Startup employee value proposition template

Why should someone want to work for you? Because you offer much more than just a salary. 

An Employee Value Proposition is a concise statement outlining what you offer employees that makes you a uniquely great place to work. Your EVP is the core of your employer branding efforts that will help you determine your key talking points for recruiting. It also serves as a tool for self-reflection. It can reveal shortcomings in your mission, values, company culture, benefits, and work environment. This template from our early-stage venture fund SignalFire will walk you through writing up your own EVP.

This template from our Director of Talent Operations Crystal Guerrero is part of SignalFire’s Startup Recruiting Guide chapter on building your employer brand and careers page. To get the next chapters, including one dedicated to job descriptions, sign up here

EVP Plan

Purpose: This Employee Value Proposition (EVP) explains why [Company Name] is a great place for its employees to work and advance their careers. 

Goal: Determine key messages that our employer brand should convey to create distinction, build awareness, and attract top talent. Distill them into points you can use throughout your employer branding, including your recruiting dossier, careers page, and job descriptions.

Result: What does your completed EVP look like? A one- or two-paragraph description of your company identity and a set of bullet points about the five pillars of culture, compensation, work environment, benefits, and career advancement.

Process: By surveying our team, we can better understand the strengths we should communicate and the weaknesses we should improve upon.

EVP Research

Questions for our executives and employees:  

  • Who are we as a company?
  • What do we create or offer?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Who does it matter to?
  • Why do people want to be hired and keep working here?
  • What can we do to make the lives of our customers, communities, colleagues, and shareholders better long-term? 
  • How will the world improve if we succeed?
  • How can we align these goals and practices with growing our business? 
  • How would you describe our work hours, after-hours communication, and work environment?
  • Does the team participate in any traditions, rituals, or offsite events?
  • What is the most vivid aspect of the advantages of working for [Company name]? 
  • How can we convince the best talents to join us?
  • What do people like about working here?
  • How does the company support your personal and professional growth?
  • What about our leadership does or doesn’t give you confidence?
  • What do people dislike or think we could improve about working here?
  • Why do people depart the company, and what do they do next?
  • What would you tell someone about our company if they had never heard of us?

Question for top-performing employees:

  • Describe a specific moment you were proud to work at [Company name].
  • Describe the most recent time [Company name] empowered you to achieve a goal.
  • Why did you decide to join [Company name]?
  • Which words best describe the culture or work environment at [Company name?] 
  • What traits make for a successful employee at [Company name]?
  • What excites you about working at [Company name] each day? 
  • What’s your prediction about the future success of [Company name] and why?

Question topics:

To dig deeper into specific areas, ask for opinions about these particular policies and processes:

  • Compensation: Overall satisfaction, industry benchmarks, promotions and raises, bonuses
  • Benefits: Vacation, medical/dental/vision, parental leave, retirement
  • Culture: Mission, social responsibility, values, decision-making, autonomy, accountability, politics, diversity & inclusion
  • Work environment: Office quality, location, remote work policies, pets, social events
  • Career: Personal development resources, career paths, titles, mentorship

For more survey questions, check out this guide to EVP research from Job Portraits, and this list from TalentLyft.

Additional interviews:

Speak with the following groups will help you refine your answers: 

  • Executive leadership
  • Colleague focus groups
  • Employee resource groups
  • Human resources team
  • External communications teams including sales, marketing, comms, and social media

EVP Template

EVP outline

With the research fresh in your mind, outline your company identity within these five pillars of an employee value proposition:

  • Company culture – What are your values around team spirit, ethics, inclusion, and socializing?
  • Compensation – How much do you pay for what work/life balance compared to your industry?
  • Work environment – How you describe your office or remote work atmosphere and autonomy level? 
  • Benefits – What compensation and perks do you offer beyond wages?
  • Career advancement – How do you help teammates grow professionally?

EVP outline example

Here’s what your sets of bullet points on the five pillars of your EVP might look like:

  • Culture: Win as a team. Measure & iterate. A breadth of voices.
  • Compensation: Strong base pay. Bonuses for supporting the team. Carry to align with portfolio.
  • Career: Path to partnership. A fast-rising fund brand. Launch your own initiatives.
  • Benefits: Industry-leading parental leave. Unlimited vacation. Educational team events.
  • Work environment: Work-from-home until it’s safe. A bustling engineer-style office. Work autonomously, improve collectively.

Writing Your EVP Statement

The 4 elements of an EVP statement: Now refine these outlines into carefully worded messaging. Write out each of the following points into a sentence or two to create your paragraph-long EVP: 

  • Positioning statement: Conveys the overarching concept of who we are, what we value in colleagues, and why people should join our team. 
  • Pillars: Top themes from the surveys and interviews about what makes [Company name] unique and appealing. What you’ll communicate is 75% reality, 25% aspirational. 
  • Messaging outline: Highlight the most salient features of each pillar that make you unique.
  • Call to action: An anchor or theme within the messaging that unites the core points of your employer brand into a memorable incentive to join [Company name]. 

