“Very excited to be here, I absolutely love the shoes,” said Marissa Mayer to Marc Benioff, kicking off the much anticipated Dreamforce ‘Keynote.’ Most Keynotes feature one person, but in this case, the Salesforce CEO interviewed the Yahoo CEO. Opening an interview with enthusiasm and complements are just the first hiring lessons from this brilliant “interviewee.”
Mayer covered the implementation of a design-centric mindset, the transparency of presenting board slides to the entire company, the insights of what mobile means to Yahoo’s growth, and even the philosophical empowering of employees (“Water will find a way”).
Early in the ‘fireside chat,’ Mayer capitalized on the opportunity (within casual conversation of her love for design, of course), broadcasting Yahoo’s most important job opening to the massive Dreamforce audience, “We’re hiring SVP of Design and if you know anyone, let me know. They will report directly to me.”
Mayer moved the discussion to mobile while many in attendance looked down at their mobile devices – confirming that across it’s bevy of applications – Yahoo has over 400 million active monthly mobile users. Benioff was visibly impressed with the number.
“We don’t think of ourselves as a design first company. We think of ourselves as a mobile first company,” said Mayer.
When she arrived at Yahoo, the mobile team was “between 30 and 60 people, depending on who you asked,” and the next step was to “become much more serious about building mobile applications.”
Within a year, Mayer expanded the mobile team to over 400 people. Her leading source of hire? Internal transfers. Existing employees saw the company’s necessity to develop their mobile offering, but needed someone to say “Let’s go.” It became a matter of making the internal transfers process really easy:
— SmartRecruiters (@SmartRecruiters) November 20, 2013
As she talked about the role of the executive, the dependence upon the team surfaced as a reoccurring theme. She cited her mentor, Eric Schmidt, saying, “Executives convince themselves that they do things”… before diving into a sports analogy about how the executive’s job “is to play defense,” protecting and enabling the team to play offense (i.e. actually getting the work done).
In tech’s race to acquire the best talent, I admire Marissa Mayer tipping her hat to the team, will be keeping a close eye on who is Yahoo’s next SVP of Design, and ask you to adopt the hiring culture she shared: