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Buffer Reports

Hiring at Buffer in June 2015

We’re bringing back the hiring report!

The last time we reported on hiring was April 2014. Back then—15 months ago—Buffer had 20 team members.

Fast forwarding more than a year later, the team now has 34 full-time team members and three new teammates who will be starting their Buffer bootcamp shortly.

New team members


Just this last month, Danny and Kat both graduated from Buffer’s bootcamp and have accepted to join us full time, hooray!

In June, we also made four offers to candidates to join Buffer’s bootcamp, and three of them were accepted—Marc Anthony, Adrian and Justin will be joining us to start their bootcamp throughout the summer, all working as Product Creators.

Applications overview

We currently have 14 open positions, and we wish to be as transparent as possible in the way we hire and how we prioritize hiring people that use our product. We are also committed to monitoring diversity at Buffer through our new Diversity Dashboard.

It has been such a great experience to continue seeing a great interest from the Buffer community to join us and help building Buffer in so many different positions.

In June, we had 1,204 conversations about hiring with 1,130 applicants. Here is a breakdown of the different areas:

hiring grid

We sort applications through HelpScout and are currently looking into getting more organized with our processes.

Here’s at look at June’s numbers. Our “Total Conversations” are the number of email conversations we have open (we sometime have duplicates), “Customers” are our applicants and “New Conversations” are the new email conversations we had through the month.

hiring conversations

How has hiring evolved?

In March 2014, we saw about 2,000 applications coming in. In June 2015, we had 1,200 conversations about hiring—what changed?

We’re continuously evolving how we hire to reflect our self-management principles and to foster the Buffer culture. As we’ve done so, we’ve added some new elements to the application for many roles.

For example, the Happiness Hero position application now has various sections to be completed prior to applying, including suggested reading, questions about Twitter and Buffer use, and a few questions to answer.

Outlook and thoughts

Buffer has been growing a lot over the last year. Exactly one year ago we were 20 teammates, a year later we’re almost twice as many!

With 14 positions open, we’re learning how to hire as a team, always putting a special emphasis on culture and product use.

As a self-managed start-up, we don’t have a human resources department, choosing instead to have many team members help out in the hiring process.

This leads us to learn a lot about how we screen for cultural fit, how we interview, and how we extend offers to join the Buffer bootcamp.

As we learn, we’re trying to improve the experience for applicants. There have been instances where candidates waited for many weeks before they heard back from us—we wish to get better at connecting with candidates and providing them timely feedback.

We also try to provide as much detail as we can about the hiring decisions we make, including some more details on why we are sometimes passing on truly great candidates and applications.

Finally, we’re still working hard on figuring out how to best organize salaries at Buffer. You can still find our salary spreadsheet live here; we’re currently transitioning to self-managed salaries and are having internal discussions on the best way to handle it. More to come!

Over to you

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

Is there any specific metric you’d be interested to see? What kind of other information would you like to see here? Are there any questions I can help answer about Buffer hiring in the past month?

It’d be great to have your input in the comments!

  • Very insightful post Rodolphe!

    The transparency here is really eye opening. The hiring process is very time intensive, and having so many applicants to sort through while keeping on top of what each one of you is working on definitely looks like a challenge.

    I can definitely understand why some applicants might end up waiting a while for a response. But based on everything Buffer posts, I feel like it’s worth the wait :)

  • Stacey Valley

    The transparency is excellent. It shows that you need to work on diversity with more intention — your team is very young and white.

    • 100% agree, you are right on. We are excited to share Buffer’s open roles with more diverse communities and underrepresented groups. (All recommendations for doing that are super welcome!)

      • Stacey Valley

        Thank you, Courtney. I wasn’t being critical — just making an observation. Of course, being older myself, my comment was somewhat self-centered. I would love to work for Buffer! Thank you for these insightful posts.

  • Wil Byrum

    Very informative post Rodolphe, thank you!

    As someone who is very interested and motivated to apply for a position with Buffer, these types of post are extremely helpful and eye-opening to me. Please keep them coming!

  • Teresa wolf

    Keep up the great work “Team Buffer!” Your company is certainly taking things in the right direction to have such growth so quickly. Reading posts like this are great for someone such as myself who is very interested in applying for a position. I have to say I’m extremely interested with how the self-managed salary would work. I look forward to future posts and learning everything I can about your amazing company.

