Talent Overload

On Monday, our firm, Union Square Ventures, announced that we are hiring two people to join our firm for two years. Since Monday, we've received over 400 applications for the two jobs and they continue to come in like a firehose.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such an overload of talent to choose from and the people we are seeing are amazing. It is our goal to look at each and every applicant and carefully consider them for the position they are applying for. That has been hard and it is not getting easier.

So we are reluctantly taking the step of closing off applications for the two positions on Monday. If you want to apply for either of the positions, please do it today or over the weekend. Instructions on how to do that are in our initial blog post.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Hi Fred…Recruiting in an era of personal web presences makes the process more articulate.Hard work and hard decisions for certain. But having a public record, a glimpse of how someone writes, manages their street cred and crafts a public poise, gives some assurance and criteria to decisions.Getting to know someone online as well as across the table is a great step forward in feeling more clear about these hard choices.Or so I see it in interviewing, investing or just plain meeting and getting to know folks.

    1. fredwilson

      you are so rightthe richness of some of these online presences are incrediblethe resume is dead for surebut unfortunately so many people don’t yet realize that

      1. shafqat

        It must be such a HUGE time-consuming process to go through all the candidates given the richness of online presences. Yet it’s so critical. I wonder if there is an opportunity for tools to make this process easier for people like you. Have you heard of any?

      2. Ivy Leage Grad

        Why is the resume dead? Not everyone wants the whole world to have access to their information.

        1. Joe Siewert

          The web is a much richer place to showcase yourself though. You can learn so much more about a person from their blog, Twitter feed, etc. than you can from a static document.

          1. paramendra

            I do belong to The Resume Is Dead school of thought. If a person is active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and has had an active blog for over a year, you get a pretty good idea of who that person is and how that person might react in various circumstances. You get to see the real person. Why would you trade that for a static resume? Of all those the blog would be my number one thing to look at. An avid blogger really tells you about himself/herself. The passions come through.

          2. Satish Mummareddy

            Full Disclosure: I’m not applying for these positions. :)I’m really not so sure about relying so much on online presence. When people are committed to a project they have blinders on and focus on just that. Check out any of the CEO’s of the current portfolio companies of USV and how much time they spend on building a online foot print vs talking about their company. 🙂 And if you are working on a non consumer facing company you almost never will post anything on the web. So I’m not sure what stand to take on looking at someone’s online presence to hire for these positions. Someone coming of a really serious project will almost certainly not have much of an online presence.

          3. fredwilson

            they’ve got linkedin profiles

          4. Nathan Leehman

            As an applicant, the both the volume and breadth of information in reviewed blogs since Monday is impressive, and my thanks go out to all for illuminating the challenges associated with a tight network of thought leaders. There are a many great points, but also an interesting juxtaposition trepresenting the basic challenge of groundbreaking initiatives today.***ahem…stepping onto soapbox, please excuse…cough, cough…throat cleared***While the concept of net native is both far reaching and an accurate descriptor of the path forward, there is a conflict that exists today between what I would categorize as three groups: net native, technologically savvy, and technologically literate (the fourth, technophobic is likely not a market for USV portfolio companies). Internet use for these three groups is highly divergent, yet each is essential for overall success.Fred’s reference to LinkedIn is a perfect example: A net native purports to tell all, bringing the best of their blog and online presence to bear to create an accurate (or creatively accurate, or accurately managed) view of their lifestyle, interests and loves. They are less concerned with the consequences of their actions, as the focus is on honesty and transparency. LinkedIn is merely a conduit for this. A technologically savvy user segments the web, and as such LinkedIn serves a business purpose – open to all, but selective in the information available given the intended (likely professionally based) audience. These folks will use Facebook, Twitter and others for specific and divergent needs, and may leverage the overlap of each to their own ends. A technologically literate user may understand the benefits of LinkedIn, but has either a minimalist page or a place-holder only. They may not perceive any difference between the services, and wonder why so many exist.The challenge here – and one that will remain as net natives grow in age, population, and experience – is to capture the needs and desires of all three groups: the first to secure advocacy and deep roots, the second to ensure breadth, and the third to ensure full monetization. Can one company be all things to all people? Absolutely not, and it is likely a strategy for failure for them to try. But to create value (at least in the GM position), my expectation is that USV must bring together the best of each company to build value at those remaining. This is why the portfolio is so important, and why its growth will need great management – more likely structured facilitation – in the coming years.**stepping down from soapbox**That, and you have to love this kind of stuff.

          5. paramendra

            I can think of no industry where online socializing is a hindrance. Even the CIA has its internal “Facebook.”

          6. Satish Mummareddy

            A few comments about apple from a timely article by John Battelle: http://battellemedia.com/ar…”Employees blogging, posting to social networks, or offering academic papers for public comment is actively discouraged. In the words of an employee of your one of your former partners : Apple essentially bans “things that we at companies with an open culture take for granted.”I have no clue to the internal workings of apple or what their restrictions on employees are, but i am sure a bunch of companies have similar policies.

          7. paramendra

            You just told me why I could never work for Apple.

          8. Satish Mummareddy

            I can understand your position with respect to apple. I think apple is working on interesting problems and it would be fun to work on some of those problems with the amazing people there. My point really is that, there are a ton of great people at Apple who might not have much of a web presence and who might be great fits for the USV openings.

          9. ShanaC

            Yes, but it may not help me break into a coffee job is I want 6 months to think while applying to other jobs. I do think there is flatness to all of this.

