FINDING PEOPLE WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO
Trilogy Enterprises Inc. of Austin, Texas, is a fast-growing software company, and provides software solutions to giant global firms for improving sales and performance. It prides itself on its unique and unorthodox culture. Many of its approaches to business practice are unusual, but in Trilogy’s fast-changing and highly competitive environment, they seem to work.
There is no dress code and employees make their own hours, often very long. They tend to socialize together (the average age is 26), both in the office’swell-stocked kitchen and on company-sponsored events and trips to places like local dance clubs and retreats in Las Vegas and Hawaii. An in-house jargon has developed, and the shared history of the firm has taken on the status of legend. Responsibility is heavy and comes early, with a just do it now” attitude that dispenses with long apprenticeships. New recruits are given a few weeks of intensive training, known as “Trilogy University” and described by participants as “more like boot camp than business school.” Information is delivered as if with “a fire hose,” and new employees are expected to commit their expertise and vitality to everything they do. Jeff Daniel, director of college recruiting, admits the intense and unconventional firm is not the employer for everybody. ”But it’s definitely an environment where people who are passionate about what they do can thrive’’
The firm employs about 700 such passionate people. Trilogy’s managers know the rapid growth they seek depends on having a staff of the best people they can find, quickly trained and given broad responsibility and freedom as soon as possible. CEO Joe Liemandt says, “At a software company, people are everything. You can’t build the next great software company, which is what we’re trying to do here, unless you’re totally committed to that. Of course, the leaders at every company say, ‘People are everything.’ But they don’t act on it.”
Trilogy makes finding the right people (it calls them “great people”) a company-wide mission. Recruiters actively pursue the freshest, if least experienced, people in the job market, scouring college career fairs and computer science departments for talented overachievers with ambition and entrepreneurial instincts. Top managers conduct the first rounds of interviews, letting prospects know they will be pushed to achieve but will be well rewarded. Employees take top recruits and their significant others out on the town when they fly into Austin for the standard, 3-day preliminary visit. A typical day might begin with grueling interviews but end with mountain biking, rollerblading, or laser tag. Executives have been known to fly out to meet and woo hot prospects who couldn’t make the trip.
One year, Trilogy reviewed 15,000 résumés, conducted 4,000 on-campus interviews, flew 850 prospects in for interviews, and hired 262 college graduates, who account for over a third of its current employees. The cost per hire was $13,000; Jeff Daniel believes it was worth every penny.
- Identify some of the established recruiting techniques that apparently underlie Trilogy’s unconventional approach to attracting
- What particular elements of Trilogy’s culture most likely appeal to the kind of employees it seeks? How does it convey those elements tojob prospects?
- Would Trilogy be an appealing employer for you? Why or why not? If not, what would it take for you to accept a job offer from Trilogy?
- What suggestions would you make to Trilogy for improving its recruiting processes?