What is a Job Kit?
Investing in a new hire is a significant financial commitment - between the time spent recruiting, onboarding, and managing, as well as the cost of salary, equity, benefits, and other associated perks, it's likely to be a six- or even seven-figure investment over the course of the employee's career.
A job kit is your chance to really think deeply about who you want to hire, how you want to market the role, and how you want to find world-class talent. This may seem a bit heavy on the process side, but I've found that spending an extra few hours/days upfront leads to much, much better outcomes.
Start with defining the role you’re hiring for. Jot down a few notes on:
- What problems would you like your ideal candidate to tackle in 90 days? 365 days? 3 years? (You don't have to have 3 years fully figured out, but it's often helpful to know what this role could turn into to sharpen your pitch!)
- What are the three most important non-negotiable things you must have? (Yes, 3 – not 12!)
- What are some other nice-to-have things? (You can list more here, but they shouldn't all be considered "must haves"!)
- What level is this role? (If you aren't familiar with levels, it's worth doing a crash course, so you can make sure you are paying a competitive and fair comp package! Some resources: Dropbox Engineering Career Framework and Levels.fyi for compensation data)
- Who are three dream candidates for the role? (Note: you should check that your dream candidate's level actually matches the level you are hiring for… otherwise it may be an unrealistic dream candidate and you either need to up the level or ratchet down the expectations.)
Before continuing, review this with your manager, another founder, or whomever else can provide critical feedback. Getting this right is foundational to making a world-class hire!
Job Description / Pitch Practice
A job description is your chance to market this role to the world! Spend 15-30 minutes searching job sites of companies you look up to and see how they describe their roles. Borrow things you like. Try to add in your own flair. At Segment, we always tried to add a lot of emojis to make sure things really had that 💥💅‼️.
Here are a couple we like: Posthog (high transparency on compensation), and Plaid (“what excites you”/ “what excites us” is a great way to inspire applicants.
Once you've drafted the Job Description, try some Pitch Practice on a few folks at the company. Ask for their real feedback on whether or not the role actually sounds exciting. Note: this is a lot more uncomfortable to do than it sounds, but it's much better to land your first 3-5 "bad" pitches on an internal employee than on the best candidate ever!
Next, it's critical you come up with an interview slate, including a clear rubric for each question. A few tips:
- Figure out how you can get 80% of the signal in the first 20% of the process (pre-onsite!) with a recruiter screen and a hiring manager screen. Being effective here ensures that you're making the best use of your most valuable resource – your senior engineers' interview time!
- Don't just copy-paste someone else's rubric; remember, you are spending $X00,000 of the company's $ on this person!
- You should design your interviews around the three must-haves in the role spec above
A well-defined rubric is incredibly important in making sure you stay objective and fair in your process. The rubric you use should be tailored to the type of interview it is (e.g. a technical phone screen step, a take-home assessment, an on-site interview etc.), the level and the “must haves” in the role spec above. Note: ideally should not have too much opining on the "nice to haves." Clarity on this leads to better hiring outcomes and also a much more efficient interview process.
We’ve created two sample interview questions and rubrics (tried and tested!) for your use:
Live technical interview question and rubric
Take-home assessment question and rubric.
You should produce 3-5 of these questions (not all technical questions – remember, different questions should get different kinds of signal!).
You want your candidate to come to the interview prepared with no surprises.
- If you expect your candidate to do live coding on a computer on-site, ensure that they can either bring a laptop or you will have a laptop with their IDE of choice. Or, if you expect your candidate to do live coding virtually, be sure to provide any necessary tools or software they will need to download ahead of time.
- If you expect your candidate to be prepared to talk through past technical projects, give them a head's up that they may want to think about projects that fit [XYZ] criteria.
- If you are having your candidate meet the full cross-functional team, give them a head's up about what each conversation will be about.
Interviewing is stressful as a candidate; do whatever you can to help them put their best foot forward! Remember that if you prioritize diversity and inclusion at your organization, you need to invest in interviewing practices that will attract this talent . This takes a little extra effort, but really will attract the best talent and help the right candidates shine on interview day.
Aim to always give the candidate more information, not less information. As a rule of thumb, once a candidate gets in your process, it's best to have communication with them every 2-3 days (even if nothing is happening). If you have someone who gets out of your loop and is doing well, you want either the recruiter or the hiring manager to be sending text messages to them.
Watch the full interview where we deep dive on all of the topics above here!