Hire When It Hurts

You may have noticed that Basecamp is in the midst of what qualifies around here as a mini hiring boom: five open positions across customer support, programming, and ops, as well as a newly created marketing role. The company has received more than 4,000 applications and every single one is read by a human being. In the latest episode of the Rework podcast, hear about why Basecamp briefly lifted its hiring freeze, how job ads are written, and what the process is for evaluating candidates.

9 thoughts on “Hire When It Hurts

  1. So fascinating to hear how hiring works at Basecamp– thanks for sharing about your practices! Really engaging episode!

  2. For a few years now I’ve wanted to work as a software engineer at Basecamp. Most of my web development experience is with Java/Spring, and earlier Grails (I designed and build nderground.net). I don’t know if this skill set qualifies me for Basecamp engineering.

    When I looked at the Basecamp web page, it said that the hiring freeze was still on. Is this true? If not, I’d love to see the new job listings.

    1. Hi Ian, the application period for our open positions has ended, so we currently don’t have any job listings up. If you enter your email at https://basecamp.com/about/jobs, you can be notified when we’re looking for programmers again. Wishing you the best!

  3. Thanks for sharing! It’s really incredible to hear the process of hiring within Basecamp! The difference in hiring between Basecamp and other businesses is such a contrast. You can really see your company’s personality!

  4. I applied for Marketing role. In my cover letter I link to a draft article on LinkedIn, where I could apply video to standout. Now that I know you got 1,400 applications, I wanted to double check in, and say the link is legit, pls click 🙂

    Great show

  5. This was very interesting to listen to. The only thing I slightly disagree with is the notion of “hire when it hurts”. I focus on ensuring that we are always at or below 90% as the steady-state of effort so we can burst to 100% if need be. If you wait until your sustained pain is >= 100% then it’s already too late.

  6. Oh no was 50/50 on embedding the points into the text versus answering each point separately. Never win a coinflip! =)

    Thanks for the insightful podcast. I figured there’d be a ton of applicants, but 1400? Wow. Good luck on finding the best person!

  7. Thank you for the behind the scenes look at the decision to hire and the process to find the right fit for each role. Refreshing to hear that compassion and empathy are part of screening and that every application is read by a human. Best of luck finding the perfect people for these opportunities!

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