So You Want To Hire In Tech?

Note: Even though you can hire for most positions with these tricks & tools, the best use case is for talent in tech, i.e engineers, designers, product managers etc.

I don’t need to explain to you why it can be hard nowadays to hire tech talent and that many companies struggle with choosing the right tools & tactics to hire the best remote or onsite employees. You probably know this already. You are here for solutions and tools, so let’s jump right into it.

I’ve worked as a Tech Recruiter for the last couple of years (currently at On Deck), and let me tell you something. I always try to work as efficiently as possible, so I tried out dozens of tools. Note that I will present to you the tools that I find the best and that work in my setup; it can differ from person to person.

I will break it down from:

1. Sourcing

2. Outreaching

3. Interviewing

4. Recruiting Analytics


1. Sourcing

I will not talk much about job boards and how to post your job ad on different platforms because this may work for Intern/very junior positions. But once you get to more senior roles, the probability is relatively low that you will get suitable inbound applications. That’s where sourcing comes into play.

Most of the recruiters you will ask will tell you they use LinkedIn for recruiting. While that could work, it’s limited when it comes to filtering and accessing information about tech talent. Another reason why I don’t use LinkedIn anymore is that if 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn, they all have access to the same talent pool. Ask an Engineer, they don’t look in their LinkedIn DM’s anymore or even deleted LinkedIn.

I’ve tested multiple sourcing tools, and the two that I can recommend are AmazingHiring and Entelo. While both tools work similarly, the main difference is that AmazingHiring focuses on sourcing engineers, and Entelo, besides sourcing for engineers, you can use it for non-engineering roles as well. That’s why at the moment, I use Entelo since the database is more extensive. Both are not cheap: between 4800$-6000$ for a year’s license, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.

Entelo’s search engine feature allows users to identify prospective hires with desired skills. Information from social networks and professional sites is aggregated within the system for each prospective employee. The search feature can also identify candidates based qualities such as gender, race or military experience to assist recruiters with building a talent pool.

To help you better understand, I recorded a quick demo for you here.

After sourcing a bunch of candidates, the next step is to contact them via mail, leading me to the next step.


2. Outreaching

Before starting with this, you need to promise something: Never ever use these tools to spam people. Most of the time, people are interested in new opportunities, even if they wouldn’t start a new job immediately, but no one wants generic spam emails from recruiters.

The sourcing tools I told you before also have an outreaching feature, but for me, the outreaching tool also works as a single source of truth to see which candidates the organizations have already contacted. If you work with multiple recruiters in a team, there is a high probability that everyone is using different sourcing tools. That’s why it is essential to use one outreach tool together with a database of candidates so that you don’t contact the same people twice. If you are just by yourself, you are fine with doing the outreach within the sourcing tool.

There are a ton of mail outreach tools out there. The ones I can recommend are Gem and TopFunnel. I currently use TopFunnel.

Here is a quick 1min Demo I found where it gets explained

The tools again work very similarly. Your goal is to write the perfect email campaign (First mail + max. 2-3 follow-up emails). Writing an email campaign that converts is something complicated. You will need a lot of time for A/B testing to see what works for you and what does not.

I won’t go into detail here because I think every organization needs to write its own unique outreaches. If I should send you my templates, send me a mail.

Put please let me emphasize one thing again: PERSONALIZE YOUR OUTREACH. Take a look at their social profiles and try to understand why this particular candidate is a good fit for the position and then let them know why you think that. If it’s not a good fit, don’t contact them. If you do this, you will see that the response rate and interest rate will be higher than the industry standard.

You can take these conversion numbers as a benchmark. If you have better numbers: Great. If you have lower numbers: Try to personalize more.

After you sourced candidates and reached out to them, it’s now time to schedule interviews.


3. Interviewing

You probably know this already, but you can use tools like Calendly or Cal.com to save you a bunch of time scheduling interviews.