        2. Fernando Gutierrez

          May be you don’t need a website, but you need to prove something for a period of time, and a website is a really efficient way to do that.In a resume you can be anything you want. You can create a character with just a few lines and very little effort. And then, when the employer discovers you are not the person he thought you were it’s too late. You could cheat with your online presence too, but it’s probably too much work to do for a cheater.

        3. fredwilson

          people who are afraid to have a linkedin profile or a facebook profile or a twitter profile are making a big mistake.

        4. ShanaC

          There is a difference between secrecy and privacy. Privacy is co-negotiated.Even with a resume- it is still co-negotiated for one reasons and one reason only: What if your resume was leaked?

      3. disqus_w0ATpTWRr0

        Great point. But some of us work in industries where a wide online foot print isnt a positive sign. Industry is regulated and scrutinized. My FB page is restricted to nothing but pictures, giving an insight to the lifestyle and travel experiences but nothing about my work/ personal opinion can be shared. LinkedIn is not more than experience and skill listing.How does someone like me create an online prescense?

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          You can create an online presence related with something you feel passion about but that it’s not your work. In fact, Fred has said many times that he can’t blog about things related to his investments at USV.Maybe it won’t get you a job, but it’ll make you different from the other very similar people who apply to the same positions you want. And more interesting. Recruiting is not only about competences, it’s also about finding someone you feel eager to work with. And working with someone with a great blog about playing the guitar can be way more interesting that doing it with someone more plain if both have the technical skills needed.

          1. disqus_w0ATpTWRr0

            Great point. I think its about time I started a blog on shoes, NY fashion shows, social media & everything about living in Manhattan.

          2. Satish Mummareddy

            Full Disclosure: I’m not applying for these positions. :)I’m really not so sure about relying so much on online presence. When people are committed to a project they have blinders on and focus on just that. Check out any of the CEO’s of the current portfolio companies of USV and how much time they spend on building a online foot print vs talking about their company. 🙂 And if you are working on a non consumer facing company you almost never will post anything on the web. So I’m not sure what stand to take on looking at someone’s online presence to hire for these positions. Someone coming of a really serious project will almost certainly not have much of an online presence.

        2. fredwilson

          i’d rather know about your lifestyle and travel experiences anyway

      4. Satish Mummareddy

        The saying is that the best people are never in the market and you have to go get them. And these people are constantly working on a serious project. And when they are working they have blinders on and don’t focus on building a web presence. How do you recruit them? For example I believe that all of the CEO’s of USV portfolio companies probably don’t spend much time on things other than their own company. 🙂

      5. ShanaC

        If it didn’t feel so wrong, I would ask what is among the most meaningful things you’ve seen. But that feels wrong, you could violate a weird sense of internet privacy.

  2. Oo Nwoye - @OoTheNigerian

    It would be good to know your screening process. Of course after the candidate has been chosen. I am sure the attraction is not to the company or the position but the persons behind it. I would want to work for Fred Wilson even it is on the farm.

    1. fredwilson

      i am not a good farmer. i can’t even keep a plant alive!i think we should blog about this process from end to end, when it is over. we really believe in the process we use so it may be helpful for others

      1. sachmo

        Please do. I would be very interested in understanding your selection criteria.(I am not applying by the way, but I find your hiring techniques to be interesting.)

  3. William Mougayar

    Definitely, it will be interesting to read about your post-mortem on the process. 400 apps for 2 positions is a amazing ratio. I wonder if you could share later the rough composition of applicants – US/non-US, #years of experience, NYC/non-NYC, etc. any slices of insights. And what the software did for you.

  4. JLM

    I suspect this is also a commentary on the competitiveness of the marketplace, the wealth of talent created by the scarcity of jobs and an oblique observation on the economy in general.When you get a huge amount of applications the easiest thing to do is to eliminate the “non-starters” — not commenting upon the criteria to do that, mind you. But separating the wheat from the chaff is the easiest way to reduce the number of applicants to a manageable number.The other problem is always that there may be a 100 persons who could do the job and finding the right “one” is really not the challenge.I am personally in the midst of hiring three persons for my firm and have been able to reduce my consideration to only engineers w/ MBAs and, in my instance, military academy graduates. There is a wealth of talent out there. And it is inexpensive.

    1. Mark Essel

      Woe to the job market. My lovely fiancé is still trapped in an untractable molecular bio lab where poor management decisions and internal blame tarnish her chances of scoring a non-existent new position.I suggested moving into baking, she loves it 🙂

    2. paramendra

      “….only engineers w/ MBAs and, in my instance, military academy graduates….”Military academy graduates?

      1. JLM

        West Point, Annapolis, Air Force Academy, VMI, Texas A & M, Citadel, Norwich, Merchant Marine Academy — mostly engineers who are pouring out of the military w/ 5-7 years service many w/ 18-30 months in combat.This cross section of young persons has already been subjected to an incredibly selective screening process to get their degrees in the first place and has an enormous work ethic, sense of service, is literally ‘battle tested’, is very calm under stress and is used to working hard.They are all just tired of the constant deployments and want to get on w/ their lives. They have a renewed sense of purpose having been out of the country and being perceived as being a step behind their contemporaries.For a company which is beyond the rocking in the cradle start up mode, they are strong as half an acre of garlic. Of course, you have to be able to speak their language and to be able to earn their respect.An Airborne Ranger with a degree in engineering and an MBA is a pretty tough guy to beat in the marketplace once they get their business equilibrium sea legs under them.

