This Hot Startup's Team Hiring Experiment Could Be the Next Big Thing in Recruiting

May 17, 2016

Danny Ocean, George Clooney's character from "Ocean's Eleven," was a master thief when he had his ten friends backing him up. But would he have the same success if you took him away from Brad Pitt and the boys, drop him into the gang from "Fast and Furious," and told him to rob a casino? Probably not. (Although we'd totally pay to see that movie!)

But, that's the traditional approach many businesses take when sourcing talent: they locate a star performer at another company and pluck them away. And, they keep doing that until they’ve put together an entire team.

Not only does this take a lot of time, but it also means that by taking them away from the teams they worked with so well, your candidate could be missing that special sauce that helped make them successful enough to land on your radar. And the bet you're making on that person to repeat his or her past success just got a whole lot riskier.

One company has found a way to hedge that bet: hire not just the individual, but the whole team in order to both save time and bring in a team that already works well together.

Stripe’s “Bring Your Own Team” (BYOT) hiring initiative

Stripe is a San Francisco-based online payment company that’s become the hot startup du jour; it was featured on “60 Minutes” as a company that’s shaking up financial technology. Now, Stripe is getting press, including write-ups in Quartz and BBC, for shaking up the recruiting world with its new hiring initiative, Bring Your Own Team (BYOT). 

In this unique new hiring push, Stripe invites entire groups — they could be coworkers, college classmates, or any group who just wants to work together — to apply en masse for a job at Stripe.

“The industry has always focused on hiring atoms,” Stripe says in its blog post where it first announced BYOT. “We’d like to try hiring molecules.” 

How does BYOT work?

The process is pretty straightforward: any group of two to five people can fill out an application form that includes resumes of each team member and a description of how everybody knows each other.

"We'll take everyone in a group through the interview process together, and bring them in for in-person interviews on the same day," Drinan said. "While most interviews will still be individual, we'll design at least one interview problem that the group can work on as a team."

If Stripe makes an offer, it goes to the entire team. In a tweet, Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison explained the reasoning: 

  • stripe team hiring

But while the offer goes to the whole team, each team member is free to accept or decline the offer individually.

And when a Twitter follower asked Collison about Stripe possibly going after individual team members once the process is over, Collison didn’t exactly say “no.”

  • stripe team hiring
  • stripe team hiring

"Mainly, we’re hoping BYOT will help us (1) hire great people, (2) hire them in great teams (where they’ll be happier and more productive than if they joined individually), and (3) uncover talent that’s perhaps been undervalued until now, including underrepresented minorities and people with atypical backgrounds," Stripe's Tim Drinan says.

Is team hiring for me? 

From a recruiter’s perspective, the potential benefit of team hiring is obvious: one interview process can give you five top performers instead of just one.

Still, Stripe didn’t exactly conceive BYOT for the recruiters’ benefit. "BYOT was designed more as a way of finding and hiring great people (in groups)," he says, "than as some way to manage or decrease the workload for our recruiting team."

Stripe just rolled out BYOT, so the company has yet to announce any hires using that approach. But according to this tweet from a Stripe engineering manager, the company’s stated goal of drawing more “underrepresented” applicants is already bearing fruit:

  • stripe team hiring

As recruiters look to find ways to source talent with a proven track record, the BYOT approach could be worth looking into. After all, why just hire Danny Ocean when you can get all 11?

*Image from Stripe 

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