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You're not FAANG so don't hire like FAANG

You are not looking for the same things and you cannot offer the same things.

You’ve read a lot about the FAANG hiring process

There is a lot of literature about how FAANG hires and how to get hired. Startups often try to emulate them, adopting as much of their practices as possible. The logic is that if it works for them, it should work for you also.

But you’re not FAANG

The circumstances are very different: neither your stack nor your hiring requirements are the same.

Acting as if you’re FAANG and hiring using similar processes is very harmful to an early-stage startup.

They need specialists

First of all, they need specialists, whereas you need generalists. Ideally, you get someone familiar with your industry.

They have an endless supply of applicants

Secondly, they get thousands of applications and need a generalized process to filter them. You will receive a lot fewer applications. So you can consider the value of each.

The don’t want to pass on anyone good

They also don’t want their process to eliminate anyone good regardless of whether they’re a right fit for the position advertised. They can figure out where to place them later. You can’t afford to hire someone who cannot produce from (nearly) the first day.

You’re also likely to be in hiring debt where the best time to have hired someone would have been yesterday. FAANG has plenty of people they can shuffle around.

Hiring away from the competition is also a consideration for them. You can’t afford that.

You should look for domain-specific knowledge

While they often need specific technical knowledge, they don’t need specific domain knowledge. For you, domain knowledge is a big benefit. Hiring someone who’s worked on a marketplace before, or at least has read this, is very useful.

They can afford it

They can also afford long periods, in some cases months, where the person goes through a training period and gets used to their tools. You, on the other hand, need someone as familiar with your tools as possible.

You can’t pay like FAANG

Furthermore, because you aren’t FAANG, you cannot offer compensation as FAANG. As compensation, startups often resort to two things:

1. Offering a FAANG-like change the world vision

Every company is trying to change the world. But it’s not 2007 anymore, and people are much more aware of success rates now.

Instead, a better approach is more measured and focuses on real problems you solve. These situations give you an elevated chance of success.

2. Try to compete on compensation

Some startups try to compete on compensation. Since they cannot compete on raw numbers, they dish out shares. They often do this by selling the vision of how their shares will be worth (m/b)illions. People are much more skeptical of this nowadays.

But you can offer mastery, autonomy, and purpose

Instead, the better approach is to offer a combination of mastery, autonomy and purpose to someone who buys into the vision completely.

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