Building an Engineering Team by Ammon Bartram and Harj Taggar | Summary and Q&A

YouTube video player
Building an Engineering Team by Ammon Bartram and Harj Taggar


Learn strategies for hiring the right engineers for your company, including leveraging personal networks, using hiring marketplaces, and effectively evaluating technical skills.

Install to Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Transcripts

Key Insights

  • 👌 Hiring well is a crucial and time-consuming process, and it can be easy to procrastinate or push it back. But if you don't prioritize hiring, another company will and they may take the market advantage from you.
  • 📝 Hiring involves a lot of repetitive work, similar to sales and fundraising. It requires messaging, meetings, calls, and interviews, most of which will not lead to successful hires. But you have to keep going and putting in the effort to find the right candidates.
  • 💪 Personal networks are the best place to hire, especially for early-stage startups. People you know personally are more likely to be a good fit and work effectively with you. Utilize your network and make the ask, even if it's uncomfortable.
  • 💼 Hiring marketplaces are becoming more popular but can be competitive and expensive. They can be a quick way to find engineers who are actively looking for new opportunities, but it requires effective persuasion to stand out and make hires.
  • 🌐 LinkedIn and GitHub are great resources for finding engineers, but be sure to personalize your messages and emphasize why someone would be a good fit for your company. Also, consider using email instead of messages for higher response rates.
  • 📢 Job boards and meetups can be useful sources for finding engineers, but they can also result in a large number of underqualified applicants. Make your job listings unique and interesting to attract the right candidates.
  • 👥 Consider using recruiters when you have a good hiring cadence, target a specific skill set, or are spending more than 50% of your time on sourcing. Start with contract recruiters for sourcing and then move to in-house recruiters for full-time positions.
  • 🎯 In interviews, focus on structured questions to reduce noise and inconsistency. Avoid questions that require a leap of insight and use multi-step problems instead. Also, pay attention to false negatives and calibrate on maximum skills rather than average skills.


as a slides of loading there there is no topic that should occupy your minds more as you build your company then bring it on the team that's going to make your company successful as you move forward Hajin amin from triple byte YC alumnus are going to talk about building in today's day and age perhaps the key portion of that team the engineering tea... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can personal networks be effectively leveraged for hiring engineers?

Personal networks can be an excellent source for hiring engineers, as they already have a level of familiarity and trust with the company. It is important to have an exhaustive process, making a list of every good engineer known and reaching out to each person individually, making the ask, and following up even if they initially decline. Networking events and team outings can also be helpful to tap into the personal networks of existing team members.

Q: What are the benefits and downsides of using hiring marketplaces?

Hiring marketplaces can be helpful in quickly finding engineers who are actively looking for new opportunities. They provide a platform for companies to showcase themselves and for engineers to choose who they want to speak to. However, they can also be competitive and expensive, requiring companies to effectively pitch themselves and offer competitive compensation packages. It is important to measure success rates and continuously optimize the hiring funnel.

Q: How can structured interviews help reduce noise in the hiring process?

Structured interviews provide a standardized approach to evaluating candidates, focusing on specific criteria and questions. This helps reduce bias and inconsistencies in the evaluation process. It is important to define the skills that matter for the company and design questions that assess those skills. Calibration among interviewers and clear evaluation criteria are essential for accurate assessment.

Q: How can the false negative and false positive rates be considered in the hiring process?

False negatives (rejecting a candidate who could have been successful) and false positives (hiring a candidate who ends up performing poorly) both have costs. It is important to find the right balance and calibrate the hiring bar based on the specific needs of the company. False negatives can be costly for small startups struggling to source candidates, while false positives can harm team morale and be expensive for any company.

Q: How can the candidate experience be improved in the interview process?

Providing a positive candidate experience is crucial for attracting and closing top talent. This includes being fast and responsive throughout the hiring process, training interviewers to have a good bedside manner, and being prepared to talk about company culture and diversity. It is also important to have a thorough understanding of your own company culture and be able to articulate it to potential candidates.

Q: How can personal biases be minimized in the interview process?

Personal biases can impact the evaluation and decision-making process in interviews. It is important to focus on skills and qualifications rather than credentials or external factors such as school or company name. Structured interviews and clear evaluation criteria help minimize biases and ensure a fair assessment of candidates based on their abilities. Training interviewers on specific biases and providing feedback on their evaluations can also help reduce bias.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Building a successful engineering team is crucial for company success.

  • Strategies for hiring engineers include leveraging personal networks, using hiring marketplaces, utilizing LinkedIn and Github, posting on job boards, and attending meetups.

  • It is important to have a systematic hiring process, including sourcing, screening, and closing candidates.

Share This Summary 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on:

Explore More Summaries from Y Combinator 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on: