Our approach to hiring
Our goal is to build a diverse, world-class team that allows us to act and iterate fast, with a high level of autonomy and innovation. So our hiring process is designed to optimize for 3 things - speed, quality and experience!
The following page outline how we hire here at PostHog.
All of our recruiting is done in-house, so we do not work with external agencies for any of our roles currently. We frequently receive unsolicited messages from agencies - sometimes 20 in a week - who want to work with us, and the best response is to simply ignore the message. If they attach any candidate profiles or resumés to their email, please do not open the attachment. If you are ever unsure what to do, feel free to forward any unsolicited messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deciding to hire
‘Talent Compounds’ is one of our values here at PostHog. We think carefully about each new role and the complexity it introduces to the organization. We also have an extremely high bar for the people we do hire!
We use Pry to plan our hiring forecast. We use the hiring forecast as a guide, but we have the ability to iterate on this at any time. We are super responsive to changes PostHog's needs.
For each new role, please open a new issue on the Ops & People project board and add all the requested information from the new hire form. Everyone in the company will have the opportunity to give their feedback on the proposed role, before we officially open ot.
How to write a great job description
We generally structure our job description in the following way, which Workable optimizes for:
- Describe the company, role and impact
- Skills needed in order to be successful
- What we offer in return
- Call to action
We have plenty of examples of previous roles available on Workable. Section 3 and 4 are also saved on Workable as templates, and can be copy/pasted from current roles. When writing a job description, make sure it’s written in a clear and engaging way, with our target audience in mind.
Once the details of the role have been agreed on, the talent team can add the role to Workable and all relevant job boards.
Workable will automatically add the role on our careers page, and publish the job descriptions on 17 free job boards, including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, AngelList etc. We also manually add the role to YC's Work at a Startup.
For certain roles, we also publish on other job boards.
- HackerNews Who's Hiring
- Tend to get high quality candidates, and people interested in working at startups.
- See Tim's comment history for a template.
- High volume of candidates, often low quality.
- Also high volume of candidates, similar quality.
Once the role is online, the People team will share the details with the team, to encourage referrals.
Every time we open a new role, we will share the details and ideal profile with the team during All Hands on Monday.
If you know someone who would be a great addition to the team, please submit them as a personal referral. If they're successfully hired, you'll receive a $2,500 referral bonus! The bonus can be either paid to you directly, or towards a charity of your choice (and we will match the amount). You can also split the amount between you and the charity.
Someone you have a personal or professional relationship with to confidently say they align with our values and fit our requirements. Please make sure the candidate has given their consent before putting them forward!
The Workable referral page makes it super easy to share open positions with your network. If you use the link created via Workable, it will automatically track the applications as a social referral.
If you have other referrals in your network (e.g. 2nd degree connections), who have either applied or might be relevant for us to reach out to, this also counts as a social referral.
The referral bonus for social referrals is $500, and we again match any amount you choose to give to charity.
What's the process?
- If there is an ongoing conversation, please ping Eltje into the email thread with the referred candidate, she will take it over from there.
- Otherwise, please upload the profile to the Workable referral page.
- If they have applied themselves already, let Eltje know within 48 hours of them applying.
The bonus date is 3 months from the new team member's start date and will be processed as part of payroll (you might be liable for income tax on the bonus).
We also welcome external referrals, e.g. from:
- From our investors
- From the PostHog community (the users Slack Group, and posting on our social media profiles for our followers to see)
- From the YC community (Slack / WhatsApp / Forum)
As a thank you, we will give you $50 credit for our merch shop.
All of our candidates are managed in Workable - please ask Eltje or Charles for an invite to view candidates, leave feedback, and schedule meetings.
We record all candidate-related comms on Workable so we can ensure we provide all candidates with the best experience we possibly can - even if they are unsuccessful, they should come away feeling like they had a great interaction with PostHog.
Workable is a pretty intuitive platform to use, but here are a few helpful tips to get you going
- A guide to getting started with the basics - this is pretty much everything you need if you are mainly using Workable to leave feedback on candidates you've met, but are otherwise not involved in the recruitment process.
- Link your Gmail account in Settings if you are in direct contact with candidates - this means any emails you send directly from your inbox will automatically be captured on their Workable record for everyone on the hiring team to see.