Hypothetical EVP:

We’re Transmission Capital, a late-stage venture fund offering growth capital to tomorrow’s greatest companies. Our culture matches the sales-minded companies we fund — constantly seeking a better way to connect and collaborate. Transmission Capital is seeking tomorrow’s best VC talent with a diverse range of perspectives. We offer industry-leading parental leave and career mentorship. If you want a seat at the table of a new style of venture fund, you belong at Transmission Capital.

Now you can apply your version messaging across your recruiting efforts so you’re always on-brand.

This template is part of SignalFire’s Startup Recruiting Guide chapter on building your employer brand and careers page. To get the next chapter, sign up here.

If you’d like to learn more about our fund and talent program, you can contact the author, our Director of Talent Operations Crystal Guerrero, here: [email protected]

About SignaFire’s Talent Program

Recruiting is SignalFire’s superpower. Our Beacon Talent engine tracks all the top tech talent in the Western world, and can generate reports on the best and most poachable job candidates for any role. SignalFire’s talent program is led by former Facebook executive recruiter Mike Mangini whose team assists our portfolio companies with high-level strategy and on-the-ground recruiting to make sure you score your ideal hires. We helped make over 1000 job candidate intros to our portfolio companies last year — just one of the reasons we receive a net promoter score of 96 from our portfolio founders, over 85% of whom say we’re their most valuable investor. Want to start working with SignalFire’s Talent team? Contact our Director of Talent Operations Crystal Guerrero here: [email protected]

Hiring manager kickoff playbook

Job Description Prep & Phone Screener Script 

by Crystal Guerrero, edited by Josh Constine

You’ve got an open job position to fill, but how do you write an accurate job description or start to screen applicants? This document will walk you through preparation for defining an ideal job candidate’s skills and experience, determining companies and industries from which to recruit, and which top-selling points and questions will score you the best applicants. Then we’ll outline which questions to ask applicants to quickly understand if they might be a good fit.

This resource is part of SignalFire’s Startup Recruiting Guide chapter on hiring plans and launching a recruiting process. You can sign up here to get our next chapter and more guides for startups.

PART 1: Recruiter → Hiring Manager initial communication

Recruiters: You can copy and paste this into an email or a working document to share with your hiring manager. If you’re a smaller team, the leadership, hiring manager, recruiter, and HR roles may overlap, and you might just be filling this out yourself.

[JOB TITLE] Details – link to Job Description 

Let’s start preparing for the kick-off! I am getting things prepped and ready to post the [JOB TITLE] role. [LEADERSHIP] mentioned you will be the hiring manager for this role and to sync up with you accordingly.

I have created a preliminary doc that helps outline the specifics of the role. This is an information-gathering doc that will help me both in the candidate-sourcing phase and the recruiter phone interview phase.

Please spend 30 minutes to 1 hour adding details about this role. Please fill out the sections that I designated with [HIRING MANAGER], as I would like you to think about and define this before we meet. This is a template version so I have added ideas to get you started. Anywhere you see a “?” or “…” is somewhere to fill in the information.

We can figure out the rest of the details ad hoc. If you would like me to share this template with anyone or ask anyone else to participate, please let me know. I will also set aside an hour for us to review the info and discuss logistics.

The more info you can provide, the better!

Link to Ideal Candidate Profiles [HIRING MANAGER: please add at least 5 LinkedIn profiles]:

Companies to Target [HIRING MANAGER, please add]:

  • Are there companies that are known for having strong teams around this position?

  • Domain?

  • Companies using a similar tech stack?

Profile Search Keywords [HIRING MANAGER, please add] –

If I were to search on LinkedIn, what keywords would represent the skills you want to see?:

  • Current companies?

  • Past companies?

  • Technologies/languages/frameworks?

  • Skills?

  • School?

  • Degree type?

  • Similar job titles?

Ideal Candidate (Work Experience) [HIRING MANAGER, please add]:

  • Compensation maximum: …

  • …years experience in…

  • Any need for X years (total) in a …-facing role in a … related industry or field?

  • Experience working with…

  • Strong understanding of…

  • Has experience taking a company from X size to Y size?

  • Has launched a …-type of product?

Ideal Candidate Traits (Who are they/Culture) [HIRING MANAGER, please add]:

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, diverse, and rapidly changing environment.

  • Someone that can…

  • Attention to…

  • Soft skills/attributes such as: Energetic, no ego, willingness to take full ownership, wear multiple hats, doesn’t fold under pressure, cross-functional communication skills, someone that feels like they have to be a part of a startup (this is part of their goals/dream)

Red Flag examples: 

  • Contractor/Consultant

  • Large gaps in experience

  • Job hopper

  • Anything else?

