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Superhuman… fitting name for this company. Let’s dive deeper into how they built their super team.

Don’t copy others. Deep down, you know what you need and who you need to hire.

If hiring is done right at every company, then every team should look very different. We’ve come across startups saying ‘we can’t hire an customer success person as our first hire, the first hire at 80% of startups is a founding engineer!’. That’s not how it works.

You can see this with Superhuman’s hiring strategy. For the type of product (consumer) they are building, and the size of their team, they have an unusual amount of customer engagement and onboarding specialists.

Why is this the case?

Superhuman’s CEO, Rahul, often shares the story of how when he first launched the product, there was a lot of churn because users simply didn’t know how to use the product.

After talking to a bunch of them, he found out that proper onboarding was the most crucial step in the user’s end-to-end journey of using Superhuman. So he set out to create the most magical onboarding experience ever.

✨ Did you know - because their onboarding experience is so good, ‘Superhuman Onboarding’ is a common phrase used by SaaS builders.

He thought what is an investment can we make early that will help us in the long run? His rather contrarian answer: personalized 30 minute onboarding for every single new user.

While most founders will approach this by trying to build a self-serve onboarding flow, Rahul went the other direction, where many onboardings even took up to 2 hours.

Perhaps what Rahul learnt by onboarding users personally was: since Superhuman is trying to create intuitive human experiences and habits (using keyboard shortcuts to work through your email tasks), if you get a user to get used to certain mechanics a few times, you can get them to use it for life, in which case, the economics work. It was also the best way to understand how to improve his product.

He had to hire exceptional onboarding specialists. This increased retention significantly. This was also a way to get their entire team close to the product and create an important company culture of default ‘talking to users’.

To this day, the onboarding call is available to every user who signs up.

So why are we sharing this story? Because copying how others hire will not help you build a great team or a successful company. Hire for what your company is building, what you need, and what is going to get your business to next step. More often than not, you’re the expert and intuitively know what you need.

~100 People at Series C Startup

Another impressive thing about Superhuman is the amount of people they currently have on their team. Their overall headcount is small compared to what they are pulling off - signal that they are hiring high output individuals.

How do you spot high output people - screen for growth mindset, start-to-finish ownership, and proactive positivity according to Superhuman’s Head of People, Kristen Hayward:

Looking for a growth mindset in potential new hires is nothing new. If employees have a growth mindset, they not only want to build themselves up personally and professionally but you’ll also find their hunger and determination to contribute to the growth of the company and their teammates. Growth is top of mind!

A start-to-finish ownership approach proves that these candidates are fired up by taking responsibility for their work from start to finish, humble enough to see any problems in their work, and taking the necessary steps to address them.

With proactive positivity, a candidate and future employee will show their excitement and interest in actively contributing to building a positive culture. This quality also shows that this person is open to feedback! They will always grow and improve.

How does Superhuman retain their amazing talent?

Superhuman highlights four of their traditions:

Friday Wins

Superhuman’s longest running tradition is a weekly event called Friday Wins! An opportunity to get together and celebrate what people are working on. This level of support and camaraderie is what’s going to keep a team!

Super Buddies

Out of the gate, Superhuman ties new hires to vets - great way to get a new hire excited and feel supported!

Lunch Roulette

Every Wednesday, you go to lunch with a new group of people and you really don’t know who it’s going to be! This tradition gets the team together on a more human level. You meet folks that you maybe wouldn’t speak to on a day to day basis (or ever).

Achievement Unlocked

They love to celebrate each other! Whether it's customer love, a work milestone, or major life event — praise culture is fundamental at Superhuman.

Superhuman’s hiring strategy is worth studying - going against heard mentality and hiring for what they really need and building a high output culture.

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