- When emailing candidates from within Workable, you can select a Template from the drop down bar (and customise it if you want). If you find yourself writing the same email, it is worth saving as a template.
If we receive an application via email or if someone contacts us through a non-Workable channel like Slack, we can either:
- Forward their email onto our dedicated Workable email address - this is the most effective option.
- If you think they are a strong candidate but they didn't email, introduce them directly to us via our careers email address.
- As a last resort, ask them to apply via the relevant link on our Careers page - this is the least preferred option as it has the highest likelihood of a candidate dropping out. Only use this option for high volume roles. You should say something like "Thank you for your interest in PostHog! Can I please ask you to apply via our Careers page? We receive hundreds of applications every week, and this will ensure that we have all your details on our system."
For most roles, we can’t just rely on incoming applications - direct outreach is a great way to influence the hiring pipeline. Direct outreach has a few advantages:
- We can approach people with very specific or relevant experience, even when they are not currently looking for a new role
- It allows us to encourage candidates from a wider range of backgrounds to apply
- It also helps with building an employer brand and general awareness
It is possible to research a list of potential candidates through:
- Workable - People search is a great tool to find profiles, email addresses and social media profiles!
- LinkedIn - Boolean searches are your friend!
It is important before starting outreach like this that we consider why a candidate messaged through this approach would move to us, so that our note to them can explain why we felt it might be a nice fit.
To book meetings through Workable, the Google Calendar and Zoom accounts need to be connected under Settings first - this enables us to schedule meetings from within Workable itself. This way, Workable will automatically populate the calendar invitation with all the useful info for interviewers like resumes so we don't need to do it manually.
When we book a meeting, we have the option of selecting a Google Meet or Zoom call. Zoom should be the default, unless we are scheduling a meeting where the organised is not attending themselves, in which case use Google Meet (as Zoom will requires the host to attend).
Our interview process
The general interview process we follow at PostHog is outlined below. We also wrote up specific
The Talent team reviews applications and resumes/portfolios carefully and leaves their feedback as a Comment on the candidate's record in Workable.
If a candidate hasn't customized the application or resume to the role, it is a flag they aren't that excited about working at PostHog. It is understandable why people don't do this, but at an interview stage, it's important to note how passionate they seem about the company. Did they try out the software already? Did they read the handbook? Are they in our community Slack?
A good rule of thumb when deciding whether not to progress - if the candidate doesn't get a definite yes then it's a no. It's almost never worth putting through someone who is a 'maybe'! We provide lots of information about PostHog to enable candidates to put their best application forward.
Candidates who are unsuccessful at this stage will receive automated feedback, unless they personalized their application, in which we will try to send a personalized reply.
Culture interview with the talent team
We start with an interview which is designed to get the overall picture on what a candidate is looking for, and to explain who we are. A template scorecard has been created for this stage in Workable.
This is to allow both PostHog and the candidate to assess whether the candidate is a great cultural addition to the team (not culture fit), and to dig into any areas of potential misalignment based on the application. We are looking for proactivity, directness, good communication, an awareness of the impact of the candidate's work, and evidence of iteration / a growth mindset.
This round is loosely structured into 4 different sections:
- PostHog - mission, vision, team, way of working etc. If it was cold outreach, we provide a little more context up front.
- Candidate background and mindset
- Talk about the hiring process and check if the candidate has seen our compensation calculator so we know we're roughly aligned.
- Answer any open questions
Candidates who are unsuccessful at this stage should receive a personalized email with feedback.
Technical interview with the hiring team
In this round, the candidate will meet a couple of future team members. This round is usually between 60-90 minutes and will focus on a mix of motivation, technical skills/experience and mindset. Please check the specific hiring process for each team for more details.
As a rule of thumb, everyone interviewing must feel a genuine sense of excitement about working with the candidate. Again - if it is not a definite yes, then it's a no.
Candidates who are unsuccessful at this stage should receive a personalized email with feedback.
The final stage of our interview process is what we call a PostHog SuperDay. This is a paid full day of work with us, which we can flexibly arrange around the candidates schedule.
The candidate will be working on a task that is similar to the day-to-day work someone in this role does at PostHog. They will also have the chance to meet a few of our team members, and if they haven’t already, our founders.
This gives the candidate a chance to learn how we work, and for us to see the quality, speed and communication of the candidate. It is a very demanding day of work.
