When John Ciancutti joined Netflix in 1999, he joined a team of four engineers. A couple years later, he became an engineering manager — a role he had never done before that came with one big added responsibility: finding more amazing engineers to hire. It's hard to imagine now, but Netflix was a tiny, no-name company at the time. Ciancutti had to figure out how to attract world-class talent. By the time he left in 2012, then as VP of Product Engineering, he'd hired hundreds of engineers building a category-winning company.
Since then, he's refined his recruiting to a formula at Facebook and now Coursera, where he's Chief Product Officer. At Coursera, Ciancutti manages engineering, product management, design, analytics, and operations. At all three companies, he not only made hires, but taught dozens of engineering managers how to do the same. Today, he faces the same challenge he did at Netflix, going head-to-head with the likes of Google and Facebook to win the best hires. It's not easy competing with huge compensation packages and well-oiled recruiting machines. But in less than two years, Ciancutti has managed to grow Coursera's engineering arsenal from 25 to over 80.
Through this experience, he's developed a hiring playbook designed to give hiring managers at startups an edge. At First Round's recent CTO Summit, he shared the principles and four phases that define a successful recruiting process, including very specific tactics for closing the most aspirational of candidates.
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