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People Ops Report

11 New Teammates, 13 Open Roles: Hiring at Buffer in July 2015

In June, we brought back the hiring report after a long absence.

Throughout the summer, we’ve been working on growing the team. Today we have 13 open positions to fill!

Now let’s look into a little more detail into what happened at Buffer in July.

New teammates in July

Last month, 11 amazing people accepted our offer to join the Buffer journey. :) Some of those new team members will be joining us in August and beyond.

In July we welcomed Philippe (Front-End), Marc Anthony (Product) and Justin (Product) to their Buffer Bootcamp!

We’re currently processing Buffer applications through HelpScout and we are looking into getting more organized with our processes.

Our “Total Conversations” are the number of email conversations we have open (we sometime have duplicates), “Customers” are our applicants and “new conversation” are the new email conversation we had through the month of July 2015.

hiring numbers July 2015

It’s been interesting to see a fairly sharp increase of 38% in applicants in July. One of the main components seemed to be the¬†opening of the Multimedia Producer. That has since been filled by a new teammate (whom you’ll meet in our August report!), so we took down that position.

conversations per role July 2015

Outlook and thoughts

In August, we intend to bring back our Android Developer listing and keep hiring across the board, bringing the total of open positions to 14!

In addition to open positions, here are some things we’re working on and learning in the area of hiring.

UX Researcher or Customer Developer?

At Buffer, we always get excited about testing new things, especially when it comes to customer development and user research! So we are trying something new for our UX Researcher position.

Tom Dunn, Patrik and I all work as UX researchers although none of us feel like we can identify strongly with the term “researcher”. We will try to change the position’s title from “UX Researcher” to “Customer Developer” to see if it brings any changes to the application flow.

General applications

Another learning we’ve had on hiring this month is how to manage those who have logged spontaneous applications with us—our general¬†address has not been getting¬†enough attention from us lately.

To fix this, we’ve put up a listing that will include criteria that are common to all hires at Buffer. This will make sure we can still connect and hear from members of the Buffer community that feel like applying with us!

Creating a better experience

Another fun project this month has been to look into how we organize our hiring efforts in order to give a better experience to both applicants and team members involved in hiring. Buffer does not have an HR department, and it is quite common to see 5 to 7 people involved at different stages of the hiring process with given candidates.

Today, we filter the applications we receive through HelpScout—a great software that helps us do customer support. It helps us list lots of¬†interesting information about candidates, including how long they have been customers with us and any¬†previous interaction we might have had.

This is especially interesting when you consider that we tend to hire people who use our product.

helpscout information on candidates

We have been pondering changing software so that we could get a little bit more organized in our hiring.

We decided a great first step would be to try and centralize the incoming applications we wish to engage with in a Trello board. With a volume of about 100 application across 14 positions every month, it would be great to better track how applications are progressing.

Hopefully that will help us give everyone a better experience and speed up our overall hiring email response time!

PS – If you are curious about how the team is growing overall, you can have a look at our team’s salary spreadsheet live here; more to come soon!

Over to you

I’d love for this report to be as transparent and helpful as possible for you.

What kind of information would you like to see here? Are there any questions I can help answer about Buffer hiring in the past month?

I’d love to engage in conversation with you in the comments. :)

  • Always awesome to see the transparency at Buffer and how you’re working to find ways of doing things better. Trying new ways of managing the challenges of growing rapidly is certainly something the Buffer team is hitting head-on. So cool to get insight into how it’s happening.

  • You might also want to try Design Researcher or User Researcher for that role as that seems to be a more common phrase than UX Researcher.

  • Bob Grant

    Is there a way to let HelpScout know that you’re a Buffer user using a different email address than the one you’re using? For instance, I use Buffer for my personal Twitter account, but have corresponded under my work email address. It would be a shame not to be able to connect these!

