Recruitment in the future is like sex only losers will have to pay

The phrase in the title is not original, I admit. (The original discussion is about the future of internet marketing and advertising, see here)

Hiring great people and building great teams is not trivial. However, there is one very simple rule I follow about hiring  great talents: good people like to work with good people!

Also, talented people are looking for specific jobs, It is not just about the benefits, and in many cases it’s not about the benefits at all (although, I think that there should be an upside for all the hard work being put). People are looking for challenges they would like to tackle, either or both product challenges or technical challenges. Many people I like working with are passionate about what they do and consider themselves fortunate to have the opportunity to professionally do what they love, make meaning and grow personally.

Good people don’t look for jobs on a ‘first come first served basis’, they know what they would like to do next and identify a good opportunity when they see it. Usually they put their eyes on specific companies/roles/challenges they’d like to do.

The best sources for great talent are people you’ve worked with before and know already what they are capable of, the second best source for good candidates comes from references by friends and business colleagues. The worst (and most expensive!) source for recruitment is resumes from recruitment agencies (paid resumes). Very similar to web leads and traffic sources – organic is best, paid is worst.

There isn’t a single activity you do to build a pipeline of excellent candidate who will want to work for you. You should continuously spend your energy in helping the people you’d like to work with find you. This includes social networking online and offline. In addition, you should create value by blogging, sharing presentations, organizing working groups, etc. These all help other learn about what you do and how.

When analyzing our team at SaaSPulse (soon to be rebranded), I find:

  • 30% – Had prior working history with
  • 40% – Referred by our friends
  • 30% – Through social activity

Together with Ori Lahav, founder and CTO of Outbrain we came up with term ‘Inbound Recruiting’. It simply works and helps you build great team.

And of course, If you find this the right point in your life to look for new challenges, I’ll be happy to talk!

Special Tip – working with graphic designers

Getting a good product visual design is not a trivial task neither working with graphic designers. The product design progresses over time as more learning is being added, while changes needs to implemented fast.

When I first started to interview free-lance designers and designer firms to work with us at Totango I didn’t know a lot about what I’m looking for and how to define it. I wasn’t clear on the requirements and I confused those designers I met with.

My intention was simple (too me), I wanted a modern, clean and user centric design for the product. (Who wouldn’t want that?)

Through the process I learned how to create an aesthetic product design while working effectively with my designers. I’m happy to share with you my tips.

Communication

Most of us grew up in engineering, product management or marketing. We didn’t go to art schools and were not born with the right terminology, so for this reason it’s critical to work on communication with your designers from day 1. To objective it to make sure you’re able to clearly articulate what you want and for the designer to understand and follow you’re guidelines, while still keeping artistic freedom for innovation. More on the next point. Face time (or phone time) is mandatory for that matter. The second aspect which makes breaks communication barriers is to work in small incremental iterations, see next.

Iterative Design

Some design firms will limit the number of iterations to 2 or 3 in order to save labor cost. This is totally wrong! I created a new engagement with my designers where we’re working by a bi-weekly fixed contract. The reason is to be able to iterate as much as possible while nobody looses. The only way I found effective to work together and develop a common langage is for the designer to create a mockup quickly (few mockups per day) so I can comment and push the process forward. It’s faster, it’s more effective and it’s fun, as designers look for feedback fast and early before moving on.

Incremental Design (No Concept!)

In a lean startup, one of the key traits of the startup is it’s ability to pivot and switch concepts. The user interface, as being in front of the customers, will change most. So, there is no point in a contract based on a single concept (as some design companies want), as concepts change/shift over time and the design should support it. In addition, you don’t have enough information to feed conceptual design at the beginning.

By following these three concepts, building a common language, iterating fast and a lot, and working towards incremental product design, I was able to invest just what it needed to create a product design which was always aesthetic and professional and meets the current state of the product and company learning.

I hope this tip will help you, and I wish I knew this a year ago, once I started my journey, as it would have helped me a lot.

One last note, if you enjoy tips like this, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to share more.

Status of private beta

I’m using this post to update on the beta status of our service at SaaSPulse.

In the past few weeks, Omer and I were demoing our product to prospective customers and people in the industry which we value their opinion. We’ve set up a demo account on our service, which is basically our beta system with dummy data of a fictions IT Service Management SaaS company named GoodService.com.

We’ve created this demo for two reasons: To encourage feedback, people prefer to look at live systems and not just presentations, and to get attention of potential customers to participate in our private beta, so we gain additional valuable feedback.

The good news, is that most of the SaaS businesses which we’ve demoed to would like to start using the service based on it’s current feature set. Obviously these are very good signs for us. So we’re working extremely hard to be able to ramp up more customers than we initially anticipated (as a side note, I’m really glad we’ve chosen Amazon Web Services for our infrastructure, this way it’s much simpler for us to scale faster).

With the increased capacity we are able to add more business to our service every week. If you’re interested, just let us know here.

We’re also about to setup a company blog to report update statuses more frequently, so please be sure to take a look in few days.

Customer 360 at SaaSPulse

These are exciting times at SaaSPulse. We’re ramping up our service, and adding more customers every week. We’re getting great feedback from our users and incorporating this feedback back into our service, thus increasing our customer’s satisfaction.

We focus on our velocity! Yes, it’s important for a startup to move fast and in the right direction. We are making sure we release new features and improvements few times every week. We collect the feedback directly from our customers and implement those changes back into the product. That’s not easy, and not having bi-weekly or monthly release cycles can take it’s tolls from the team, however, it’s exciting to see our service morph into something which is exactly what customers *need*.

Please note that I’m using the term ‘customer need’ and not what customer’s want. The greatest challenge in delivering products to market is to build constructive dialog with the customers. The challenge is even greater when customers are web users in the SaaS model for example where, in most cases, no direct communication is possible. The fact that it’s difficult to gain customer feedback doesn’t relief product/service business owners from striving to highly-effective and efficient communication with their customers.

Our approach to address customer communication challenges is be what we call ‘Customer 360’. Track, analyze and act-on all customer interaction channels with our service. Customer 360, is a customer centric approach for web business and services to better understand their customer by observing all the channels of interaction of named customers with their web business/service. This is what we do, and with our service, this is what our customers do. The result are amazing!

Soon enough, as we incorporate more customer feedback into our system, we’ll be able to open our service with no limits. If you’re interested in hearing more, please drop by our web site and leave you contact details.

Looking to sublease office space (Israel)

Update: It wasn’t long till we subleased space (24h!), we’re now happily sharing office space with OutBrain.

We’re ramping up the SaaSPulse team , so we can’t work out of our homes anymore.

We’re looking to sub-lease office space in the center of Israel. Preferably in Poleg or Herzelia. We need place for up to four people (until we move again). In addition we really care about a lot of sun light, and good office energy.

If you’re connected to me on LinkedIn, you probably got my query, if not, than first, please do connect with me on LinkedIn ;), and if you happen to know of such vacancy, please drop me a line.

Thanks – Guy

Leaving a mark…

I was driving the CA-101 a month ago, and heard “My Girl” song by the temptations.

Than it occurred to me, I told Omer, my partner, this is what we’re going to do differently in our  new company.

In the same way this beautiful song moves me and many more people world wide, we’re going to make sure that our company is going to touch people similarly.

How do we do this in high-tech and startup company, this is yet to be seen, specifically in enterprise software, but we sure going to try.

In the mean time, enjoy this great song!