 

Top 5 Selling points for this role? Why is it compelling? Why join this team instead of another? [HIRING MANAGER, please add]:

Please don’t mirror what is already listed on the job description. If you were trying to sell a candidate on the opportunity, what are the major reasons why this role is HOT?

  • You will establish yourself as a…

  • You will have the ability to…

  • You will build…

  • You will contribute…

  • You will lead…

  • You will learn…

 

Team structure [HIRING MANAGER, please add]:

  • Who does this hire report to?

  • Who is on their team?

  • Who is on their pod?

  • Who do they work with cross-functionally?

  • Team dynamics?

  • Growth opportunity?

 

Phases of the interview and times for each: [Hiring Manager, please coordinate]:

  • Recruiter Phone Screen (Name – 30 minutes)

  • Hiring Manager Phone Screen (Name – 30 minutes)

  • Video Call / Onsite 1: meet with [TEAM NAME] team member (NAME –  45 minutes) – Optional person to rotate in if not available (NAME – 45 minutes)

  • Video Call / Onsite 1: meet with [TEAM NAME] team member (NAME –  45 minutes) – Optional person to rotate in if not available (NAME – 45 minutes)

  • Video Call / Onsite 1: meet with cross-functional team member (NAME –  45 minutes) – Optional person to rotate in if not available (NAME – 45 minutes)

  • Video Call / Onsite 2: HW presentation (60 minutes total)

    • Required to meet: (1 hour total)

      • Name(s)

      • Optional to meet: ?

  • Video Call / Onsite 2: (Other 1:1’s)

 

PART 2: Guidelines for initial phone screen

Here we’ll go over major question topics to discuss in your first phone call or video conference with a job candidate.

Note that we’ve omitted topics regarding citizenshipfamily status, and compensation history. These are regulated by laws that protect candidates from discrimination and compensation suppression. Please be sure to comply with these laws and consult an expert before asking about these topics.

Employers can still gauge the applicant’s pay expectations without asking for their salary history by including a range in a job description. You can use this compensation calculator to get a ballpark range. Even with a salary history ban, an employer can ask what an applicant hopes to earn. And nothing prevents highly paid job applicants from volunteering their current salary to set employer expectations.

Recruiter Intake – Questions for candidates: 

  • Pain (motivators for looking):

    • Why are you leaving/looking outside of your current role?

    • What are you looking for in your next role that is lacking in your current role?

  • Career: What are your top 3 motivators to take a job? 

    • 1.

    • 2.

    • 3.

  • Location:

    • Where do you commute from?

    • Are you able to make that commute to [OFFICE LOCATION]? (Do you commute via car, train, bike etc.)

    • Are they moving? If needed, do they expect to be reimbursed for or given a relocation bonus?

  • Company: 

    • What is your ideal team size? (team and company)

    • What is your main interest in joining an [early-stage / late-stage / public] company?

    • If coming out of something large, would you be able to transition well to a company of [COMPANY SIZE] because your level of contribution is going to be different? Are you ready for that challenge?

  • Compensation Expectations: 

    • Base

    • Bonus

    • Equity

    • Total

  • Timing: 

    • If we decide to move forward, what is your availability for this week? Get two days/times of availability for followup interviews.

    • If we decide to move forward, how quickly would you be willing to accept an offer and start working?

    • Do you have any upcoming vacations or projects at work that might obstruct this timeline?

  • Competition: 

    • What companies are you currently interviewing with & what stage are you at?

    • Do you currently have any offers in hand? When do they expire?

  • Experience: [HIRING MANAGER, please add]:  What about their past or present experience would qualify them for the role? Please edit these questions and create your own.

    • Tell me about your experience working on a [TEAM NAME] team:

      • How was the [DEPARTMENT] function organized and where did you fit in?

      • What were your responsibilities?

      • Who did you report to and what is their title?

      • Did you have any direct or in-direct reports?

    • Tell me about your day-to-day/specific project/experience you worked on

      • What was the purpose of the project?

      • What did you solely contribute?

      • Who else did you work with on the project?

      • What was their role?

      • Did you face any issues?

      • What did you learn?

      • Did the project get implemented?

      • Did this help [increase productivity / boost metrics / lower metrics, etc]?

About SignaFire’s Talent Program

Recruiting is SignalFire’s superpower. Our Beacon Talent engine tracks all the top tech talent in the Western world, and can generate reports on the best and most poachable job candidates for any role. SignalFire’s talent program is led by former Facebook executive recruiter Mike Mangini whose team assists our portfolio companies with high-level strategy and on-the-ground recruiting to ensure you score your ideal hires. We helped make over 1000 job candidate intros to our companies last year — just one of the reasons we receive a net promoter score of 96 from our portfolio founders, over 85% of whom say we’re their most valuable investor. Want to start working with SignalFire’s Talent team? Contact this article’s author, our Director of Talent Operations Crystal Guerrero: [email protected]

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