Episode 14: How to Hire in a Competitive Marketplace and Other Talent Questions, with Jen Holmstrom, Head of Talent at GGV Capital

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Jen shares her experience working with start-ups as a talent and search specialist and answers all your most pressing questions. This episode is the first of many salon episodes where we feature an expert from the field who has worked extensively with founders, from early to growth stage.

Jen Holmstrom joined GGV Capital in 2016 and leads the firm’s talent and recruiting efforts. To support founders as their companies scale, she created Founders+Leaders, a leadership development platform that provides training, mentorship, network and more. Prior to joining GGV, Jen was a Talent Partner at Highland Capital Partners and a leader on the executive search team at Facebook. Jen’s career has been focused on team building in fast growing companies. Before Facebook, Jen was a Director at San Francisco-based Riviera Partners, an executive search firm focused on recruiting engineering and product leadership for fast growing venture-backed technology companies, and also worked with SPMB, a technology focused talent search firm. Jen received an MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and BS from Boston College.

Highlights from the episode:

3:13 What’s the biggest pain-point you hear from founders?
4:28 What are some things that people should be looking for in cofounders or first couple of employees if they want to scale?
5:14 How important is it to define culture early on? Does it help with hiring later on?
6:24 What happens after I’ve exhausted all the people in my network? What do I do about hiring?
7:07 When is the right time to bring a recruiting function in-house?
8:46 Have you seen any companies doing unique things on candidate experience that help them standout from the crowd?
10:33 What are some best-in-class practices for recruiting?
13:37 What is a head of people and why is it becoming a prominent role in startup land? What makes someone good at that job?
17:59 How do you think about employee engagement? How do you hold people accountable in an organization but also ensure that they have high satisfaction? What types of tools help with this?
19:51 How do distributed teams work? How do you maintain culture in a distributed team? What tools do you recommend for helping distributed teams?
24:11 How does a start-up compete against large companies like Facebook and Google when you can’t pay as much as the competition?
27:05 How do you have hard conversations? What are tricks to help make these conversations go better as opposed to being terrible?
29:08 How do you become a more successful manager? What are some tips to managing teams?
30:20 What book or article do you recommend?
30:56 What’s your favorite interview question?

GGV Capital is a global venture capital firm that invests in local founders. As a multi-stage, sector-focused firm, GGV focuses on seed-to-growth stage investments across Consumer/New Retail, Social/Digital & Internet, Enterprise/Cloud and Frontier Tech sectors. The firm was founded in 2000 and manages $6.2 billion in capital across 13 funds. Past and present portfolio companies include Affirm, Airbnb, Alibaba, Bitsight, ByteDance (Toutiao), Ctrip, Didi Chuxing, Grab, Gladly, Hello Chuxing, HashiCorp, Houzz, Keep, LingoChamp, Namely, Niu, Nozomi Networks, Opendoor, Peloton, Poshmark, Slack, Square, Wish, Xauto, Xiaohongshu, Yellow, YY, Zhaoyou and more. The firm has offices in Beijing, San Francisco, Shanghai and Silicon Valley. Learn more at ggvc.com, @GGVCapital or GGVCapital on WeChat.