How to Hire In 4 Days // I'm Aaron from Vervoe, and studied how our 4000+ companies regularly do this. AMA.

Aaron Cohn
Jan 11, 2018

Hey all -- Aaron here 👋

I run community at a venture-backed startup called Vervoe, and teach Entrepreneurship on the side at Binghamton University. I've been living and breathing hiring & HR for the last 6 years (with a particular focus on startups & tech companies). 

The 4000+ companies that use Vervoe regularly post a job Monday, and make a hire by Friday. I'm happy to share all about how I've seen them do it.

You can also ask about:

  • How to hire, with only meeting 1 or 2 candidates in-person
  • Why you should give candidates mini-challenges before extending an offer
  • What Chefs "get" about hiring that you don't ;)
  • Automating your hiring process
  • Under-appreciated tactics for building a diverse team

Anything hiring/recruiting/culture is fair game though.




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Conversation (68)

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How much of the client's fee goes to the service providers?

Jan 13, 1:19PM EST0

What services is mostly demanded for by clients?

Jan 12, 3:40PM EST0

How do you source your freelancers? Do you allow them to apply to your site or do you have another channel for the application?

Jan 12, 8:38AM EST0

Oftentimes Angelist -- and yes, we always have them apply through Vervoe and complete a few on-the-job tasks (to get a sense of their work) before bringing one on.

Jan 12, 10:46AM EST0

What guarantees do you offer to your clients over employees/freelancers credibility?

Jan 12, 6:24AM EST0

Here's what we've seen: if you use some sort of assessment to give candidates the chance to show their skillset before hiring them, you have a much better sense of what they can do, and dramatically decrease the likelihood of a poor hire.

Jan 12, 11:21AM EST0

How is Vervo different from other freelancing platforms such as Upwork, Guru.com and the like?

Jan 12, 5:15AM EST0

Upwork and other freelancing platforms are amazing at helping you find ~100 applicants, but Vervoe helps you get from 100 to the top 1-2 really quickly (using on-the-job tasks). 

Jan 12, 11:22AM EST0

How many freelancers are steady with Vervo? Do you have enough supply for a possible surge of demands?

Jan 12, 4:40AM EST0

Don't think of Vervoe as a freelancing platform like Upwork. Rather, it's a tool for employers that helps you identify the top 1-2 candidates out of a pool of many, using online simulations to let candidates prove their skills.

Jan 12, 11:36AM EST0

What are the common setbacks of hiring these days? Why do you think so?

Jan 10, 11:12PM EST0

From what I've observed, hiring managers these days fall into one of two camps:

1) They get dozens (sometimes hundreds) of resumes, are overwhelmed because they all look the same, and it's a huge time-suck as they attempt to narrow from 100 candidates to the top 2-3. Lots of scheduling phone interviews, in-person interviews, etc. As for why, I think it's just because that's the way "things have always been done." And perhaps an overconfidence in the quality of information you get about someone from their resume or a phone screen.

2) Hiring managers can't get anyone to apply...at least not the right people. It's the opposite problem -- and I think it's an overreliance on a "if you build it they will come" mentality. Meaning that many hiring managers think "okay, I made my post on LinkedIn and Indeed, now let me wait for candidates to come to me." But that only works if your employer has an established brand or following. If you're a bit newer, there's no substitute for niche job boards, and individual, semi-personalized reachouts to prospective candidates to fill your pipeline.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 3:33PM EST.
Jan 11, 10:47AM EST0
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On your website, Facebook and LinkedIn seemed to be the best source of candidates. Do you get to have a good turnaround using these sites? Where else do you source out candidates?

Jan 10, 9:40PM EST0

Those are good, but I'm also a huge fan of niche job boards. For example:

  • Startups/Tech: Angelist, the Muse
  • Nonprofits: Idealist
  • Developers: Stack Overflow, Github
  • Designers: Dribble
  • Marketers: Grow.co
  • Community: CMX Hub
  • Interns/Entry Level: WayUp
  • Remote: remote.co, flexjobs

Of course, internal referrals are powerful as well. Would experiment with different types of incentives, and even perhaps software (there's a lot out there).

Lastly, your biggest fans can sometimes turn into your best employees, You can certainly advertise openings on your company's social pages, emails, etc.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:25AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:09AM EST0

Is Vervoe good for seeking for a team which we can outsource our works?

Jan 10, 6:18PM EST0

Vervoe is exceptionally well suited for finding outsourcers or remote team members, since it lets you get a real sense of someone's work before you officially bring them on (and helps you quickly identify those who look good on paper, but are actually not a fit).

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:24AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:08AM EST0

I'm sold, will check it out.

Jan 11, 11:29AM EST1

Does Vervoe cater to international clients and job seekers?

Jan 10, 5:31PM EST0

Absolutely -- we've had employers in 70+ countries use the platform (and design assessments in dozens of different languages).

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:24AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:07AM EST0

Evaluating candidates using on-the-job tasks, why do you think this works well?

Jan 10, 3:46PM EST0

When you give candidates on-the-job tasks, it becomes REALLY clear who the best people are, in an incredibly short amount of time (with not a lot of work on your part). And you learn far more from seeing someone's work that you do from looking at dozens of resumes that all look the same, and scheduling endless phone screens where everyone sounds great.

You wouldn't hire a teacher without watching him/her, just as you wouldn't hire a developer without looking at his/her code. Yet for the vast majority of jobs, people are hired based on their background alone, without ever needing to prove their skills.