By now, you should also already have an ATS where you can organize your interviews and other recruiting stages. If you don’t have an ATS already, send me your company size and how many people you are hiring, and I will send you the best ATS for your use case. We use Lever at the moment.

Another thing I can recommend is being transparent about your recruiting stages, even before your first call. At On Deck, we built an overview for this in Miro. Another example is our Product Engineering playbook which is available publicly.

An extra trick is to record your calls with Otter.ai for automated transcripts if you forgot to write something down in your notes.

There are multiple ways to assess tech talent. You either build something manually or use third-party services. Something I can recommend especially for assessing engineers is to let them choose between a take-home challenge or a pair programming session (We do our pair-programming sessions in Replit).

You now sourced candidates, reached out to them and interviewed/assessed them. Congratulations, you can hire them now! After hiring someone, you may want to look at the last weeks/months and see how you performed.


4. Recruiting Analytics

I’m a big fan of data-driven recruiting because it helps you to optimize your team and yourself even more.

If you want to save cash and build something yourself, you can look at what kind of data you can export from your ATS and import it into Google Sheets to create your dashboard. But this takes a lot of time and is definitely not the best way to do it.

The tool I use at the moment is DreamTeam. You can easily import your data from your ATS and build your own dashboards with insights from your ATS. You can set goals within your team to achieve specific data-driven recruiting goals.

Hundreds of insights you can import
Example dashboard

Additional tools & resources

Well, there are so many more tricks and tools out there, but I hope that this overview can help you at least a little bit in your hiring goals. If you have any questions or you want to discuss things, just let me know.

Tools & Resources for Computational Neuroscience beginners

Recently someone asked me if I could send them some good resources for getting started in comp neuroscience. So I’ve collected a few things from the last few years and will put them together here in one place.


Learning Resources


Very simplified explanation of how a process could work (for fMRI)

  1. The data set is mostly in DICOM format (this is the case with most medical image data)
  2. First you have to convert the DICOM data to the NIfTI format -> For this you need the DICOM to NIfTI converter (people.cas.sc.edu/rorden/mricron/dcm2nii.html)
  3. If you then have the NIfTI data you have to bring it into the so called BIDS format, because all people have agreed to bring brain data always into this structure.
  4. For preprocessing there is fortunately already a ready pipeline that you can use (fmriprep.org). Important here is that you can use the pipeline only if your data is in the BIDS format.
  5. After that you can train your algorithm with Nilearn (nilearn.github.io/) and/or Nibabel (nipy.org/nibabel/).

Python tools for computational neuroscience

Nipy – Community that creates many Python tools
Nipype – Pipeline for Neuroimaging data
Pydra – Dataflow engine for Nipype (Nipype 2.0)
Nilearn – Provides ML tools for Analysis (Included in Nipype)(Makes it easy to use sci-kit learn)
NiBabel – Accessing a cacophony of neuroimaging file formats
fMRIPrep – Preprocessing Pipeline for fMRI Data (Build on FreeSurfer)
dcm2nii – DICOM to NIfTI conversion (Included in Nipype)
Nipreps – NeuroImaging PREProcessing tools
PyBIDS – Python library to centralize interactions with datasets conforming BIDS format
TemplateFlow – Version-controlled resource that allows researchers to use templates “off-the-shelf” and share new ones (Part of Nipreps )
NiWorkflows – Robust processing tools for MRI data (Part of Nipreps )


Note: Let me know if I got something wrong or If I should add something

Cybin Research Memo

What is Cybin:

– Cybin is a company focused on progressing psychedelic therapeutics by utilising proprietary drug discovery platforms, innovative drug delivery systems, novel formulation approaches and treatment regimens for psychiatric disorders

– Psychedelics 2.0 = Inventing new molecules/delivery systems

– “Cybin Demonstrates Proof of Concept of Its Deuterated Tryptamines for the Treatment of Depression and Addiction”

– They are also researching on “Deuterated Tryptamines” (see below)


Deuterated Tryptamines

A deuterated drug is a small molecule medicinal product in which one or more of the hydrogen atoms contained in the drug molecule have been replaced by its heavier stable isotope deuterium. Because of the kinetic isotope effect, deuterium-containing drugs may have significantly lower rates of metabolism, and hence a longer half-life.
Tryptamine is the The T in DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine)
In the area of psychotropic drugs, tryptamines are known to be a broad class of classical or serotonergic hallucinogens. These drugs are capable of producing profound changes in sensory perception, mood and thought in humans and act primarily as agonists of the 5-HT2A receptor.

