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How to hire tech execs at your startup without losing your mind

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. If you’re feeling stressed, please watch this soothing TikTok of Kevin Bacon walking his horse . Today: tips for finding tech execs — but don’t fire your recruiting firm yet. Plus, Apple workers petition for more flexible WFH policies, and banks pay big fines when their employees use unapproved messaging apps.

— Meg Morrone, senior editor ( email | twitter )

How to hire startup execs without losing your mind

The market for talent at all levels is still wildly competitive, even in a downturn. Strong C-level and VP-level talent is particularly hard to find, and even harder to close.

“The pool of highly capable execs to take a startup from one inflection point or another is scarce,” Vivek Ravisankar, the co-founder and CEO of HackerRank, told Protocol. Ravisankar’s sourcing process takes inspiration from Vinod Khosla’s “gene pool engineering” recruiting advice:

  • Identify the specific risks that your company faces and determine the skills needed to face those risks.
  • Find the companies that have dealt with those risks — think of these as “must-have” abilities.
  • Research the contributions of key players within those companies.

Ravisankar still uses recruiters, though he said he cringes at the six-figure bill.

  • The highly specialized recruiters who focus on a particular discipline, like marketing or finance, tend to hear back from more candidates more frequently than Ravisankar does himself, he said.
  • “Based on their previous relationships or past relationships, they’re able to tap their network to get intros to other candidates,” Ravisankar said. “Which is hard for me to do independently.”
  • Ravisankar said he’s still not sure that capability is worth $100,000, “but that’s the going market, so I don’t have an option, I guess.”

Be the candidate’s personal concierge: Ravisankar said he’s found success giving candidates “VIP service.”

  • He has his own executive assistant schedule up the candidate’s interviews, typically a job that outside recruiters take on.
  • He also introduces the candidate to other interviewers, personally prepares the candidate for each interview stage — “Who they are meeting; if they’re meeting a CRO, what’s his or her personality, what do they look for?” — and checks in with how the candidate is doing throughout the process.
  • “All I’m doing is sending an email and having my EA set it up,” Ravisankar said. “All these little things will certainly play in the minds when the candidate is faced with a choice of ‘Should I pick A or B?’ at the end.”

Ravisankar asks candidates to weigh in on real situations he’s dealing with at HackerRank. “It makes it feel like you’re actually working together,” Ravisankar said. “I’m less interested if they come up with the correct solution or not, but more around thought process.”

— Allison Levitsky, reporter ( email | twitter )

Apple workers aren’t going back without a fight

Apple employees launched a petition Monday pushing back on the company's return-to-office policy, saying workers have "performed exceptional work" inside and outside traditional office environments.

Apple Together, the group of workers behind the #AppleToo movement, is urging the company to allow each employee to work directly with their manager to determine what work arrangement is best for them. Employees also ask that work arrangements not require "higher-level approvals, complex procedures" or the providing of private information.

Read the full story.

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By the numbers

Don’t use an app for that.

Here are the dollar figures that some of the big banks have earmarked to pay in fines to the SEC just for using unapproved messaging apps, including WhatsApp .

  • $200 million: JP Morgan Chase & Co
  • $125 million: Morgan Stanley
  • $200 million: Bank of America

Some personnel news

Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating or sinking. We’re here to help.

⬇️Hulu and other companies are cutting back on paid parental leave (beyond what’s required by law).

⬇️Ford is transitioning to electronic vehicles, but that means 3,000 layoffs .

⬆️Intel wants you.

For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.

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Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Are you as tired of hearing about quiet quitting as I am? (It’s not quitting! And when bright and capable employees start coasting at their jobs, it's a lot louder than you think!) Here are helpful tips for employees and their managers to help establish better work/life balance and remain productive . (Forbes)

Recruit like “Moneyball”: How focusing on the specific contributions each employee makes helps you build a better team. (Harvard Business Review)

Bye-bye Zoom Towns. Home prices are falling in Boise, Idaho, and other pandemic boom towns. (Bloomberg)

Find out if your boss hates you, or if they just want to kill you . (The Onion)

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to .

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