        1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

          That is awesome.

        2. paramendra

          That’s one impressive rationale.

  5. robertavila

    I have watched large corporations, bench mark, move to industry standards, cut cost, out source, stream line, automate processes and turn to consultants to the point that many have become brittle, unthinking, low cost machines that generate high returns as long as nothing much happens but incapable of changing, adapting, responding or thinking except perhaps when shattered by a near death experience. Such corporations used to employ large numbers of creative generalists charged with managing change. Such people are largely gone from today’s corporations. Such people now seem to be starting up new ventures aimed in large part at exploiting the change which large companies are no longer capable of seeing.

  6. andyswan

    The greater the foes, in both number and aptitude, the greater the victory.

  7. harryh

    > the resume is dead for sureDo you think that’s really true? I don’t blog particularly prolifically, and there’s basically nothing on http://harryh.org. And yet I think I’m a pretty strong candidate for any programming job I might apply for in some post foursquare future.I think it probably varies depending on the job type in question.

    1. paramendra

      The two USV jobs are not programming jobs.

    2. fredwilson

      i don’t think you’ll need a resume harry. your track record speaks for itself

    3. Satish Mummareddy

      I highly recommend going to http://harryh.org . Coolest geek landing page ever. 🙂

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        Yeah, that only sentence really rocks!

      2. Jeff Lu

        Haha. Amazing.

      3. Matt A. Myers

        Haha. Thank you for reiterating the url. 😀

    4. Mihai Badoiu

      Hi Harry,linkedin is just a modern resume. It does have all a resume has, plus some other functionality. I can’t tell if there’s a benefit to being on linkedin yet, but I guess it can’t hurt. There may even be some hidden features for paying customers.I think most jobs come through referrals anyway. Without meeting somebody, linkedin, resumes and online presence are a poor substitute to evaluating them. As you already know, a lot of people at Google would pass the screen (some contractor screening the resumes), but the variance in how good the fit is for SWE is very very high. In the past month, I had one guy who kept referring to Google as Apple and didn’t know what qsort is, but I also had a guy who could probably do the problems while drunk.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        YES. YOU NEED TO BE ON LINKED IN. If you want to be found, that is.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Typing in caps seems to get you noticed too!I personally think that if someone is good and wants a job badly enough then they’ll find their next employer. They’ll be able to probably find a perfect fit if they know themselves well and have a good idea of what employers are seeking (assuming the employer is good at expressing this).

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Haha!!! Typed in caps for emphasis but if it got me noticed then so be it.To your point, I look for people for a living and learned that I need a range of approaches and methods to find them. Same is true for the person looking for a job or who wants to position him/herself to maximize opportunities.The beauty of a LinkedIn profile (and web presence in general) for someone who is open or potentially open to a new career opportunity (business deal, networking relationship, etc.) is that you increase your likelihood of being found. Sure, you can still look for a job, but why not use all the options available to you? The scenario you present seems to be one where a company is posting a job and a candidate is actively looking. This represents only a fraction of the jobs that are open and get filled. Most of the jobs I fill are never posted and many of the candidates placed were not looking. I wish that wanting a job badly enough and knowing yourself well were enough to land the right job…or to do so quickly if that is an issue.As a caveat, if you are at the top of your game, you will be found even without a web presence or LinkedIn profile. People like me will always find you. Take care!

        2. ShanaC

          problematic for college students…just saying.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            You’re right…LinkedIn is not quite as valuable for college students. But I have to tell you — a couple of weeks ago I did a quick LinkedIn search as a favor to a friend with a startup and one of the potential candidates I found was a college student! His industry designation (based on his career goal) and his college major matched my search criteria and this pulled him up. I also wanted to share with you that college students have a great advantage in building their network because people want to help you and will be very inclined to respond to your requests to connect on LinkedIn. This is the time to find people on LinkedIn that you might want to be connected to some day and contact them now! Maybe you’ve already done that…you seem pretty networking savvy!

    5. ShanaC

      I want to know where you got those awesome sunglasses.* And that is an awesome website.*I secretly want a pair but I think they would fall off my face….

    6. fredwilson

      i might hire you based on that profile alone harryless is more

  8. JimHirshfield

    I’m curious what’s up with the 2 year cap? I’ve seen this before with VCs and the only logical conclusion I can come to is that you want to make it clear at the outset that there’s no room for advancement. Of course, if the candidate rocks – and s/he wants to stay – you can keep them on-board for longer.I can’t imagine you’re saying 2 years because you want to get at least that minimum commitment from a candidate. Seems like the right person wouldn’t jump ship after 6 months.

    1. Mark Essel

      You got it Jim, that’s why I didn’t jump on this golden opportunity. They need to invest training time, as all highly skilled guild like jobs do. And I can’t imagine passing up an opportunity to build a startup further. In a few months I need to be either marketing like mad, or starting on the next project if our current one doesn’t fly.

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      I think it’s quite honest to say in advance that there is no room for advancement. In many places they get good people for crappy positions with lies about advancement opportunities that don’t really exist.

      1. paramendra

        No room for advancement? Putting five straight years into my startup, or doing about two years with USV and three years with my startup, I think Plan B will take me further, much further. I see this as a major room for advancement.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I meant no room for advancement inside the company. And I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. If I were a musician I’d love to tour with U2 playing something in the backgroud (or even cooking!). I’d know that my chances of being promoted to member of the band are zero, but the experience would be worthy.

