Piano KeysOn November 11, 2015, we at Trustly hosted “Ask Us Anything,” a sold-out recruiting panel, at our new office space in Silicon Valley. The panel featured guest speakers from Uber, Dropbox, and Intuit — all of whom were game to answer questions about hot topics in recruiting and hiring.

Here are some of the most interesting answers from that evening, directly from today’s power players in the recruiting space:

What’s the fastest growing trend in hiring practices?

“A trend that I’ve noticed is diversity within large companies,” said Kevin Tran, a recruiter from Intuit. “I know at Intuit, it’s a big focus for us, and what that really means is we’re putting a lot more focus and investment into diversity tools. For example, data mining certain alum groups. What we really want to do is identify those people who are in groups that aren’t really visible on LinkedIn.”

“Something else that we’re working on at Intuit is what we call ‘Pipelining for the future,’” added Cassie Rowland, another recruiter at Intuit. “We’re not just looking for people to fill the roles we have today. We’re being a little bit more strategic, and we’re looking for people in the Bay Area that look fantastic. We start engaging with them before we even have a position open, and we’re maintaining that relationship, and once we have something, we just reach out to them and fill that position with a rock star.”

What’s the difference between applying to work at a unicorn (a private company valued at $1 billion or more)and applying to work at a traditional startup?

“I’ve been from the very small to the very big, so I’ve seen it all,” said Ray Roberts, a recruiter at Dropbox. “A unicorn is that company that everybody seeks out. It’s very competitive, and you really need to utilize your network in order to get your foot in the door. It’s very exclusive, usually, whereas at a normal startup, [you're] looking for the setting, the feel, the type of product that you’re interested in. So you really need to make a decision about whether you want to go for that company that has the potential to hit that big valuation or be a part of something and really build that product from the ground up.”

OrigamiHow do you feel about job applicants reaching out to you on LinkedIn or similar social media platforms for networking purposes?

“I can honestly say that both at Google and at Uber, I got over 100 InMails a day, and I don’t look at them,” admitted Kevin Lulis, a recruiter at Uber. “That’s just a complete, honest answer. It’s just too much. People send out very broad emails, and you can tell that they just swap the name. I’m not going to look at that at all. But if you do research [about a specific position], that’s going to catch someone’s attention, rather than just the broad, ‘Hey I’m looking for a role. Do you have anything for me?’ message.”

“You can also find more ways to contact us,” Lulis continued. “You can find my email on my LinkedIn, but nobody uses it. And when somebody does send an email, it goes to my work email, which I will look at. Whether or not I reply to it is a different story, but at least I look at it. I’m not able to do that with all the LinkedIn messages.”

What are some key tips for getting your attention? Is there a way people can improve their chances of being noticed?

“Right now, as you guys know, Uber is a crazy unicorn,” said Lulis. “We’re getting, like, a million applicants a year. So, there’s a lot of noise. You need to do something to get noticed, and if I had to [list just] one thing, I’d have to say referrals and networking. [At Uber,] we have what’s called ‘true referrals’ and ‘not-true referrals.’ A not-true referral is, ‘Hey, I know this guy who’s a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend…’ It still goes in the system as a ‘referral,’ so it shows the importance of networking, but you’re going to go through all the normal processes. But, if a software engineer says, ‘I used to work with this guy in our field. He’s a rockstar’ – that’s a true referral. That guy skips ahead to an on-site interview.”

“It’s all about who you know,” Roberts agreed. “At Dropbox, anybody that’s referred in, I have to call them and let them know that it’s a rejection or that it’s an offer. It’s that personal touch, because referrals are so key. Be genuine, network, and be creative. Meet as many people as you can, but don’t just go for something right away. Genuinely show an interest about what the [company is] doing. And then if it makes sense,  go ahead and explore.”

Board“Trustly really hit the nail on the head [about the value of referrals],” Rowland said. “Have someone who can refer you into the company, and at most places that will definitely get you looked at. Get introduced, grab drinks or something, and ask them a little bit about their experience at that company and tell them your interest. I would recommend that as the best way to get considered for an opportunity.”

A version of this article originally appeared on Trustly’s blog.

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