If you want to be the best at recruiting it helps to look at what the best companies in the world do. I believe Facebook is one of those companies and their recruiting starts at the top…with Co-founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Here are 7 recruiting strategies I’ve observed from Zuckerberg:
1) “You should never hire someone to work for you unless you would work for them”
Zuckerberg has shared this recruiting philosophy a couple of times. He told LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman on Masters of Scale:
“I’ve adopted this hiring rule, which is that you should never hire someone to work for you unless you would work for them in an alternate universe,” he said. “Which doesn’t mean that you should give them your job, but if the tables were turned and you were looking for a job, would you be comfortable with working for this person?
And I basically think that if the answer to that question is no, then you’re doing something expedient but you’re not doing something as well as you can on that.”
If you’re building a big organization, it works many layers down,” he said. “If each person is only hiring people to work directly for them, that they would want to work for – then you’re probably going to get a pretty strong organization.” this quote came from Zuckerberg’s 2015 Town Hall Q&A in Barcelona
The next 2 Zuckerberg recruiting tips came from his 2005 talk at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program:
2) Look For Raw Intelligence Over Experience
“You can hire someone who’s a software engineer who’s been doing it for 10 years…that’s cool…but if you find someone whose raw intelligence exceeds theirs but has 10 years less experience…they could probably adapt and learn way quicker and in a short amount of time do a lot of things the (the more experienced person could never do).” source: The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball (Noam Cohen).
3) The Candidate Has to Believe
“People can be really smart or have skills that are applicable, but if they don’t really believe in it then they are not really going to work hard. Even the smart guy is not going to care enough to develop the relevant experience to succeed.”
To help recruit people who share their beliefs, Facebook emphasizes its mission and 5 Core Values.
4) “Strengths-Based” Recruiting
Facebook’s favorite interview question, according to Facebook’s global head of recruiting Miranda Kalinowski, is:
“On your very best day at work — the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world — what did you do that day?”
That question is typical of the strengths-based philosophy that emphasizes that you should reinforce employees’ talents rather than try to round out their weaknesses.
Recruit for strengths.
5) Source through Campus and Referrals
Zuckerberg has often said (like he did at the 2005 talk) that he prefers recruiting people right out of college versus finding an experienced person:
If you’re (a college student) willing to do whatever it takes to get Photos out then you’re probably more valuable than someone who’s a career software engineer…that’s why I’d rather recruit people out of college.
Facebook doesn’t just hire out of the top 10 schools. They recruited people from 300 schools in 2015, according to Kalinowski.
But Facebook doesn’t rely just on campus recruiting.
Like most employers, it is referrals that generate the highest quality hires at Facebook, according to Facebook’s head of recruiting’s 3 approaches to finding exceptional employees:
“No one knows better what it takes to thrive here than our employees themselves.”
6) The CEO is also the Chief Recruiting Officer
Zuckerberg doesn’t talk much about this, but he is of course the public face of Facebook…and that has a huge impact on recruiting.
He’s consistently out there evangelizing Facebook’s mission to connect the world and that has a direct impact on recruiting.
But Zuckerberg goes further. For example, he shared that he and his wife had 3 miscarriages before they could give birth to their first child.
Imagine the impact that Zuckerberg’s honesty had on candidates!
7) High Salaries Help
Finally, let’s not kid ourselves. Facebook pays a lot.
Their employees get an average package of $155K ($130K base) per year, making them the 7th highest paying company in the world, according to Glassdoor.
If you’re a company that makes a lot of cash, it sure does help to use that to recruit!
But I’d argue that Facebook never would have had so much cash to recruit if it weren’t for the first 6 recruiting strategies mentioned above.