  • Hey, Rodolphe! I’ve been looking forward to an update on Buffer’s hiring progress as of late, and you have done a truly superb job delivering the latest news! It’s really encouraging to see how advancement works during the different interviewing stages, and I really love the table you provided that outlines specifics!

    I admit, I’ve had the page for Buffer’s open positions pinned in my browser since last year. I chose to wait until my last client’s business was off the ground and running smoothly, a milestone we reached in late March of this year.

    I’m entirely glad for the wait though, because it gave me the opportunity to really become confident in so many relevant, transferable skills that Buffer values (like working efficiently remotely, contributing where it’s needed instead of being bound by a strict role and managing 100% of customer support). I was nervous last year, but now I feel confident about my skills and the value my contributions might bring to the table if I were offered a position.

    I’m thrilled to finally be able to click the “Send” button. Your update here and the Diversity Dashboard combined have gone above and beyond in satisfying my curiosity about Buffer’s current growth.

    Thank you so much, I truly appreciate your thorough update! :)

  • JonFuchs

    Just out of curiosity, How many staffers are married with children?

    • Hmm, great one, Jon! I’m gonna guess maybe 5 or so right now?

  • I love the transparency! It’s been so neat to get more involved with the Buffer community over the last couple of months. I’ve been reading just about everything I can on how you guys do things over at Buffer and the more I read, the more I anticipate the day when I can apply for an open position!

  • Jeanette DesJardins

    Great report! I wish more companies were as transparent with their hiring process. One metric that would be interesting to see in the Diversity Dashboard would be geographic location of applicants.

    • Great one, Jeanette! We are collecting regional information on the “continent” level right now but not much more specific than that, would be great to dig further in to.

  • Love to see the continued transparency. Great for getting a better idea of how hiring works at Buffer.

    For those that have applied but didn’t get interviewed, yet are still interested in being part of the Buffer team, would you recommend they apply for another position now or wait for another opening in the same position?

  • Great post Rodolphe! It’s been a while since the last reports and I love seeing how you guys are growing. Any thoughts on why the decrease in applications?

    I love the transparency so I look forward to see how you change things to better handle scale now that you’re becoming a bigger company. Hopefully, that includes me working with you one day! :D

    Insightful as always!

  • Hey Rodolphe, thanks for sharing all these information! It is helpful to read such posts as an applicant to learn more about Buffer :)

  • Thanks for writing this post, Rodolphe! Buffer’s commitment to transparency is always very encouraging. As someone who is hoping to apply soon (working through Reinventing Organisations per the requirements!), seeing hiring updates like this is very encouraging. I share Sean Kennedy’s curiosity about the reason why there has been a decline in applications, and would also like to find out what you look out for during the conversations to determine if an applicant is a suitable candidate to advance to the interviews.

    Thanks for reading this and hope to hear from you guys!

  • Priscilla Wilson

    Thank you for sharing this, Rodolphe. As someone who has recently applied to Buffer, it’s refreshing and insightful to be let in on the process Buffer goes through to narrow down a great fit. It is also interesting that Buffer does not have a designated Human Resources department for hiring…it makes sense to come together as a team to make the decision since the decision affects the team! Your commitment to transparency is inspiring and I hope more companies (not just startups) adopt that mind-set.

  • This is so great! It’s very refreshing to see such an in-depth look at something most companies consider to be taboo to share! Also, I love numbers, so it’s great seeing the amounts of Buffer fans that emailed looking to join, and how that gets whittled down to offers!

  • Interesting post.

    Is Buffer making any progress on improving diversity? And … the Happiness Hero and Community Champion roles look very similar, as in you can’t do one without the other. Are Heroes allowed to Champion whenever they want (and vice versa)?

    Also, what determines experience on the salary spreadsheet?

  • Peter Wallhead

    Your Back-end Developer numbers are interesting. Any idea why none of these applicants are being chosen for a single interview?

    • I thought that was curious as well. 110 “conversations” and not even a round one interview? Hm.

    • Hey y’all, great one! I have a intuition here that we might be keeping the back-end developer role open nearly all the time now, but that there are various degrees of urgency depending on the time frame and what’s going on at Buffer. This may be a lower urgency time period, though we would still be excited to bring on anyone who stood out to us as far as aligning with the Buffer values and skills. Does that help at all?

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