Stripe’s Hiring Experiment

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It’s well known that payment facilitators are toying with and improving payments mechanisms all over the world, but one PF—Stripe—is also getting rather creating about hiring the talent to make those new age payments happen.

In an experiment called Bring Your Own Team (and like any PF, it feels the need to generate an acronym. Hence: BYOT), the company has set up its HR job applications to allow one application to be linked with as many as five others. If the group passes initial inspection, they are given the same interview day/time. If the group crosses the HR hiring finish line, they will be asked to all start on the same day.

In a blog post by Stripe engineering manager Avi Bryant, the rationale for the trial is made explicit. A key part of the magic of workgroups is getting groups that get along with each other and already work well together.

“Do you know anyone who makes you incredibly better at what you do? People who motivate and inspire you, complement your strengths and shore up your weaknesses, help you achieve things you could never do on your own? Maybe it’s your old co-founders, your college roommates, your collaborators on an open source project, or even your siblings; whoever it is, you’re stronger as a team than you are apart. Working together, each of you has a valuable advantage—you could call it a network effect—over anyone who works alone,” Bryant said. “Startup investors know this. That’s why firms like Y Combinator discourage solo applicants and focus so much on the makeup of a founding team.”

The interview process includes “at least one interview problem that you can work on as a team. If we make an offer, we’ll make it to all of you, at the same time; you’d all be free to accept or decline individually, but of course we’d hope you’d all accept — and if you do, we’d work with all of you to find a place at Stripe where you can all start off working together,” Bryant said.

This is a really interesting idea, one that directly addresses the biggest problems that disrupt rapidly growing companies. Not unlike the Silicon Valley theory of bumping bozos on the org chart (described here. Just search for Bozo), this process acknowledges that working together well is a critical skill that is almost impossible to test for. Pretty clever. Then again, would we expect anything less from a PF?

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