Three essential keys to recruiting and building new teams

Jessica Yeh


Building exceptional teams that move the needle forward (while having fun doing it!) is no easy task. Filling headcount is only part of the objective – it takes something special, including all sorts of professional talents and unique perspectives, to establish teams that are built to last. 

Today, Glean has grown to over 200 employees spread across all different corners of the globe. Many of our teams have matured, and built out the foundations of their function to prepare to scale further. However, when I joined Glean in 2021, it was a completely different story when it came to hiring – one most new and scaling companies may be familiar with. 

New horizons

The first time I heard about Glean was when Arvind announced it along with his departure at our previously shared workplace – Rubrik. Although our careers parted ways for a while, Arvind and I eventually discussed the prospect of working together again, and I joined Glean in 2021! 

At the time, it was a very different picture. Glean had only secured series A funding, and was still in stealth mode with 25 employees. 'Teams' and 'departments' were often defined and driven by just a single person, and we had to be scrappy and nimble to get things up and running. 

This was also true of recruiting. Some of the most fulfilling work of my career has been building out the foundations of recruiting at Glean from scratch, as well as rising up to the challenge of meeting some extremely ambitious startup goals. For example, I remember feeling inspired to hit my goal of hiring 25 new employees for our university class in my first year. When I achieved it, I felt so accomplished!

Building it right

Accomplishing these goals and getting to where we are today taught me a few things about how best to approach recruiting, especially when building new teams at startup companies:

  • Potential pays: Hiring for potential can be worth the risk. As a startup, budgets are typically limited, and looking for only the most experienced can be an expensive and unsustainable strategy. Some of my best hires were candidates that were more junior, yet bright and highly receptive to mentoring. When done right, it’s an approach that’s extremely rewarding and pays off in the long run. 
  • Lean on great support: When you’re going from a headcount of 25 to 200, the most important thing is hiring the right support as you scale. It’s essential in helping you maintain a consistently high quality in recruiting standards. Finding the right people can be challenging, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have hired a recruiting team that’s both adaptable and open to learning and helping wherever they can. Being flexible with what the company needs at any given moment in time has also been the most important trait for us this past year.
  • Look for constant learners: Invest in people that grow with the company, and look to grow themselves. Startups tend to attract ambitious talent, and at Glean, there’s a huge learning culture. As we scale, it’s important that we’re constantly improving ourselves and growing our professional talents.

Last but not least – Glean! Glean was the very first product that I could use on a regular basis. As someone who works a multirole function (leading efforts on the HR side), Glean is invaluable for managing and streamlining my day-to-day work. Having a directory of answers for future and current employees to reference through the answers feature helps me save so much time, as I get asked a million questions each day. Working with Glean also really helped me understand and explain the product from first-hand experience. 

Starting something great

It’s also immensely rewarding to see new hires you’ve made thriving and growing during their time at your company. Much of that can hinge on giving new hires the autonomy to find the information they need. Glean makes it easy for teams to build out automated, yet nuanced onboarding processes that help new hires learn things quickly without feeling overwhelmed. In past roles where I didn't have Glean, I constantly felt that too much essential onboarding information lived within certain (busy!) stakeholders, and people would have to resort to directly contacting those individuals in order to finalize their onboarding. 

Glean helps new workers hit the ground running faster than ever by circumventing that bottleneck and simply searching for the critical information they need to progress. It’s also not just about getting up to speed, but establishing a stable foundation of knowledge accessibility that helps employees thrive in the long-run

My time at Glean has been an exciting ride – including highlights like our Napa offsite in 2021 that I was able to plan, helping us really bond and connect as a team before launching the company. 

Starting our Women at Glean program and watching it grow from 8 women being involved to now over 50 has also been quite exciting! 

There’s so much going on and so much more to do! Interested in working with us? Check out our open positions here, and help us build something revolutionary.

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