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Recruiting for Growth Unplugged: Chris Shaw of Meteor

Chris Shaw’s talent acquisition career is pretty star-studded. With agency experience, Google, Twitter, and venture-backed startup Illumio all in his rear-view mirror, today Chris is Director of Talent at Meteor, the JavaScript App Platform setting the standard for modern cloud/client architectures for mobile and web. (As such, he’s deeply entrenched in the wars for Bay Area technical talent.)

Chris has graciously agreed to share the secrets of his success during a free webinar we’re hosting this Thursday, October 29th at 10am PT on the topic of ‘hiring for growth’. I sat down with him recently to talk all things talent.

Recruiting for growth - Meteor and LeverChris, if you weren’t in talent acquisition, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be in technical sales, because I love technology and I love interacting with people. I think we’re so lucky to be living in working in the virtual epicenter of the computer revolution. The things on the horizon in wearable computing, biotech and of course cloud computing are blowing my mind on a daily basis. The future is now.

You’ve recruited in-house at companies ranging from 25 employees all the way up to Google. What’s the biggest similarity between those two environments? What’s the biggest difference?

What’s been similar is the hiring bar. I somehow enjoy working in environments where we’re literally trying to top the top 1% of talent. Maybe even the top 1% of the top 1%.  I love that challenge.  I love hearing someone tell me that “You’ll never fill this position, because it’s too hard.” Bring it on.  

What’s been different are the stakes and the impact.  In a startup I’ve been able to have a lot of input on the process itself. I learned a lot at Google about how to construct a hiring machine. In a startup you get to learn about that company’s particular hiring needs, their culture and the way they feel that they work best. After having those conversations you can build a custom hiring process that will ensure you’re hiring people at the right pace, with the right skills and the right cultural attributes. The impact on the business is massive, because if you’re not getting it done in a startup the company could literally fail. In a huge company they just replace you and they don’t miss a beat.

How many people do you estimate you’ve hired in your time?

I’ve been at this since 1997 and my first decade plus in recruiting was high paced agency work. Looking at the number of years that have gone by, I’m well over 1000, but some of that was due to the high volume nature of running an amazingly productive team at pre-IPO Twitter.  

What super power do you wish you had?

I’d just be happy with a darn jetpack. I feel that should be standard issue by now.

Do you still have a rolodex? Does anybody?

The fact that I know what a rolodex IS is scary enough, but today I make sure that anyone I do business with is stored in my personal (gmail) contacts. I also have long lost track of how many people I’m connected with on LinkedIn, but that’s my back-up system in case Google goes out of business.  🙂

You used Lever to support your hiring needs at Illumio, and now at Meteor. What’s the one Lever feature you can’t do without?

The chrome extension. It makes sourcing (which is the most time consuming aspect of recruiting) so much more efficient. I think Lever was the first to build such a feature and they still might be the only one.

Describe today’s market for talent in five words or less.

Can’t build companies without recruiting.

Our webinar on ‘Hiring for growth’ is this Thursday October 29th, from 10:00am-10:45am PT/ 1:00pm-1:45pm ET. There’s still time to register so you can learn more from Chris directly.