Business Model:

“Cybin’s business model is two-pronged, divided into its subsidiaries, Serenity Life Sciences and Nature’s Journey Inc. Serenity Life Sciences maintains a focus on psilocybin medication research and development, while Nature’s Journey Inc. innovates proprietary products and services to boost mental health and wellbeing.”


Tech/Product explained:

– not a new molecule but a novel delivery system of psilocybin

– sublingual intake (see pic), effect 3g = 25g in pill + faster

Sublingual intake

Pros:

– great people on board (e.g Dennis McKenna = Board member, OG of psychedelics and would only align himself with the best of the best)

– CEO (Doug Drysdale) has 30 years of experience in the healthcare sector, completed 15 corporate acquisitions across three continents, and has raised $4 billion of both public and private capital

Thomas Laughren “Former Head Of Psychiatry Products At FDA Joins Psychedelic Drug Developer Cybin”

– People on social media have a very positive opinion about Cybin

– Already 90M raised

– Public company $CYBN

– 10 patents on their products


Cons/Risks:

– need to invest lot of money in clinical trails because their approach is new (e.g 600k for Phase 2a trail -> Identify the right dose in mg of the sublingual intake + Phase 2b with 120 patients = 2.9mil)

– There are other companies like Compass Pathways (already finished Phase 2b)or Usona or also work with psilocybin -> not first-mover advantage

– Many biotech companies say that they have/are working on a technology platform (Don’t even have a CTO and hiring no devs)


Add On – Kernel x Cybin Partnership (Video):

– Cybin will leverage Kernel’s Flow to quantify brain activity during psychedelic experiences in real time, adding an exciting dimension to its investigative work focused on developing breakthrough therapeutics for mental health disorders.

– “The ability to collect quantitative data from our sponsored drug development programs with Kernel’s Flow is potentially game-changing in terms of our ability to measure where psychedelics work in the brain in real-time, and how we ultimately design our future therapeutics. This new cornerstone component of our sponsored clinical programs follows a record-setting capital raise, listing on the NEO Exchange and the acquisition of Adelia Therapeutics Inc., which added significant scientific capabilities, novel molecules, delivery mechanisms and intellectual property.” – DOUG DRYSDALE CEO OF CYBIN


Strategy of Cybin

Product Pipeline

Phase of their Psilocybin CYB001 Product

Additional Resources:

Youtube: Cybin Deep Dive – Psychedelics 2.0, a Real Pharma CEO, Twists on DMT, and Mushroom Supplements?

Reddit: What do you think about Cybin?

Cybin x Kernel

Youtube: Cybin Investor Presentation- March 2021

News: Cybin Demonstrates Proof of Concept of Its Deuterated Tryptamines for the Treatment of Depression and Addiction


Note

I’m by far not an expert in this topic, I was just curious about what Cybin actually does and tried to put together some informations for my own curiosity. If you, the reader, find any misinformation please feel free to contact me so that I can correct my mistakes.