We think the ideal hiring process is closer to how Chefs hire. They invite candidates to spend a night in their kitchen, seeing how they work. And ultimately, can they cook? How does their food taste? It's not about your background, but rather, how you can perform.

So we help you hire like a Chef, except for 200 people in 20 minutes, simultaneously.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:24AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:07AM EST1
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How does this apply to working with a remote or offsite team? What if you never actually meet a person face to face?

Jan 10, 2:04PM EST0

Hiring without meeting face-to-face is becoming far, far more common in 2018. Many of our clients hire remotely; and even then, less and less are seeing the need for live discussions until they reach the top 1-2 candidates.

Jan 11, 10:04AM EST1

Are there policies and guidelines that are implemented to protect both employer and candidates?

Jan 10, 6:16AM EST0

Good q. We have terms and conditions that aim to protect everyone, plus a customer success team that monitors activity on the site.

Jan 11, 10:02AM EST0
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As a professor, how do you encourage students to become entrepreneurs?

Jan 10, 12:56AM EST1

It's mostly about helping them stumble upon an idea they're truly excited about. An idea at the intersection of what they care about, and what they're good at. Then the tricky part is helping them laser focused on building (making prototypes) and selling (at least getting out there and talking to customers). This is a Paul Graham thing, but it's easy to "play house" as an early stage entrepreneur, focusing on things like incorporating, social media, and dreaming up all the features you'd ever want long before finding product-market fit.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:24AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:01AM EST2
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What are the challenges of working for a startup ?

Jan 10, 12:41AM EST1

I'd say it's managing the highs and lows. One day an exciting new customer asks for a demo of your product. The next day they ghost :( The next day you get some nice press, then a partnership you've been working on for weeks falls through. The challenge is remaining persistent, and having resiliency through it all.

That said, when you know a few thousand startups and small businesses are depending on your software to manage the most important part of their business -- their hiring -- that's the biggest motivator to keep going.

I think being part of something with a big mission is one of the most rewarding parts about startups in general, and that's what makes the challenges worth it.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:24AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:01AM EST1

What are the challenges of new entrepreneurs these days? Would you recommend hiring freelancers to do the job? Why or why not?

Jan 9, 10:55PM EST0

The biggest challenge for new entrepreneurs is still (and always will be) finding product-market fit. In other words, creating a product or service and a niche group of people depend on, and are happy to pay good money for.

In order to get there, you have to create lots of prototypes that aren't pretty, and put them into users hands. Soon after, you need to ask for money, to see if people want it badly enough that they'll pay for it as is, warts and all.

My take is you're better off having a founding team to figure out product market fit with over hiring freelancers. It's always best if you have some sort of history with whomever you're working with, and you can divide duties such that one person is focused on selling + talking to customers, while the other one or two parters are focused on building.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:24AM EST.
Jan 11, 10:00AM EST1

How does Vervoe differ from work sites like Upwork and Hubstaff?

Jan 9, 12:32PM EST0

Super different products, but here's a good analogy: Upwork is amazing at helping you find you 100 applicants, but Vervoe helps you get from 100 to the top 1-2 really quickly (using on-the-job tasks). Our customers -- all 4,000 of them -- are companies who want to hire the right person in less time.

I don't know as much about Hubstaff, but my understanding is that it's for time tracking?

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:23AM EST.
Jan 11, 9:59AM EST1

Do you know any marketplace specialized in music composers that you could recommend me?

Jan 16, 9:35AM EST0

Can you share to us a little bit of your background and how you ended up in teaching and in HR?

Jan 9, 11:53AM EST0

Sure! Started out right after college doing Management Consulting at PwC, specifically focused on HR, recruiting, and culture at financial services institutions. We'd go into some pretty messy situations, do lots of interviews, and often times try an intervention with the individual(s) at the root of the problem.

Then I made the jump into startups by launching an on-demand laundry service called "LaundryPuppy", where you sent a text to get your clothes picked up, you received back a puppy pic of the day, and then we "fetched" your laundry. It got acquired, worked with the new company, but then wanted to go back to my HR roots. 

More recently, started "happybot", a slackbot that attempted to make you happier at work. Unfortunately, I live in NYC where no one wants to be happy ;) So it became sadbot, and had to shut it down. Around that time I stumbled upon Vervoe, loved how they were solving the hiring problem, and here we are.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:23AM EST.
Jan 11, 9:48AM EST1

Can you name the under-appreciated tactics of building a team?

Jan 9, 9:28AM EST0

Great question. Frequent 1-on-1s, without an agenda, where you and someone from your team take a walk. If you're all together in an office, team lunch (at least once in awhile) is powerful. Team karaoke -- provided everyone agrees to leave their phones in their bags! -- is also under-appreciated.

Know it isn't cheap, but if your team is small enough, the best founders I know swear by the team retreat to someplace interesting. It might very well be the best way to build trust, authentic connection, and boost your likelihood of retaining team members for the long term.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:23AM EST.
Jan 11, 9:47AM EST0
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How do you make sure that there are no scammers or bogus clients/candidates?

Jan 9, 8:59AM EST0

Candidates choosing whether or not to complete an assessment is a powerful self-selection process. Only serious ones complete it, and the additional effort needed tends to keep the trolls out.

We’re also about to implement Immersive assessments, whereby everything will happen in-app and sessions can be recorded.

Last edited @ Jan 11, 11:23AM EST.
Jan 11, 9:46AM EST0
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