5 Tips To Improve the Odds When You Hire VPs Who Were Fired or Quit

As you scale up in SaaS, one thing I can almost guarantee is that you are going to hire some VPs who were either fired or quit their last role.  Especially in the Bay Area.  There’s so much change and turn-over in the Bay Area many of your top candidates will have had some bumps in their transitions from their last role. There are lots of reasons for this:
  • All your hires can’t either be (x) folks you magically poach from other companies and (y) folks who magically are leaving another great gig at the perfect time to join you.
  • And more importantly, change happens at start-ups as they scale.  VPs that do a great job at $1m in ARR rarely are the perfect leader at $100m ARR.  So many of the very best VP candidates are folks who turn over in high growth start-ups.
  • Continue reading "5 Tips To Improve the Odds When You Hire VPs Who Were Fired or Quit"

5 Tips To Improve the Odds When You Hire VPs Who Were Fired or Quit

As you scale up in SaaS, one thing I can almost guarantee is that you are going to hire some VPs who were either fired or quit their last role.  Especially in the Bay Area.  There’s so much change and turn-over in the Bay Area many of your top candidates will have had some bumps in their transitions from their last role. There are lots of reasons for this:
  • All your hires can’t either be (x) folks you magically poach from other companies and (y) folks who magically are leaving another great gig at the perfect time to join you.
  • And more importantly, change happens at start-ups as they scale.  VPs that do a great job at $1m in ARR rarely are the perfect leader at $100m ARR.  So many of the very best VP candidates are folks who turn over in high growth start-ups.
  • Continue reading "5 Tips To Improve the Odds When You Hire VPs Who Were Fired or Quit"

SaaStr Podcast #178: Phil Fernandez, Former Marketo CEO & VP @ Shasta Ventures with 10 Key Lessons From Scaling Marketo to IPO

Phil Fernandez is a Silicon Valley veteran, with more than 35 years of experience building and leading breakout technology companies. Phil co-founded Marketo in 2006 and led the company as Chairman and CEO for a decade, overseeing its successful IPO and acquisition by Vista Equity Partners. Prior to Marketo, Phil served as president and COO of Epiphany, an enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) software company. Today, Phil is a Venture Partner with Shasta Ventures, the fund with a portfolio including the likes of Nest, eero, Zuora, Canva, and many more incredible companies. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

For how long should a CEO continue being the head of products?

Roughly for me, for as long as it’s about a 10-hour a week job. Or often, maybe only up to $3m-$5m in ARR or so. In SaaS at least, founders make two mistakes:
  • First, try to hire a full-time “head of product” once the product gets complex. Once your product has 50–100 workflows, dozens of use cases, 100s or 1000s of customers, etc. … it’s just too much to hack and juggle informally. My rough rule of thumb is somewhere between $3m and $5m in ARR in SaaS most products just get too complicated to hack product anymore. You’ll ship better prioritized features, with happier customers, with better trade-offs, with a full-time head of product. CEOs that hang on too long here start shipping features and products that are no longer force-ranked the way they should be. And the key is to hire a true head of product. Someone that Continue reading "For how long should a CEO continue being the head of products?"

More Catfished By A Candidate: Why Not Hire Him Anyway? And Answers To Other Burning Questions

catfish-part-two Since I published my Catfished by a Candidate blog post a couple of weeks ago, our website traffic has increased by 250% and it has become the number one most viewed post on our site from the last 12 months. Plus, it has a 700 comment thread on Hacker News and a podcast on Hacker Daily. I expected it to get some pickup—I mean, the title “I Got Catfished By a Candidate: The True Story and How to Keep It From Happening to You” is certainly catchy, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be quite so popular. However, in reading through the comments and listening to the podcast, I think that the topic really hit on some controversial issues around business ethics and more. Everyone was asking: should we have actually hired this guy even though he lied? The internet certainly had some opinions—many of them valid. Was this Continue reading "More Catfished By A Candidate: Why Not Hire Him Anyway? And Answers To Other Burning Questions"