          1. paramendra

            That and you just paid a huge compliment to the USV team. I do think they are a great team.

    3. paramendra

      That number – 2 years – is one of the things that got me excited. I think the world of Fred and USV – okay, I am admitting to being starstruck – but I would want this to be a short term thing for me, if I get it. The number that really gets me is the number 3. Al, Brad, Fred. 3. How did they come up with that magic number? Because Google also came up with that same number. 3. As the ideal number for a group size.Another thought I have had – totally just a thought – is what would it take to scale an entity like USV? Could you keep the 3, and put three groups of three under them? And double the size of the portfolio? Or not?

      1. Tereza

        1. My impression is they want to keep USV small and focused.2. At some point — about now — there is limited utility in reading the tea leaves on this or any job process. You need to step back and let the process happen.

        1. paramendra

          “You need to step back and let the process happen.”That is very to the point. My applying was done once I submitted my cover letter. But my activity in the comments sections here at AVC is not new, it has been going on for long months. I don’t feel like I should become a less active commenter just because I applied for a job with USV.

    4. fredwilson

      we don’t have a career path at USV. so it’s two years and out.

  9. Graham Siener

    We’ve been inundated by applications for all of my company’s recent postings. Have you thought about giving candidates some authentic work to give some more data points? For example, the Analyst position calls for lots of Excel experience. I can immediately think of a few “spreadsheets” that would highlight my skills, and it would be equally useful to get some data set from you that needs analysis. Perhaps something like the google doc you posted recently?http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201

    1. fredwilson

      we might do that as we get down to the short list.

  10. Tereza

    Reading this, I can’t help but think about the 398+ amazing people who won’t get either job, no matter how fair the process.With online job postings and fire hoses of fabulous applicants, candidates need to offset the fire hose by getting themselves visible in front of a very large number of options. It’s the only way to balance the equation and walk away with something.That, or go start up their own new venture.Which has me thinking. Wouldn’t it be breakthrough if, instead of the typical No Response or “Thanks but No Thanks” letter, if companies provided some goodwill gesture that fortifies a positive bond with the person they’re saying No to. It does not need to cost anything.For example, they get a “credit” to speed pitch USV with a new business idea. Or for a start-up, the “No’s” get an exclusive invitation to participate in early user testing of the beta. Don’t tell them ahead of time, but simply reward it as a thank-you afterward.Create a relationship and opportunity for future value, even when you say No.

    1. RichardF

      “they get a “credit” to speed pitch USV with a new business idea”I think the firehose would multiply by a gazillion – but I like the ideaEdit – Sorry Tereza – just reread and saw the don’t tell them ahead of time

      1. Tereza

        Yes — for sure needs to be given afterward, not expected. And whatever is offered, obviously has to work for the firm offering it. Not just on the downside (in a time-manageable way) — but to be something that could bring the firm value. And if it’s a speed pitch, to manage it further, possible ring-fence into one afternoon, keep it to 5 minutes, and have the offer ‘expire’ after a certain amount of time.Another example could be a lottery for a person to attend Hacking Education. Or participation in a focus group on the future of something or other.It can be really anything. But it has to be genuine.Unfortunately the prevailing practice is that many hiring companies don’t give a candidate the courtesy of a response at all.

        1. zackmansfield

          It’s an interesting thought – introducing some other “non-traditional”/game-mechanics ideas into the hiring process. Wonder if USV will tackle any additional non-standard approaches in sifting through the vast number of qualified applicants. Given the need to make sure the person is a “good fit” for the firm, i’ll be interested in how they cut down to a smaller number and then try to make an educated guess on fit. Seems like to date they’re 2 for 2 with Andrew and Eric, so I’m guessing they’ve figured out some best practices…

          1. fredwilson

            Charlie O’Donnell was a great fit too. I’d say we are three for three

          2. zackmansfield

            good call – no intentional slight at Charlie meant…3 for 3 is correct

          3. Ivy Leage Grad

            I don’t understand how Eric had gotten a gig with Union Square Ventures in the first place. His profile on your website reflects himself as a dime a dozen. A GW grad and 1 of thousand Account Managers at sausage factory Grey.These two gigs seem to be more like learning opportunities for younger candidates who don’t require a high salary. I assume these pay around the 50-60k area?

          4. Mark Essel

            I can’t comment on the first, but as to why so many covet the position, it has more to do with network opportunities and experience at a sensational VC firm than salary (which I suspect you’re close to estimating based on required skills).If I was just getting out of school I’d skip quant grad school or an MBA to work at USV in a heartbeat.

          5. paramendra

            “…..salary (which I suspect you’re close to estimating based on required skills)……”I think you are really underestimating the breadth of the job. I have not seen any mention of the salary size anywhere, so I can’t comment on that number, but I read the job description, and I think it is quite challenging. It is important to get someone with a good fit.

          6. Mark Essel

            I was just commenting on required skills. I’m sure it’s a heavy load!

          7. paramendra

            Having a pulse for the 28 portfolio companies. I think that is the primary required skill.

          8. JLM

            Given the nature of the opportunity, I think the successful applicant should be required to pay Fred for the job. Like being a waiter at Smith & Wollensky’s?

          9. paramendra

            I do think it would be a great opportunity for the two people who will get it.

          10. JLM

            I hope YOU get it.

          11. paramendra

            You just enhanced my chances by saying that. Thanks. 🙂 Considering Fred reads every comment left at his blog.

          12. RichardF

            yup they sure are learning opportunities.

