Wildcard Recruiting Secrets

Posted on July 10, 2014. Filed under: startups, wildcard |

Wildcard is 16 full time people right now and 4 or 5 part time…any given day we have about 20 people in the office…and we’ll double in the next year. To do that effectively while keeping our bar for talent as high as we have managed to date…it requires the effort of our entire team…not just founders…not just engineering leaders…everyone needs to become an effective recruiter for our company. To teach folks who haven’t built teams before, we talk a lot about tactical process and taking a methodical approach to pulling the people we want into our company. I just sent a note to our team in this vein that I thought might be helpful to other founders…it also touches on some interesting conversations we’ve been having about the importance of diversity at our company…so I thought I’d open source it:

Subject: Recruiting Samples and a note on diversity at Wildcard

Guys, as promised in yesterday’s gathering, here are a few real emails i’ve sent in the past that you can work off of for your recruiting outreach. Let me know if you have any q’s. I find the most effective stuff is straightforward and genuine with some supporting info about the company…

Also, we didn’t touch on this yesterday, but I’ve been talking with Doug and Khoi a bit about diversity at Wildcard. We know there’s a lack of women and minorities at Wildcard. Today’s makeup doesn’t fully reflect the way we want the company to look as we grow. Recruiting is very hard; recruiting for diversity is even harder, but we’re going to work very hard on this and try to get to a place that is more representative of what we want to become. I can’t say I have a wonderful playbook on how to bring more diverse candidates from all walks of life in the door, but as you begin your outreach, please take whatever creative steps you can to help us improve here. If there are things we can be doing internally as a culture and company to differentiate us and attract the most talented people from underrepresented backgrounds, please let us know or take the initiative to get them going yourself. We’ve got to do better here. We are missing out on game changers from communities we aren’t reaching or speaking to.

SAMPLE EMAILS BELOW Take whatever bits and pieces you like, or roll your own:

this was a real email i sent yesterday to a potential office manager +

Hey [redacted], I heard some things are changing at [redacted] right now and that you are awesome and potentially a free agent? I run a company called Wildcard here in New York that is going through a growth period and I think you have a really interesting background to help us upgrade on the operational side of things. Hope you don’t mind my reaching out, but I’d love to meet if you are interested in learning more.

A bit of background on our company. Wildcard is building a replacement to the mobile web on your phone. You could think of as a new type of browser that delivers native app experiences in response to your searches instead of slow, clunky web pages…It’s pretty cool stuff. We have 3 founders who all built a company called Hyperpublic together before this which was successfully acquired by Groupon about 2 years ago, and now we have a wonderful team of about 16 awesome people…mostly engineers and designers…working out of a great space on Grand St. Our main investor is General Catalyst Partners, where our board member is the founder of the firm and is responsible for their investments in Kayak, Airbnb, Warby Parker, etc.

Would you like to hang sometime next week?

And this is just a generic paragraph i guess you could attach to any email with a sentence at the end of a personalized paragraph that says “I’ve included a little background on Wildcard below”

Wildcard is building a replacement to the web on your phone. We’re focussed on a new technology called “cards,” and we are building a browser that displays native cards instead of webpages on mobile. The founding team (Jordan Cooper, Doug Petkanics, and Eric Tang) built and successfully sold their previous company, Hyperpublic, to Groupon, and our Design leader is Khoi Vinh who ran design at the New York times for a number of years and then founded Mixel, which was acquired by Etsy. Our core engineering team hails from Penn, Stanford, Carnegie Melon, MIT, Columbia, U Chicago, etc…and everyone here is incredibly ambitious and kind. We’re backed by a great group of investors led by General Catalyst Partners, where our board member runs the fund and is responsible for their investments in Airbnb, Kayak, Groupme, Venmo and Warby Parker. And most importantly…our product and technology are awesome 🙂

This was a mail i sent to a good full stack front end guy who i played on a soccer team with and know a bit (so had a little context going in):

could i persuade you to come see a demo of what we’re building at wildcard? I’d value your feedback and maybe it will wow you to the point where you’d leave the mothership of ebay and come build it with us…

This was the first email I ever sent the illustrious Max Bulger 🙂

any chance i could persuade you to come interview for a PM gig with me? I caught your background via twitter…i like what you’re putting out into the world

Typical/effective subject lines include “Hey” or “Yo” or “reaching out” 🙂


(p.s. in case you can’t tell, we’re hiring the best and brightest: jordan.cooper@gmail.com)

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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