Hiring process

This page will walk you through how we hire at PostHog. The goal is to have a lightweight process that optimizes for speed for the candidate, but above all for quality of hire.

Deciding to hire

Every hire introduces complexity to the organisation and increases our burn.

At the moment, we're not so worried about having a clearly defined job spec. PostHog is changing rapidly, job descriptions are changing rapidly so it's impossible to define a set list of tasks.

See our strategy to find out how many people we should be hiring at any time, and at what pace.

Advertizing the job

There are a couple of places that are worth posting to:

  • 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
  • RemoteOK

    • High volume of candidates, but much lower quality.
  • AngelList

    • We found Eric through there. Higher quality than RemoteOK and pretty high volume.

Interviewing

The stages of interviewing are:

  • Application
  • Interview with Tim
  • Interview with James
  • Interview with someone from the team
  • 3 days of contracting work
  • Decision

We track the stage the candidate is at in this spreadsheet.

Application

It's worth reading applications and resume carefully. For current roles, the things we look for are

  • Experience with relevant technologies (Python or similar, React or similar, something to do with big data is a bonus)
  • Has started a project from scratch, without outside help

    • Usually this manifests as having been the founder of a startup, or building an impressive side project. It can also be shown through a big project in the day job, but that requires a bit more digging.
  • Communication. Do they have spelling errors in their cover letter? What does their online presence look like?

    • More so than other companies, all of our communication is written and public for the world to see. Good written communication is key.

As a rule of thumb, everyone interviewing must feel a genuine sense of excitement about working with the candidate.

Interview with Tim

I tend to split it up into the following sections

  • Talk about PostHog, where were at and what the future looks like, including our long term vision
  • Talk about the candidate, dig into any questions I have from their CV
  • Talk about the hiring process and ask about expected compensation

Hiring questions I like to ask

  • Tell me about a project you started from scratch
  • What was the hardest technical thing you've done in the last month?
  • What did you do on your very best day at work?
  • Tell me about a project that you led that failed. Why did it fail and what did you learn?

Interview with James

This is to allow both PostHog and the candidate assess cultural fit, and to dig into any concerns that Tim may have had in the first interview. I am looking for proactivity, directness, strong communication, an awareness of the impact of the candidate's work, and evidence of iteration / a growth mindset.

Interview with someone from the team

This is up to the interviewer. It can be useful to dig into some technical areas of their work.

3 days of contracting work

We offer everyone who's gotten through the first 3 stages 3 days of contracting work. This gives the candidate a chance to learn how we work, and for us to see the quality, speed and communication of the candidate.

If the candidate is currently employed full time and can't take time off, we still offer 3 days but spread out over their evenings or weekends.

We will pay the candidate their 'normal day rate.' If they have done contracting before they will have one, if not you can use this formula to calculate it.

The candidate will be invited to the team's standups and can pick up work like any other PostHog employee.

Decision

There will be a written catchup over Slack or via Zoom about the candidate with all people involved during the hiring. A yes/no decision will be made and then communicated to the candidate.

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. Make sure to leave the door open for the future so they can apply again in 12-18 months time.

After

To give an employee an offer letter and to do the rest of the onboarding, see onboarding.