          13. ShanaC

            I understand- I know impressive people of all sorts.Ana Marie Cox went to my college. I got to hear her speak one night about how she became Wonkette. I’m finished up my education at a “Peer Institution” as we say.She had no idea what she was doing when she graduated and she got her job as the Wonkette basically by being funny on a bunch of email lists (the super short version). It didn’t really have much to do with the education.I asked her afterward for advice- she said, roughly, to experiment and to find your passions. And she is totally right.I’ve never met Eric (I have met Charlie and Andrew through a lot of random chance meetings and through being active in the NY Tech community, they are each impressive in very different ways). I bet underneath he is a great guy and he probably thinks very uniquely.Also-something you should note- if I thought about it, both you and I and the vast majority of people here (including Fred) are pretty average. Awards- don’t make you special. They’re nice, they make you feel good. Yet really, at the end of the day:If you prick us, do we not bleed?if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poisonus, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we notrevenge? Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Sc. 1 – Shylock.I like to think of myself as average-average people can accomplish great things, because at the end of the day, we are all average, all a dime a dozen.

          14. JLM

            Actually we all are all ordinary people who in extraordinary situations will rise to the occassion and accomplish extraordinary things.Within each of is the character necessary to master any challenge if only we are subjected to the tension and friction to develop and expose that character.

          15. ShanaC

            Thank you JLM. It’s something I’m coming to terms with-I’m not so special, I’m just a person trying. Mr. Grad, it just irritates me- I don’t like this we’re so special because “we took the right steps.” In fact, the right steps are stressful and often as not the wrong ones. I hope I wasn’t mean, yet I wanted to note that “right” often doesn’t tell you very much.

          16. daryn

            Wow, where’s Kid Mercury when we need him…I could care less that you want to an “Ivy Leage” (sic). A whiny and snarky comment that you won’t even put your name behind puts your 100 times lower on my respect chain than Eric, who happens to have a great blog and online presence, and who I’ve heard has done a terrific job in his role at USV.

          17. fredwilson

            i know. that comment really pissed me off.

          18. ShanaC

            I’m sorry, I tried, you and Fred are much better at this. I tried the friendly approach.

          19. fredwilson

            “a dime a dozen”???you have no idea what you are talking about. he’s awesomeand the fact that he went to GW means what exactly?i couldn’t care less if he even went to school at allacademic accomplishments don’t mean that much to mewhat you do in the real world matters

          20. Mihai Badoiu

            this bugs me: is Leage a typo?

          21. andyswan

            @Ivy Leage Grad: Your self-loathing is palpable, and reasonable.Get out of your own way.

          22. paramendra

            How to move from 400 plus to about 10 you might want to interview? I have a feeling they are first going to weed out all those simply starstruck by Fred. It might be better to offer them a meet and greet with Fred once every few months. If I get the job, I want to organize that. Come meet Fred in person. Adding to the USV best practices. Then they are going to weed out good, qualified, smart, hard working people who are a bad fit for the job at hand. Wait, first they are going to weed out all those who are not Net Natives. I think not having a vibrant blog of some sort might be a clear disqualifier. Then the starstruck thing. Let me correct that. The two who will get it will obviously be starstruck. But if that is all you bring to the table, I mean. The three parameters will bring the number down to about 25. Then they will ask, does he/she “get” it? Does this person feel the impulse for our portfolio companies? That will bring it down to 15. Going to 8 from 15 should not be hard. If I were Al-Brad-Fred, I’d bring the number down to about 10, call about 8 for the interview, hire 2, and hand over the rest to the portfolio companies to take a look at. You need a helping hand out there? Here, we got some good people.

        2. RichardF

          It’s just plain rude not respond to an application and volume of applications is not an excuse. I think companies that do this are failing to recognise how badly it reflects on them.

          1. Tereza


          2. Alberto Brizio

            Completely agree. I’ve actually seen the case where a company wouldn’t even reply to a nudge email sent a few weeks after the initial submission.

          3. Dan T

            I’ve worked at large companies where my recommendations for an open position were not followed up on. An employee recommendation being dropped, when it comes from someone inside with a “C” at the beginning of their title. I have also had people send me emails asking for referrals, which I spent time to respond to – with no follow-up. A large percentage of the workforce is shockingly lazy and inconsiderate in this regard, particularly as the size of the company increases.

          4. ShanaC

            Honestly, the best job application experience I ever have was a blog that was writing (at the time) about firing practices in their own industry. I didn’t get the job- however they were the only company in a long time to write to me that that I was a strong candidate and that I wasn’t going to get the job. It was the nicest thing I have ever seen.I wish more people did this. I think largely they were doing it as a response to poor industry practices. However, just to say how bad it is, I don’t even expect to hear back from companies anymore unless they want to hear from me. It’s pretty bad.

          5. paramendra

            USV’s a blog is all you need approach really got me excited. I am like, wow. And so my cover letter to them is a blog post.

          6. ShanaC

            Well that’s great, yet I still wish hiring practices in general were more open. There is a lot to be done in VRM space of hiring, especially considering your employees are your biggest sellers of your stuff. It’s not an and/or situation.

          7. paramendra

            Agreed Shana. I think the USV hiring practice should become the industry standard.

          8. RichardF

            it’s worse than pretty bad Shana and it is so short sighted.

