Klaviyo CEO and Co-founder, Andrew Bialecki, sat down with Drafted CEO, Vinayak Ranade, to talk about Klaviyo’s careers and more importantly growth. Here's how they stay connected with people at every step of the hiring process.
Klaviyo helps growth-focused e-commerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns. In April, Klaviyo announced the fundraising of their $150M series B and since then they’ve been sharing their “old-fashioned” path to success.
"Hiring is super tough, but when you find the right person... man it’s worth it."
Vinayak (V): Can you give us some context about the company and how you got here and what the growth has been like recently.
Andrew (A): We started Klaviyo 7 years ago, back in 2012. The first 3 years we just bootstrapped the company. It was just myself and my co-founder.
Fast forward to 2019, 4 years later, those two co-founders are joined by over 200 Klaviyos. P.S. Klaviyos is the nickname for employees at Klaviyo.
V: How many Klaviyos do you think you’re going to have by the end of this year?
A: It scares me a little bit. We think it will be somewhere between three and four hundred. And we started the year at just over 150. So it’s a lot of new people and we’re thinking about how do we maintain our culture as we grow. It’s clear Klaviyo is growing, but they are trying to do it in a mindful way while staying competitive.
To take on their current team they turned to the talent pool the city of Boston had to offer. They’ve built a company to attract talent and find the best of the best. Klaviyo has created a reputation in Boston for having a tough interview process. They keep the bar as high as possible when it comes to finding the right people to join their team. Andrew says, "one of the things I love about Boston is that there are so many really talented people here."
"When we first started we very intentionally decided that we’re going to track people that care about 3 things."
The focus has remained on creating an environment that keeps everyone at Klaviyo excited about the people they get to work with. For Klaviyo, it's about the people, not the number of hires.
The first step for Klaviyo is putting themselves in the shoes of the person they want to hire. Leading their initial conversations with empathy.
"As we’re growing what we’ve found is what’s most important is finding people that have the experience of that really fast growth and can set good mile markers for themselves and not try to solve everything at once."
To find who they’re looking for, they’ve created a unique hiring experience. They firmly believe that the experience of the candidate is one of the key pieces to their hiring process. When faced with a candidate that is on the fence, they're invited to come and get the know the company in a relaxed setting, like their Friday company-wide meeting. Where most likely, Andrew himself will greet you at the door with a Bud Light in hand. It takes a lot for someone to decide to share their career with a company. Klaviyo has crafted a hiring experience where the candidate can get to know Klaviyo in an authentic way. Klaviyo's tactic is to be themselves.
"I think one of the hardest things, when you’re interviewing at any company, is you’re trying to figure out if this is just the marketing on top versus how people really are."
V: If you were in the recruiters' shoes, which you have been before, how would you think about using email when reaching out to candidates?
A: We’re obviously huge believers that you should put time into every email you send. One of the missions at Klaviyo is to help their customers drive more sales through targeted and relevant email campaigns. Andrew believes that those practices they help their customers achieve can also fit well in the recruiting space. Especially since recruiters spend a lot of time emailing candidates.
Take time to find a piece of information to connect on with a candidate that will resonate with them and help get them in the door.
Make some small connection somebody can respond to and then from there how can we get face-to-face.
Although Klaviyo has experienced tremendous growth, one thing they’re careful about is not making hiring all about a number. At the end of the day, it’s about the people they are hiring and not the overall number of bodies they’re bringing in to the company. Choosing to share your career with Klaviyo is a two way street.
How do we keep that mentality of every single person and tell those stories and keep it personal when they’re hired and when they start.
Personalization is key for Klaviyo from working with their customers on campaigns to bringing new faces into their organization.