Startup Hiring, The Ridejoy Way

Since we’re hiring a UX/visual designer and an engineer, I thought we’d explain how we think about hiring at Ridejoy.

Every employer says people are their most important asset. For four-person internet startups like Ridejoy, people are our only asset, and everyone knows it.[1. People, and our Apple hardware. And for Y Combinator startups, our crazy amounts of Amazon and Heroku credit. But all those free dynos don't spin up themselves...]

But it’s hard enough to figure out how to build a viable business without having to worry about hiring. And if you’re lucky enough to be able to hire people, you’re probably desperate to get someone onboard immediately. Who has time to figure out hiring?

(It’s not like a marriage. Or is it? After all, you’ll spend 2-10x as much time together as you will with your significant other. Though 10x would be sad.)

We all know to “hire slow and fire fast”, but for most startups, it feels more in line with the usual fail fast mentality to “hire fast… fire faster”. It’s only a small exaggeration. One of our favorite advisors had to fire her first several hires when she started out as CEO.

We’re taking a little extra time and effort before getting hitched; we just care too much.[2. It's our greatest weakness, along with working too hard and kicking too much ass. Oh wait, that's Jason.] We haven’t used matchmakers yet, either.[3. We talked to a few recruiters. A couple we liked. Another one told us a "SPECTACULAR" candidate's current base salary was well over $100K, then blithely changed it to a much lower number a few emails later when we told him what we were offering. Oops. Anyway, since we're only hiring for two, crucial positions, we've been screening and sourcing applicants ourselves thus far.]

Here’s some of what we’ve come up with to attract the people we want to work with at Ridejoy:

  • Culture: It’s collaborative, open, and just a bit sentimental. As a company built on the sharing economy, we think (almost) everything’s better together. We think you can tell a lot about us from our jobs page as well.[4. We're even sentimentally efficient instead of brutally efficient. We recently got the following response to a template: "Thanks for the thoughtful reply. The worst part of the job application experience is the impersonal rejections. You have the honor of giving me the best rejection letter I've ever gotten." Flattering, but.]
  • Compensation: Fortunately, we’re able to offer competitive market salaries and great health coverage. As for equity, because we’d all worked at other startups previously and had many friends at startups, we knew what percentage equity was usually offered to early employees; we wanted to be more generous.[5. We also tell everyone the truth when making an offer: getting options in an early-stage startup is like playing the lottery. Skill and effort buys you more tickets, but there's a lot of luck--something we don't gloss over.]
  • Perks: We went for the kitchen sink, with $1,000 “Ultimate Collaborative Consumption Package“, a $3K equipment budget, all-you-can-eat food at work, and a $500/mo housing subsidy for living near our San Francisco office.[6. Apparently a person with an hour-long commute has to earn 40% more to be as happy as someone who walks to the office. See here and here.]

The last step of our interview process involves working together for a couple days (paid) to give both sides a chance to figure out whether it’s a good fit.

At most places, new hires commit to spending potentially thousands of hours at their new company after only a few hours, mostly spent interviewing. It’s crazy. We believe in living together before the wedding. At least for a weekend.

Anyway, we like to think this care and attention resulted in our new community manager Margot choosing us (out of everyone on the entire Internet!) to send her way intense proposal to. Let us know if you can help us with another happily-ever-after, or two.

Oh, and feel free to take an extra slice of wedding cake on your way home.

Psst: We're looking for our first engineering hire!
Refer a hire and you both get Ridejoy's Ultimate Collaborative Consumption Package!
$1000 credit for Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Grubwithus, Getaround, RelayRides, Skillshare, or more.
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This post reminds me of something the marvelously quotable Anthony Bourdain once wrote:

"My sous-chef, in an ideal situation, is like my wife.
"I'll go further: my sous-chef, in an ideal situation, is *closer* to me than my wife. I mean to disrespect to my wife, Nancy, whom I adore, and with whom I've been stealing horses since high school. It's just that I spend a lot more time with my sous-chef. The judge, as Nancy likes to remind me, will never believe it."

Hope you find some worthy people to add to the Fellowship.


  1. [...] bit over the top? Maybe a tad. But we get across how much we care. You can read more about how we think about hiring and culture at Ridejoy, or follow Margot on [...]

  2. [...] to do something is half the battle, action is the other half. I think our hiring choices are a strong indication of our dedication to an amazing company culture. Another way we [...]

  3. [...] ****Could discuss how they agree with me on the commuting to work issue  – Apparently a person with an hour-long commute has to earn 40% more to be as happy as someone who walks to the office. See here and here. ↩ [...]