          9. paramendra

            I think any applicant worth his/her salt has been a regular reader of AVC. And I am sure Fred will announce the two names at AVC. So if you don’t get a personal email saying sorry, but you did not get in, I don’t think that would be a problem. You did not apply over email, why do you expect a response over email? Heck, I don’t think they should email the two either. (I hope I am one!). Just stay tuned in. But I guess there will be interview offers first. That will likely happen over email.

          10. RichardF

            My comment is a general one, not aimed at Fred and Albert. Like I said and it might be an old fashioned point of view, I just think it’s good manners to take the time to respond back to the individual as they have taken the time to apply.

          11. Tereza


          12. ShanaC

            Damn the taking away of the people who like things link- I want to just click the like button and go listen.

          13. Donna Brewington White

            This is a hard one. I fervently believe in courtesy but as someone who is inundated with resumes I know how hard it is to find time to respond to each person. Can’t even imagine doing that with 400! Many of the tracking systems have a form letter that can be sent out but, personally, I’d rather get no response than a canned one. One of the reasons I very rarely post a job is this very reason — I feel so bad when I can’t get back to everyone! (Plus I much prefer hunting to gathering.) I just spent the morning calling candidates that didn’t get the job. Once I’ve met a candidate either in person or over the phone, I do think it’s rude to send them an email rather than speaking with them live and a travesty not to contact them at all. That actually happens. Yikes!

          14. RichardF

            I’d say a canned response is better than no response in all situations (unsolicited or solicited application), in fact it’s more than just good manners it’s good practice:The person applying knows their application has been received (so doesn’t waste their time and yours by enquiring to see if it has been received)The person applying knows that someone has bothered to look at their application (even if it is only their contact details!)Your company comes out looking like a more professional outfit than your competitor who didn’t bother to reply.Like you whenever I’ve hired people I have always either emailed or telephoned anybody I’ve interviewed and tried to give positive feedback. I always try to remember how I felt as a graduate looking for a job and the people who helped me even if they didn’t have a post for me.I guess for me it’s about trying to create good karma

          15. Donna Brewington White

            I’m just responding so that you know I received your comment. (-:Thanks.Points well-taken. The “rightness” of responding to candidates is not in question. It’s just a matter of how to manage it all with the resources at hand.

          16. RichardF

            lol…thanks that’s much appreciated :)I think technology can help you manage that process quite easily. Seeing as most people either apply via email or put an email address in their resume we just have a couple of standard templates set up to go (we also have letters but don’t use them so much these days) One template for unsolicited enquiries and then one which is more tailored if it is a response to a position that we are looking to fill.The other alternative (which I don’t like so much but can be useful if you are absolutely inundated) is to place an auto responder on the email address that you publish when you are looking to recruit (something like [email protected]) that thanks the applicant for their application and if their application is of interest you will be in touch.

        3. Dave Pinsen

          I like your general idea. If it were announced afterwords, it would still spur more applicants the next time, but for a company such as Fred’s where they’re only hiring a couple of candidates every couple of years or so, that probably wouldn’t be a big issue.Not sure if a a speed pitch credit would be worthwhile for USV or the candidates though. I assume most of the candidates don’t currently have start-ups, otherwise they wouldn’t be applying for the job. So they would be coming up with an idea and be looking for seed funding. Maybe USV could offer them a credit or an intro to a local start-up incubator or angel network or something like that.

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      Seth Godin did something interesting for the people he didn’t choose when he was recruiting for interns (he also asked for online presence). He gave them something online to work with him. He wasn’t paying but they would get some exposure on his blog and it was supposed to be fun. 60 of 150 accepted. You have to be careful, though, so you don’t make it unfair for them.In that process he also did something quite innovative. He created a Facebook group for the candidates and observed how they got along to help him choose.You can read some more details in his blog:http://sethgodin.typepad.co

      1. paramendra

        “He created a Facebook group for the candidates …..”I think it would be cool if USV created an opt in Facebook group for the 400 plus. It would mostly be the alumni of those who did not get in. 🙂

      2. Tereza

        +1Fernando that is a terrific link to share and exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about. Great learnings in there.Why cut off or even disenfranchise a whole bunch of people who have identified themselves as Friendlies. There may be future ways you can help each other.

        1. ShanaC

          Honestly an even better idea is to have them “Speed date” each other for the sake of starting things. Once you see so many people, you might as well play pseudo-matchmaker for all sorts of dreams. And plus you will help other people make connections- it won;t be so bilateral (USV to person- it would be person- person-person to USV)

          1. Tereza

            I like that idea!

          2. ShanaC

            Thank you.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            You might lose some top candidates by facilitating this though too..

          4. ShanaC

            If it were afterwards?besides- destiny is not written in stone, it is something you do in part choose.

    3. Guest

      This is a great idea, Tereza … I own a private tutoring company. What do we offer to all the people who apply for our regional manager positions we turn down? I’d love to know if anyone has any good ideas about how we can create contacts out of all the people we turn down ….

      1. Tereza

        It all comes down to what do you want and need, and what do they want and need.What are these ‘contacts’ meant to do for you? Define that.Before we get specific to your business, I’d guess that the type of person applying for that job probably wants to walk away from the process feeling they were listened to, their experience respected, and their time respected. They probably also are short on cash.So for starters, how about a thank you of a $100 Amex card for their time (I’m assuming here people you actually brought in). Pays for gas money, dry cleaning their suit, and a little goodwill. They’d be delighted.But there’s a catch. To get the gift card, they need to write, in 140 characters or less, the one change they’d suggest be made to your business that would make the most impact. Through this you get great info, and they feel listened to.Then let’s say your current business challenge is to drive more new students to become customers. So offer them participation in a referral program where they get paid $50 (? – give them our full margin) per new student they send who sits through and pays for a first session.Finally, do you have any ad hoc management projects hat need to get done that your people don’t have time for, like writing an Employee Manual? If any can be carved out and subcontracted, offer those opportunities to your favorite candidates first. Gives them cash, gives you exposure, keeps them on tap.I just made this all up on the fly but hopefully it gives you something to chew on…Tereza

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Tereza — When do you have time to think of these things? You are brilliant!

