hire any one of at least three quarters of the applicants and be very happy with our choice. But we only have two positions and we owe it to ourselves and the candidates to be thorough and make the very best choice we can.
People and Product are the two most important things a company has. In our case, our product is our ongoing work so we are even more people dependent than most of the companies we invest in. But regardless if you are a product oriented business or a service oriented business, you cannot invest too much time and money on your people. It is critical.
Our hiring process has always been a bit unusual. We announce the open position on our blog and invite anyone to apply. We do not require a resume. In fact, we prefer that candidates not send one. We want to see the candidate's online presence and we want to know what they have accomplished.
Looking at over 600 online presences and mapping that to what they have accomplished is time consuming work but the insights you get from doing that are incredible. I said to my colleagues yesterday that it was like we interviewed 600 people yesterday.
That number is now down to 75. My partner Albert has a post up on the USV website explaining where we are at in the process and where we go from here (phone screens). This is our third hiring update post so far and I am sure we will do a few more. The candidates seem to love the transparency of this process and how we are communicating. That's a big takeaway for me. If you use the web to source your candidates, you also need to use it to communicate to everyone in the process. It works very well.
I'll end this post with a graphic from Albert's post. Check out his post because he has a bunch more graphical data including some great word clouds. This is a map of all the places in the US that our GM candidates come from. We also have a number of candidates from outside of the US but we couldn't get them on the map for some reason.