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Hiring Outside the Valley

Ryan Smith

We’re based in Provo, Utah, so we draw from a relatively small labor pool and don’t have the luxury of picking from hundreds of experienced executives for every position. We've been pretty successful managing around this disadvantage. Here's what we do:

Grow talent, don’t acquire it. We’ve focused on developing a large portion of our talent and surrounding them with a strong, experienced team who can help mentor super smart individuals who are riding in their first rodeo. We have access to some great universities and aggressively hire energetic new grads with incredibly high trajectories. We’re confident they’re going to build long careers at Qualtrics.

Ask yourself: What percentage of my team can I develop and for what positions? We’ve had great success developing members of our sales, support, service, and engineering teams. There are very few experienced product managers in Provo. So we identified entrepreneurial engineers and groomed them to become PMs. Our greatest challenge is finding the directors, but we only need a few of them.

Map it out. I am a huge believer in a flat organization and I personally hate org charts, but for this exercise an org chart will be necessary. Because the more you can visualize the future of the business and what it will look like, then the more familiar it’s going to be and nothing will be a surprise.

Go through the exercise of figuring out what your org chart needs to look like down the road under different growth scenarios. Do it for each function. It benefits everything from defining career paths for employees to seating arrangements to being primed to recognize a good candidate when you meet them, even if the role isn’t open at the time and you’re sitting next to this person on a flight somewhere.

Don’t delegate. I always thought I’d delegate most hiring once we got bigger. But we’ve got over 350 employees now and I still spend 30-40% of my time on recruiting. I spend a lot of the recruiting time hands-on in the offer and closing process. I do this because I feel like the entire on-boarding and close ratio is more efficient when the founders are involved in key hiring decisions. When you’re trying to convince a vital candidate to build a life in Provo they need to hear from the CEO.

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