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Develop Your Hiring System Like a Product to Eliminate Bias and Boost Retention

First Round Review
First Round Review
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Dan Pupius, Medium's Head of Engineering and co-founder of startup Range, shares how he built a recruiting system with an anti-fragile hiring process by applying well-known mechanics of product development.

Applying Product Development to Hiring

  • A hiring system has two key components: the process itself and the resulting team.
  • Founders should have:
    • Strong intention to build their teams as amazingly as their products,
    • A clear and compelling vision for what their team looks like and what they can achieve,
    • Development principles that shape how you achieve your vision,
    • Tactics that are testable and changeable,
    • Meaningful measurement and metrics,
    • Organized iteration with strong feedback loops and consequent developments,
    • Designated decision-making regarding hires,
    • User-centricity always in mind,
    • Automation potential to make your process repeatable and scalable.
  • Remember to document the system you devise and make it central and shareable.


  • Create a comprehensive definition of the type of person who will succeed at your company specifically.
  • Consider your team as a single, coherent product.
  • Identify people's strengths and weaknesses to allow for complements in the workplace and extend overall capabilities.
  • Choose a metric to indicate your company's progress toward your goal such as retention or offer-acceptance rate.


  • Decide on the guidelines that you want to be applied to every candidate.
  • At Range, these guidelines include:
    • All judgements must be tied to observable evidence,
    • Agree on the data that you will not be looking at,
    • Provide candidates with several success modes,
    • Keep team composition top of mind,
    • The hiring manager is the decision making authority.


  • How you choose to set up your recruiting and interview process depends on your own vision and principles.
  • Three phases to consider are assess, validate, and sell.
  • Before beginning, consider creating a chart¬†that lists all the attributes and skills you are looking for along with grades and comments.
  • The validate phase is the most important one to get right.
  • Stick with behavioral interviewing and send your rubric to candidates so they know how they will be evaluated.
  • Set up shadowing to calibrate new interviewers quickly.


  • Retention is a key metric, but the more immediate measurement to track is candidate experience.
  • Each week ensure your hiring managers review these analytics and hypothesize what is going on and how to make things better.
  • Prioritize following up with candidates to get their feedback and improve your own interviewing and hiring process.


  • To optimize iteration, try batching feedback into themes and approaching it in sprints.
  • Ultimately, aim to maximize learning per unit time.
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