    • Kody Atkinson

      The initial application asks for your preferred email address and the email address you use with Buffer. I would imagine this is how they are able to track situations exactly like what you described. :D

  • cindykendall

    I just noticed something in one of your screenshots – the “Mark as preferring factual tone”. I recall reading a prior post or two that related to the use of tone when providing customer service. Positivity, empathy, playfulness, register, etc. – wonder if you have done any research around that lately? I’m betting my profile is one of the ones tagged for factual. Does factual imply reducing the expressed empathy, or, particular linguistic strategies you have found as rated effective when interacting with those customers who may be more “left brained” or analytical in approach?

  • Kody Atkinson

    I think it would be interesting to see a blog post on the hiring process from Buffer’s side. Kind of like Kevan’s post about his bootcamp experience. You could follow a successful applicant from when Buffer received their application through the interviews to the decision to extend that person an offer. I don’t know if anyone else is interested, but it would sure be interesting to me! Thanks for sharing!

    • This sounds interesting to me too :)

    • Kristen

      I’d definitely love to see this, too!

    • That would be a great perspective :)

  • Hello Rodolphe! Thanks for sharing these! :) Just wondering, would sharing Buffer’s response time to applicants’ first email be useful? (I assume response time reduces after the first email exchange.) My gut feeling is that it might help to suppress applicants’ anxiety when they do not receive a reply within the first few weeks if they know that the usual response time is, say, 3-4 weeks?

  • This is such a great update. I’m shocked 11 people accepted positions last month AND there are still 13 positions waiting to be filled. Congrats to all the new teammates.

    The team has grown a lot in such a short time. Is there an end goal or an X amount of teammates Buffer is looking to have? While I think there’s been a slight increase in diversity in the applicant pool, how has that translated to hiring and offers that are made? And considering that Buffer is growing so quickly, will Buffer consider bringing HR functions in-house anytime soon?

    I’m really excited about this. I think Buffer’s a great employer and I love the product. Maybe I need to try my luck and apply again.

  • Pardeep Goyal

    Nice post…

    One question, what is the role of traction enginner and reliability developer?

  • Another perfect post about how you hire, I love it Rodolphe. I’d love to see more Bootcamp experiences of your new team members or what they do every day, it is very inspiring.
    It will be also very inspiring to read from the team members how was their initial steps to get hired – if they started to read to books you recommend, follow you on social media sites, comment under blogs.
    Thanks a lot for your great and inspiring posts.

    • Petr, I love your idea about seeing more from new hires about their experiences just before becoming team members, and of their Bootcamp journeys! I’d be genuinely interested to learn more about how the newest members of the Buffer team are adjusting to their new responsibilities and what they’re feeling along the way.

      Also, thanks Rodolphe for this detailed update! I love Buffer’s unique approach towards interviewing and hiring for open positions. I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned thus far but still greedy for more, keep ’em coming! :)

  • I think the process is pretty self explanatory, and it’s an incredible opportunity. I’ve put in my own app for Content Curator, but I’m also open to other positions. I’m a huge fan of buffer (customer since 2013, referenced it in blog posts since then), and I’d love to be a part of an amazing team like it!

    Overall, keep up the good work! I’m always sending readers and potential Buffer-ers your way just because of the quality of the product. Cheers!

  • Sylvia

    I’m sure it’s an exciting time when the team is growing! I was just wondering what you’d say differentiates between Happiness Heroes and Community Champions? I see a lot of overlap and I figure these two teams do collaborate quite a bit, but would love to get a better feel for the roles, especially when you consider a lot of the work is self-managed. Thanks so much!

  • Question, is product designer now split into Marketing designer and just designer? Also, If I wanted to apply for both, should I send in 2 notes or one?

  • Great post! I guess I just had a question on the whole 3 months with Buffer expectation. I only discovered Buffer about a month ago, so I am still 2 months short of the requirement. However, as I am biding my time and using your service, I was wondering if there are any steps that I can take to improve my application once I am eligible? I already sent in a general email to feel out the situation, but am aware that it can take some time to receive a response. I just want to be as proactive as possible! Especially since I can’t predict the hiring situation in November. Thank you for your time and for writing such an informative article!

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