People I Admire

Why I quit my startup even though everything pointed to it becoming successful

After my first startup failed because it didn’t bring in customers and no money (because we hadn’t solved a real problem), it only took a few weeks for my co-founder and me to launch our next startup. campuskraft was a platform where students could do short-term projects for different companies online without having to be hired there. The special thing about it was that all tasks could be done online from the computer and there was an above-average pay for the students. Alternatives students knew at the time were jobs like stocking shelves or delivering food. Typical projects on our platform were market research, trend analysis, data wrangling, and more. So we were able to give suitable tasks to any student, whether a computer science student or a business student. At our first startup, we worked for 12 months without getting a single client, let alone making any revenue. At campuskraft, we had our first client and revenue after 4 days. Our platform was extremely well received by our clients because due to the current situation, many companies are having money problems and can no longer hire new full-time employees and have therefore been looking for ways to outsource their tasks. In contrast to the known freelancer market, we were able to get the companies high-quality work for a low price, because we had screened all the students and had only the best in our talent pool. The weeks went by and we got more and more clients and made more and more sales. One thing that fascinated me the most was that our best working way to get new clients was word of mouth. We realized that we were solving a problem for both our customers and the students that no one had done before, in this way. After working on the startup for 6 months, we were already talking to investors. There was serious interest and we were just a few steps away from collecting our pre-seed round. 

I had been working towards this moment for the last 1.5 years. Even though hundreds of thousands of things could still go wrong, we had finally found something that solved a real problem and that generated more revenue than we had spent. But it was exactly in this situation that I decided to quit. The reason was not that I was afraid of getting serious or because it was too much work. On the contrary, I loved the sleepless nights and the 7 day work weeks. So why did I decide to quit the startup even though all the signs were that it could be successful?

The reason was that I wasn’t very curious about the topic we were working on. That might not sound like a reason to quit at first, but to me, it was a very clear sign. Nowadays a lot of people (especially young founders) strive to found a startup with the intention to sell it in a few years however, this is not my intention when founding a company. An exit should only happen in an absolute exceptional case. I want to found a company that exists in the long run and can grow into a big company. So since it was clear to me that I wasn’t very interested in the topic and that my interests lay in other areas, I knew that I won’t be able to build up this startup for years and that I won’t be able to put 110% of my time into it. In addition, it would not be fair to all stakeholders (co-founders, investors, customers, etc.) of the company if the CEO is not really burning for the idea of his own startup. This can go well for a few months, but not for many years. This decision is now a bit in the past and I had many opportunities to reflect on this decision and I am still sure that this was the best decision I could have made. Fortunately, someone has been found who wants to continue the company, so the problem of companies and students will continue to be solved, but not by me. I am now on the journey to follow my interests in neuroscience and brain-computer interfaces and am already looking forward to the next start-up. But then with a topic, I am burning for. Well now I have to go back to work…

You can’t control everything

When I first heard about stoicism and its practices and philosophies, I found it interesting that I had already internalised many of the concepts, but I couldn’t recall where I learned them from. I believe that the practices of stoicism affect a lot of people without them ever having heard of them. For those who have never heard of it, in the simplest terms, stoicism is, in theory, a philosophical doctrine that conceives the mind as a remedy for the ills of life.

Life is unpredictable and bad things happen to everyone, one person more than another, but everyone has to deal (if they haven’t already) with tragic moments in their lives. This can start with small things like you wanted to do something outside and it starts to rain, up to a family member or a friend dies. In both situations, you have no say. We can’t change the weather in the short term or bring the dead person back to life. It is irreversible. It is out of our control.

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment

Marcus Aurelius

This is true and it is actually the main philosophy of stoicism. There is an inner world (i.e., everything you can influence, such as how you react to things or your actions) and an outer world (i.e., everything you cannot control, such as how other people behave or the weather).

Another doctrine of stoicism, which later spread mainly through the german philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, is “amor fati”, which can be translated as “love of fate”. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary. This way of thinking has helped me to prepare for all the situations that cannot be changed in the future and to make me aware that they will occur in any case, but it is only a question of how I will deal with them.

So the next time you catch yourself being angry or sad always ask yourself if it is within your control or not that this situation is there. If you can actively change the situation to bring your emotions from a negative to a positive state, well then act. If it’s out of your control, try to get a handle on your emotions and be positive about the future or don’t let negative events in the past define you.


Additional resources: