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BYOT

Avi Bryant on April 25, 2016

Do you know anyone who makes you incredibly better at what you do? People who motivate and inspire you, complement your strengths and shore up your weaknesses, help you achieve things you could never do on your own? Maybe it’s your old co-founders, your college roommates, your collaborators on an open source project, or even your siblings; whoever it is, you’re stronger as a team than you are apart. Working together, each of you has a valuable advantage—you could call it a network effect—over anyone who works alone.

Startup investors know this; that’s why firms like Y Combinator discourage solo applicants and focus so much on the makeup of a founding team.

Stripe knows it too. Which is why we’d love you—that is, we’d love you and your collaborators—to apply together to work at Stripe. We call it Bring Your Own Team.

Any group of 2 to 5 people can apply as a team to Stripe, through our application form. Make sure to include resumes or CVs for each person, indicate which role each person is applying for, and a brief description of how you all know each other or have worked together in the past. Links to (or attached samples of) things you’ve built together are especially helpful. We’re expecting teams to be primarily software engineers, but we’d love to see well-established collaborations between engineers and designers, managers, or product managers.

Once you’ve applied, we’ll take you all through the hiring process together: we’ll make sure you hit the same stages of interviews at the same time, bring you all to the office on the same day, and try to design at least one interview problem that you can work on as a team. If we make an offer, we’ll make it to all of you, at the same time; you’d all be free to accept or decline individually, but of course we’d hope you’d all accept — and if you do, we’d work with all of you to find a place at Stripe where you can all start off working together.

This is an experiment and we’ll tweak it as we go. We’re excited to try it out, though—the industry has always focused on hiring atoms; we’d like to try hiring molecules. And we hope you’re excited to apply. We eagerly await your application.

Update: After spending about a year on the BYOT experiment, we’ve decided to sunset it. In short, it didn’t work; we didn’t hire any teams as a result.

There were a few reasons for this, which we learned along the way. First, coordinating multiple career moves at once is even more logistically tricky than we realized. Many candidates who considered BYOT ended up applying as individuals. Second, much of the interest in BYOT came from talented teams in countries where Stripe isn’t yet ready or able to hire full-time employees. We’re excited to be in touch with some of these teams again when we expand to their home countries.

We’ll be taking much of what we learned through this experiment and applying it to our standard hiring process. For example, many candidates appreciated the explicit guidance for what to expect when interviewing, and the timeline on which to expect it. We’re also still open to allowing multiple candidates who know each other to apply at the same time, without the BYOT structure; if you’re interested, come talk to us. While we’re sorry this experiment didn’t work out, we’re never done tweaking and improving our hiring process. If you’ve got suggestions, let us know!