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Building scalable hiring processes & systems promoting operational excellence

with Stephen Poletto

June 18, 2024
Building scalable hiring processes & systems promoting operational excellence
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Stephen Poletto is the Chief Technology Officer at Lattice, where he leads the company's product development, and where he scaled the engineering team from 20 to 150 team members. Stephen began his career at Apple before spending eight years building and growing technical teams at Dropbox. Stephen has had the opportunity to incubate new products such as Dropbox Carousel and Dropbox Paper, and also work on at-scale products such as the Dropbox mobile app and Dropbox's platform infrastructure. Stephen lives in San Francisco. In the winter, you can find him snowboarding in the mountains.

"Even very simple things like a candidate's been in back to back interviews. You hop on. 'Hey, how are you? Do you need a five minute break?' We would train interviewers on some of those tactics, right? At the beginning of the call, set the agenda. ‘We're going to spend this amount of time on these topics. We're going to spend this amount of time to give you space to ask questions of me.’ Now the candidate knows what to expect. They're put at ease. It's simple stuff but it really colors the way that people feel about the interview itself. What kind of feeling do they have about the company coming out of it?”

<cite>- Stephen Poletto    </cite>

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  • Stephen’s primary goal when he first joined Lattice (3:15)
  • Steps for building out a systematic & repeatable hiring process (5:51)
  • Defining & articulating employee value propositions during the hiring process (8:00)
  • Strategies for presenting company culture via hiring / onboarding (10:21)
  • Hiring experience differentiators & how to make them the norm (13:27)
  • Training the engineering team on how to effectively hire (16:53)
  • Stephen’s process for creating a hiring rubric & loop documentation (20:06)
  • How hiring systems can be tweaked / evaluating current hiring needs (22:20)
  • Identifying what operational excellence means for your org (24:22)
  • Rituals / dilemmas to focus on that influence psychology & behavior (26:13)
  • Examples of ending & replacing processes / operations (29:58)
  • Signals that a ritual is no longer serving your needs (32:12)
  • Frameworks for applying incentives / rewards within an eng org (34:57)
  • Navigating the balance between output vs. input (38:57)
  • First steps toward better organizational impact & avoiding bad incentives (41:07)
  • Rapid fire questions (43:37)


  • Product-Led AI - Greylock partner and former product builder Seth Rosenberg talks with founders about their inspiration and process to build, test, and continually reimagine how AI and humans work together.
  • The Holloway Guide to Equity Compensation - Stock options, RSUs, job offers, and taxes—a detailed reference, including hundreds of resources, explained from the ground up, for both employees and managers.
  • Steve Bartel’s blog - Steve Bartel is the co-founder and CEO of Gem. Prior to founding Gem, Steve was an engineering leader at Dropbox where his experience working closely with the recruiting process allowed him to see the lack of technology in the space. This inspired him to co-found Gem, which allows recruiting teams of all sizes to source talent, engage with talent, and use data to improve recruiting processes.

This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor https://www.linkedin.com/in/noah-olberding/

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer - https://www.bnd3d.com/

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at https://elliecoggins.com/about/

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