We will pay the candidate their 'normal day rate.' If they have done contracting before they will have one, but if not we can use this formula to calculate it. In case the candidate is unable to accept payment for the SuperDay, we will donate the amount to a charity of their choice.
This day will be the same task each time for a given role, to be shared with the candidate at the start of the day. The task is generally designed to be too much work for one person to complete in a day, in order to get a sense of the person's ability to prioritize.
There will also be someone having a casual chat with the candidate. This person is the bar-raiser. The bar-raiser is here to qualify that everyone is truly excited about the candidate and that they're an example of us believing in talent compounds. Everyone should still think this way - or they should be clear in why they don't feel like this as part of their feedback.
Overall, the candidate should aim to spend at least 80% of their time and energy on the task and less than 20% on meeting people, as we will base our decision on the output of the day.
In advance of the SuperDay, we will need to do some additional prep to ensure that the candidate has a great experience:
- Send them an email in the first instance to schedule the SuperDay - we aim to do this as soon as possible, as candidates often will need to book a day off work. Use the Workable email template for this. If the task involves them doing 'real' work for PostHog, we should ask them to check that their current employment contract permits this - we try to create fake tasks for this reason.
- (One day before the SuperDay) Send the candidate a follow up email with details of the task, and ask them for their day rate and bank details. There is a template for this email in Workable, depending on the role - this will probably need customising.
- (One day before the SuperDay) Create a private channel in Slack for the candidate and all relevant people - this will be where they can chat to us over the course of the day if they have any questions etc. Invite the candidate as a single channel guest. We might need to add the candidate to one of our systems depending on the role, e.g. Workable for a recruiter SuperDay, but on the whole this should be minimized.
- (One day before the SuperDay) Invite the candidate to a kickoff meeting with the hiring manager at the start of the day. On days where we have a company-wide meeting scheduled, invite them along. On days without standup, schedule an informal session with some team members to give them a chance to learn more about our culture. We may also want to have a proper wrap up with them at the end of their day.
- (On the SuperDay) Send the candidate the task - aim to send this before the kick-off session.
- (On the SuperDay) Give the candidate a warm welcome! Make it clear that the team is here to answer any questions, and they should feel free to reach out any time! Otherwise don't feel like we need to check in with them - let them get on with the task and trust that they will message us.
- (One day after the SuperDay) Pay the candidate using the bank details they provided.
Decide if we will hire
After a SuperDay, everyone involved in the day leaves their feedback on Workable. In case of any misalignment or open questions, we will start a Slack conversation or Zoom call, to discuss feedback. If there are wildly different opinions, reflect on why.
Responsiveness at all stages is really important to us - at each stage of the process, we should aim to get back to candidates with feedback within 48 hours. It is not ok to leave candidates waiting for weeks, or for someone to apply and never hear back from us.
In case of a rejection, it's important to clearly outline why that decision was made. Highlight what went well, but also mention specific points of improvement. Offer to schedule a call if they would like to discuss further. Make sure to leave the door open for the future so they can apply again in 12-18 months time as circumstances and people change.
Making the offer
The Talent Team will prepare the offer details and arrange a time for the hiring manager to make the offer call.
During the offer call, the hiring manager will share feedback from the interview process, and will sell the role and opportunity here at PostHog. They will also briefly cover the offer details (salary, equity, benefits), and answer any open questions.
The talent team will then follow up with an offer email, outlining all details.
Once the candidate accepts, the People team will kick off the onboarding process and take the role offline, after rejecting all remaining candidates.
Building a diverse team is at the heart of our culture at PostHog and we are proud to be hiring internationally. In some cases, this includes the need for visa sponsorship. We are currently only able to provide visas in the US and the UK.
- If the candidate is already in the country on a visa (e.g. employed, youth mobility), or require a new visa to remain in the country (e.g. student converting to employed), we will cover the costs for any employee, new or current.
- If they wish to relocate and need a visa, we unfortunately will not cover the cost for obtaining the visa or any relocation costs.
For employees where PostHog covers the costs related to obtaining a visa, the employee agrees to reimburse PostHog if they voluntarily terminate their employment prior to the completion of 12 months of service. The costs will be calculated on a monthly basis, so when the employee decides to leave after 10 months, they will have to repay 2/12 of the costs related to the visa.
In case a candidate needs a visa sponsorship, please keep in mind that the process is lengthy and costly.