Startup Hiring Advice from Lever CEO Sarah Nahm with Holly Liu

Sarah Nahm is the CEO and cofounder of Lever. Lever builds modern recruiting software for teams to source, interview, and hire top talent. They were in the Summer 2012 batch of YC. You can try Lever out at

Holly Liu is a Visiting Partner at YC. Before that she cofounded the gaming company Kabam.

The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon.

Y Combinator invests a small amount of money ($150k) in a large number of startups (recently 200), twice a year.

Learn more about YC and apply for funding here:



00:05 – Did Sarah grow up thinking she’d be a founder?

7:25 – Why did she decide to leave Google and start Lever?

13:20 – Thinking about product in the early days of Lever

15:15 – Fundraising and figuring out the team

23:30 – How do you figure out someone’s career motivations?

26:50 – Getting concrete when interviewing

28:45 – Hiring remote employees

31:35 – Writing job descriptions around impact

37:05 – Eva Zhang asks – What’s the biggest roadblock you faced in trying to make hiring more inclusive to diverse candidates?

41:30 – What does thinking about inclusion mean at a small company?

46:45 – Not buying into technical and nontechnical people

49:50 – Setting up a culture that allows for conversations about diversity and inclusion

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