How this DC startup got 90% of applicants to accept job offers last year

2021 was a year of remarkable growth for the startup of workflow automation Prefect.

The company, which started in DC but is now largely remote, works on data flow automation tasks. What this means, according to company management, is that it creates software to remove “negative technique” or something on the orchestration side that leads to unnecessary headaches and frustrations. Prefect’s software automates tasks such as planning, monitoring and retesting that place extra emphasis on computer scientists and engineers.

The company, founded in 2017, raised not one, but two rounds in 2021 to a total value of $ 33.5 million.

Since these increases last year, the COO has Sarah Moses told Technically that the team has added about 50 members – up from 20 last year. But company data, Moses said, suggests this has not been a typical hiring process: Prefect saw 90% of its job offers accepted over the past year.

“I am, of course, a big supporter of the fact that because we have invested so much in the operating system – also known as culture – and eliminated negative technology on the human front, we have been able to hire really incredible, smart, enthusiastic people. Quickly,” he said. Moses.

The COO added that Prefect’s recruitment process actually starts long before CVs are collected. When the company is looking to hire someone, managers need to make a 90-day plan for results from that position. Then, in conversation with applicants, the hiring manager can very clearly outline expectations and what the role will look like.

Prefect has done this since it only had 10 employees, Moses said. After hitting 25 employees, the company added a director to help preserve the culture and keep the hiring process going. The result, she said, is that graduates know exactly what position they are accepting, what they are expected to do in their first few weeks, and how they will fit into the larger business that appeals to graduates.

“When we actually make an offer to a candidate, it can sometimes take a while, but we are very confident that they will sign because we have had a chance to really fairly assess: Is this candidate the right person for the right thing. problem? “said Moses.” And they have also had a chance to assess: Is Prefect the right place for me to be, and are these the problems I want to solve? “

Another thing that the company is trying to convey to the graduates, she said, is that it aims to hire creative people who want to solve problems. Prefect will probably not suit anyone who wants to be told what to do every day and the company is trying to make it clear during the hiring process.

Prefect COO Sarah Moses. (Courtesy photo)

“When we work with graduates, we make it very clear throughout the process: Here’s the result you need to achieve,” Moses said. “Your leader is there to support you. You are not here to support a leader, they are there to lift you up, and we make that really clear.”

The COO noted that the company continues to disseminate this culture even after the graduates have come on board. New employees are put through a robust training process where they work with different people across the company. They also get coffee with almost every single colleague.

Moses attributes Prefect’s strong employment numbers and adherence to this clarity in expectations and removal of negative technique. If people do not know what to do or have a role that is constantly changing, they are more likely to leave, Moses said. This dynamic can make employees both frustrated and afraid to ask for help.

For those executives who want to increase their own hiring numbers, she has one big recommendation: Make sure everything is clear and in advance with your graduates, which means you need to spend time and effort hiring.

“Your culture is truly the corporate operating system,” Moses said. “That’s how everyone interacts with each other.”


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