          1. Tereza

            Hey thanks. Thought of it while driving from a meeting; typed it on iphone in a parking lot.You can come up with lots when you turn off the radio. :-)I need to do blog posts like this, though. That’s harder.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        This is not a response to share mechanics on how to create contacts out of people you turn down, but just to second the idea that this can be extremely valuable. Many in my network are candidates that I got to know during a search and when they didn’t get the job we stayed in touch. Sometimes they’ve eventually become clients — gotta love that! (Meaning they hire me to conduct searches for their company.) This is an instance in which the way you handle the turn down will make all the difference. In my case, inviting them to join me on LinkedIn is a good next step. I also place myself at their disposal as a source of advice or introductions to other contacts. If you’ve got a newsletter, ask if you can place them on your mailing list. Etc.

    4. JLM

      Great ideas. With that much talent, the list alone is worth something.

    5. fredwilson

      we’ve done something like this in the past and we’d like to do it again. but agreeing to take 398 pitches is quite a committment

      1. Tereza

        No doubt. Have to structure the right thing.Or maybe host a Castoffs Meetup, and per Shana’s suggestion let them speed-date on venture ideas, and have a certain number of slots for open mike 15-sec pitches.And the winners who did get the jobs get to organize it!

      2. Donna Brewington White

        had to edit this — my original reply to Fred was replaced with something else — very strange…guess it’s time to sign off…

    6. andyswan

      The 398+ losers should be publicly shamed, not rewarded. The path to mediocrity is paved with 4th-place ribbons.I will take my flogging in the public square, sir. My enemies will know my weaknesses, but they will know that I am keenly aware of them as well. My suitors will know my flaws, but will see the strength of my resolve.Sterilize the wound.Win.

      1. Tereza

        Andy, sorry to hear those recurring nightmares about Sister Mary Bernadette, the systemic beatings, and the isolation she imposed on you following your role in the infamous 3rd Grad Glued Shorts Incident. Help is just a phone call away…but you, Andy, have to take the first step.

  11. Christian Brucculeri

    I’ve checked the web presence of every potential hire I’ve made: Facebook, Twitter and Google. I have to say though, I’ve found LinkedIn a poor replacement for a resume.

  12. HowieG

    FredThis is 100% a reflection of people wishing to work with you, more so than the applicants hoping to get into VC, or even the soft economy. The VC world is very exciting and intellectually challenging/engaging/Stimulating. But I doubt the other Investment Firms get such a response. Another big win for Social Media which this blog is.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I bet that’s true. The integrity of wanting to view someone’s web presence as part of the “application process” is that social media is the whole context of this recruiting effort — starting with Fred’s investment in social media to begin with, e.g., this blog, et al.

  13. Anne T. Monopoly

    You didn’t grasp the drift of Fred’s post and USV’s approach to finding talent at all.In 1962 the Beatles were four “dime a dozen” scruffy musicians from a rough and tumble working class city. None were Ivy League Grads. None of them could have gotten a job emptying the waste baskets at a recording studio. All the same, Brian Epstein and George Martin thought they might have a bit of talent and bet on them. They did pretty well.Today’s your golden opportunity to stop living life as a rude sonofabitch. Take advantage of it.

  14. ShanaC

    Why is this here and not on USV blog? Shouldn’t this be something the firm announces.(Though I seriously feel for you)

    1. fredwilson

      albert was having trouble posting this morning on usv.com. he’ll get what was broken fixed but i wanted to get the word out asap given that the deadline is monday.

      1. ShanaC

        Ok. I mean it is fair to those applying. It just gave me a pause for amoment.

    2. fredwilson

      the usv post went up yesterday eveninghttp://www.unionsquareventu…

      1. ShanaC

        Thank you so much for informing me, though I still wonder what broke in the first place.

        1. fredwilson

          moveable type or at least our implementation of it

  15. CamiloALopez

    That is a lot of profiles to look at! After the first few dozens you will get cross-eyed. I am glad I applied the first day. ;)Good Luck making the decision, I am sure you will get a very qualified teammate.

  16. Keith B. Nowak

    What a testament to the caliber of Union Square Ventures and the team. Spending 2 years in either position will be totally life changing, as I am sure both Eric and Andrew can attest to.

  17. paramendra

    I wonder how many applicants you got the last time you did this.

  18. DaveGaspar

    Fred – Why don’t you just crowd source the applicants. If there are too many candidates to review and the process is too onerous, considering the massive social presence most candidates will have, you can use the power of the crowd to reduce the applicant pool to a manageable size from which you and Albert can select the finalists. There are some obvious issues here including privacy and the fact that an applicant’s current employer may not know they are looking for a new job, but its got to be better than the alternative. You have the loyal web following who would be thrilled to be part of the process.

    1. Tereza

      Hey Dave! Thanks for the heads-up yesterday.This is an interesting idea….the crowdsourced evals.Let’s DM to catch up.