More Catfished By A Candidate: Why Not Hire Him Anyway? And Answers To Other Burning Questions

catfish-part-two Since I published my Catfished by a Candidate blog post a couple of weeks ago, our website traffic has increased by 250% and it has become the number one most viewed post on our site from the last 12 months. Plus, it has a 700 comment thread on Hacker News and a podcast on Hacker Daily. I expected it to get some pickup—I mean, the title “I Got Catfished By a Candidate: The True Story and How to Keep It From Happening to You” is certainly catchy, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be quite so popular. However, in reading through the comments and listening to the podcast, I think that the topic really hit on some controversial issues around business ethics and more. Everyone was asking: should we have actually hired this guy even though he lied? The internet certainly had some opinions—many of them valid. Was this Continue reading "More Catfished By A Candidate: Why Not Hire Him Anyway? And Answers To Other Burning Questions"

I Got Catfished By A Candidate: The True Story and How to Keep It From Happening to You

What follows is a true story. Names, places, and companies have been changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent). I was catfished by a candidate. And not just during a phone screen. This guy made it through a recruiting agency, a phone screen, and three rounds of interviews. We were about to make the hire when everything unraveled. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a catfish is someone who creates a false identity online. The motivation behind a catfish can vary from tricking someone in an online dating app, seeking revenge, simply playing a joke, or in my case, seeking a job. I learned a lot from this experience (plus it is a pretty good story), so I thought it would be fitting to share with the SaaStr community. Act One: Falling For The Catfish When someone seems too good to be true they Continue reading "I Got Catfished By A Candidate: The True Story and How to Keep It From Happening to You"

5 Traits to Look For When Hiring An Early Marketing Team For Your Startup

hiring-a startup-marketing-team As the CRO at SaaStr, I am doing a lot of hiring these days! A lot. And that means spending countless hours skimming through resumes, taking phone screens, and meeting candidates in person. Quick shameless plug–seriously, I am hiring for a lot of people, so if interested in working at SaaStr–check out our open jobs here. Typically, when I go on a hiring spree, I spend at least 20% of my time screening and interviewing candidates–(if not more time TBH). Because the longer a position goes unfilled the more difficult it becomes to fill, and the more difficult my life becomes because I am trying to do all of these jobs myself. And if I am doing everyone else’s job, it is incredibly difficult to do my own job. Since I do a lot of hiring, I am constantly re-inventing the list of attributes I look for in a new Continue reading "5 Traits to Look For When Hiring An Early Marketing Team For Your Startup"

How to Land the Best Talent for Your Startup

How many candidates do you talk to in a week? How many do you reach out to to secure those conversations? In our line of work, there’s a fine balance between quality and quantity. It’s easy to just go through the motions of hiring without putting much thought into who we’re talking to or the goal of conversations we’re having. I’ve seen countless recruiters who speak with a candidate once, send an email or two to schedule interviews, fail to build a relationship, and are blindsided when a candidate withdraws or declines an offer. News flash: You should be the main point of contact for candidates during the hiring process. As the candidates move through the interview stages, it’s up to you to keep them engaged and sell them on the amazing opportunity in front of them. While there is no magic recipe to making a hire, you should always
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How to Compete for Top Talent: Design Better Jobs

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Inc. Early in my career, after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, I got a job at a startup designing robots. I had the time of my life. I was absolutely thrilled to come into work each day. I got to design and program algorithms, design different aspects of the system, and see how all aspects of the systems worked together. Around the same time, a friend of mine got a job at General Motors. While I was working at a small company with an uncertain future, he was employed at one of the largest firms in the world – an automotive powerhouse that provided job security for coming decades. Yet his job was to work solely on designing the inside of car doors. To me, it sounded like the worst job in the world, and he seemed to recognize it. Big
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