Three Ways Levels Health Raised Startup Recruiting Standards

By Micah Rosenbloom, Managing Partner

Metabolic fitness program Levels has passionate users.

The company generates buzz with tech/fitness influencers.

A16Z and influential angel investors are backing them.

And guess what — recruiting is still hard.

But they’re doing it. Really well.

Here’s how:

“Do you know any engineers?” is a lousy question. Every startup is dying to hire engineers.

More than that, it’s a lazy question. It burdens the recipient to comb through the mental Rolodex of every engineer they know.

Levels Founder/CEO Sam Corcos asks better questions, like:

“Do you know an engineer with exposure to research?”

This simple tweak leads to better results. It gives the recipient more criteria and encourages them to think more deeply/creatively.

You can take this question in many different directions.

“Do you know an engineer who desperately wants a remote role?”

“Can you think of anyone who is looking to work at the intersection of medical hardware and consumer interfaces?“

“Is there anyone in your network like [a specific person you both know]?

In a war for talent, a little effort goes a long way.

NB: if you have too many criteria, you’ll likely get no answers, so try to think of evocative filters without over-defining the ideal background.

“Do you know anyone who works at Nike?”

Like the question above, this query pre-supposes the recipient has boundless free time to think.

It also assumes they are familiar with the current working environment for thousands of contacts.

The better approach is to look for folks you want to hire in a given organization and find out if you have mutual connections via LinkedIn. Hopefully, you can find many candidates with relevant backgrounds whose networks overlap with yours.

It’s easier to present a list of names — along with links to their LinkedIn profiles — and ask your VC/advisor who you should prioritize.

It’s more work on your part, but the odds of getting a response, and valuable data, are much higher.

Entrepreneurs will often request help recruiting and arm the person they’re asking with nothing but a Greenhouse job link. Unless your company is incredibly well known and highly desirable, this is a doomed strategy.

Imagine trying to sell your product with just plain text ads.

Could you replace a blockbuster movie trailer with a few paragraphs? It’s theoretically possible, but the degree of difficulty is *high.*

The team at Levels doesn’t take that chance.

Look at any of the job descriptions on the Levels recruiting page:

Each one offers:

🌐 A comprehensive overview of the role.

📰 Links to sources of 3rd party validation.

📽️ Videos made by the hiring manager providing a role-focused sales pitch.

In short, they feel like compelling opportunities, not commodity offerings.

In just a few minutes, you get a sense of the product, your potential manager, and the culture.

Levels invests in their hiring comms as if they were customer-facing content pieces.

Any VC would be proud to promote a job description like this.

Recruiting is the existential challenge facing every startup at this moment.

Some VCs are adding in-house recruiters. Headhunters are buying boats and beach houses in record numbers.

However, the ultimate responsibility sits with founders — take it seriously.

Too few startups are devoting sufficient resources to making hiring work better. Levels set a new bar and created a design pattern more startups should follow.

Their product measures your blood glucose, but their hiring practice could reinvigorate your startup.

Also, this is just one of many areas in which Levels is rethinking some core aspects of running a remote organization. These links are must-reads for anyone operating in a hybrid fashion:

And if you’re in the market for a new job, take a serious look at Levels.

They’re currently hiring for dozens of roles from software engineers to finance leaders; community managers to corporate counsel — join them!

Our mission is to be the most aligned VC for founders at seed. #ProudInvestor in @Uber @TheTradeDeskinc @Buzzfeed @Cruise @Diaandco @PillPack @SeatGeek & more.