    2. paramendra

      A very bad idea. Starting with privacy issues. What would be a good idea is to display the online presences of the final two.

    3. fredwilson

      trust me, we thought about it!

  19. Dylan Salisbury

    The “we’re not prudes” policy works for a boutique, but isn’t sufficient for a large company. The traditional hiring process protects the company against some kinds of discrimination claims. A company that checks out every applicant’s online presence before doing a phone screen would have trouble against a claim that members of a protected group were disproportionally passed by.There’s an opportunity out there to let large enterprises obtain this value in finding an evaluating candidates, while protecting the company and job-seekers against legal and ethical problems. It might be as simple as putting procedures and auditing into the process, or it could involve a third party that presents a scrubbed view of the data to the employer.

    1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

      It saddens me but unfortunately I think you’re right.

      1. Dylan Salisbury

        Which part saddens you? Hopefully not the opportunity part 😉 A company with dozens or even thousands of hiring managers can’t let them run independently with simplistic hiring guidance like “be fair” or “don’t discriminate” — that’s a fact of life that points to a business opportunity. Our legal system protects against unfair treatment to protected groups — that’s generally a good thing, but it means great business ideas change as they scale.

        1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

          Yep.What saddens me is that the mantra of telling HR departments to just chuckthe CV/fake cover letter and treat applicants as full human beings is notsufficient. There will always be rules and procedures and in some ways theprocess will always be robotic (for example the way Google handles hiringseems supremely suboptimal to me).It should be expected of course, but it’s still saddening to hear.

  20. Brook

    Fred. I think you “owe” us a post. Just kidding (kind of not). This should not count as post. A lot of your readers come to your blog to learn, be entertained, to gain something. Since, you’ve gone to blogging every other day, my education has been hindered. You are kind of like Barkley pre-Suns days. You are a role model even if you don’t want to be. You have a greater responsibility to deliver a “quality” post. Don’t get upset. This is a compliment. Best. Brook.

    1. paramendra

      He h-a-s been blogging daily. Which day did he miss?

    2. fredwilson

      that was an april fools joke. sorry about that. i am still blogging once a day.

  21. Gorilla44

    Tereza – do you do anything other than comment on AVC all day? Just kidding.I’m sure there will be dozens of highly intelligent and highly qualified candidates for these positions. Getting a job in VC is next to impossible, especially today. Usually firms just stick with the typical HBS, Wharton, or Stanford MBAs for their open associate positions and the occasional entrepreneur that they have worked with when they want to add a partner. Today, with many venture firms vaporizing, there are a ton of experienced analysts and associates out there to choose from if USV decides to go that route.Having run a couple of startups and having raised millions in VC (in the biomedical field), I strongly believe that the best VCs are former entrepreneurs. I’m not saying that all entrepreneurs would become good VCs (that’s definitely not the case). But, the best VCs that I have worked with once walked in my shoes.I wonder if there is any data that has looked at returns for VC partners with different backgrounds – consulting/i-banking vs entrepreneur. So many firms have both that it would be difficult to tease that out. Plus many people have both backgrounds.I’m kind of rambling – but I do want to add that USV does not owe any candidate anything other than “Thanks for applying.” Who said that they need to build a connection with 400 junior candidates. Do you really think that if these candidates decide to start a business one day that they will not still try to pitch Fred?Fred – don’t waste your time with any special gifts or pitch opportunities for these candidates. It is not needed.The Golden Rule – People with the gold make the rules.

    1. Tereza

      haha Gorilla44it was a heavy AVC week for me.signing off now. TGIF

    2. Mihai Badoiu

      (so far) The 2 most famous venture capitalists are Tom Perkins and John Doerr. They weren’t entrepreneurs, and they haven’t worked in i-banking. (in fact, Perkins doesn’t like i-bankers: http://online.wsj.com/artic… Perkins worked in consulting for only 1 year. He did spend several years at HP. Doerr was at Intel. What do they have in common? HBS.In his bibliography, Perkins mentions “the general” Georges Doriot, which along with a few others is considered to have invented VC. He also went to HBS.Can’t help but wonder if there’s something to this correlation.

  22. popedotninja

    400+ hundred resumes? It’d take about 8 hours to review all of them.

    1. Mihai Badoiu

      Fred said 400 applications, not applicants. Since many applied to both, there are probably around 250-300 applicants.

  23. Tereza

    +1Interested in both those topics

  24. fredwilson

    well remember that ning is still free for the people who use the networks, just not the person who operates the networks

  25. ShanaC

    And for your comments two days ago? about anonymous comments?

  26. Matt A. Myers

    No credibility really either…”Ivy Leage Grad” person should be concerned about their own character and not reputation, their own and Eric’s. If he/she did then they’d probably drop some of their misplaced anger, and not be judging someone on perceived reputation, and not Eric’s character and I doubt they know his character considering no personal referencing; I don’t know Eric either, but I’ve met Fred and I don’t get that energy from him.Re-read my comment and its flow sucks a bit, but my brain hurts from too much thinking this week – so I’m not re-writing it though. Sorry. 😛

  27. Charlie Crystle

    reading now

  28. ShanaC

    Actually- you advocated for dual layer anonymity, not a bad plan (I likedit)- I’ve seen elements of this before.http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…At least I’m listening!

  29. ShanaC

    Thank you: I keep track of this stuff if only because of This comment of mine*And sites like these: http://abovethelaw.com/Not everywhere is here.*Note that same district is up for an election, 3 seats are in play, and it’s already bitter, again.