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Project Based Hiring

Virgin Hyperloop One's Project-Based Hiring Approach

As SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat motionless in the throes of infamous bumper to bumper Los Angeles traffic, he stared outward over a never ending string of brake lights and mused to himself “there has got to be a better way”. Shortly thereafter was published an ebook providing a conceptual look at the design and functionality of an electronically powered high speed railway with levitated passenger and cargo cars called “Hyperloop Alpha”.

While Musk himself is too busy shooting cars into orbit to build the Hyperloop himself, the project surges onward as Virgin Hyperloop One. And although the Musk-in-traffic origin story is completely made up by yours truly, the construction and progress of this high speed railway is very real.

“Hang on Rob. Futuristic means of high speed conveyance are neat and all, but what’s any of this got to do with recruiting?” Yeah yeah, I’m getting there. This week, I headed over to Virgin Hyperloop One HQ and met with Recruiting Manager Greg Toroosion to hear all about his brand of talent acquisition.

There exists a common recruiting mentality that seeks to identify top talent and sign them up regardless of their specific match to immediate team utility. Typically, the approach suggests recruiters and hiring managers simply hire the best overall talent they can and sort them out later. While this can make sense at certain stages and for certain teams, it’s not the approach Greg takes. Instead, his recruiting team has hiring managers map out their most important projects and identify the gaps in their team they need to fill in order to meet their goals. As Greg went on to explain, this creates a strategic, engaged workforce that’s less likely to churn, and delivers a reliable and honest candidate and employee experience.

The other approach, which Greg calls “opportunistic” hiring, teems with problems that compound over time both for your technical teams, your recruitment team’s effectiveness, and your candidate pool. Greg walks me through why opportunistic hiring is problematic, the specifics of hiring based on immediate and medium term needs, and how recruiters can push back on hiring managers to make them take a thoughtful approach to filling their teams. For all the sweet sweet conversational content goodness, you can stream the full episode below, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Play, or anywhere else fine podcasts are streamed.