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On the latest episode of The Debrief, Amy Reichanadter, Chief People Officer at Databricks, joins our Co-Founder Teddy Chestnut to chat about lessons she’s learned from scaling Databricks’ team from 500 to almost 7,000 employees.

In the episode, Amy and Teddy discuss:

  • How Amy laid the foundation for hiring success early on at Databricks
  • Setting and maintaining a high bar for hiring quality
  • What Amy prioritized when scaling Databricks’ team 
  • Unlocking hiring efficiency with AI

Check out our highlights from the conversation: 

Amy’s favorite interview question. Amy’s go-to interview question is asking candidates to provide an example of how they’ve used customer feedback to fuel innovation. She believes this question provides the opportunity to understand if the candidate has a customer-centric mindset.

Amy’s top priorities when scaling Databricks. When Amy joined Databricks in 2019, there were around 500 employees. And in just a few years, they would go on to hire more than 6,000 employees. Amy knew it was critical to lay the foundation for exceptional hiring early on, so Databricks could continue to make quality hiring decisions while scaling rapidly. 

To build the foundation for hiring success, she prioritized three things: 

  • Figure out how to achieve hiring excellence at scale
  • Develop a compensation philosophy to attract and retain great talent
  • Invest in leadership development and ensure they understand Databricks’ unique approach to hiring

Balancing hiring quality and quantity. A month into her time at Databricks, Amy had a critical conversation with the CEO Ali Ghodsi. She asked Ali what his biggest concern was for the people department. Amy says, “His answer was so clear to me, which was that he was afraid that the quality of our talent would degrade as we scale.”

To ensure they could maintain hiring quality, Amy focused on helping managers understand that hiring quality is non-negotiable and speed is something they were willing to be flexible on.

What excites Amy the most about AI. When it comes to AI, Amy says, “I think the biggest thing for me is really around the level of experimentation we can do right now because it is a new area for everyone.” Amy’s hope is that AI will help bring people together in new ways to figure out how to best use it. 

Unlocking hiring efficiency with AI. Amy believes sourcing is a useful way to leverage AI to drive hiring efficiency. Amy says, “It’s not intended to be a replacement for people. It’s just an augmentation to help them be more effective to do their jobs more quickly and more thoroughly.” 

Listen to Amy’s podcast episode or watch the entire conversation below:

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