The Definitive Guide to Business

At this start-up, you have to work a full week before getting a job offer

In 2007, Weebly co-founders Dan Veltri, David Rusenko and Chris Fanini were looking to grow their three-person team.

"We were hiring our first person. We knew it was a critical hire and we couldn't make up our minds," Rusenko, CEO of the web publishing start-up, tells CNBC. "So we thought, well why don't we bring them in for a week and work with them? We'll pay them and just see whether it works."

It ended up being "one of the best things we ever did," the CEO says, and this process evolved into what Weebly now calls its "trial week."

"You do real work," Rusenko says of the trial week, which every prospective employee gets paid to complete before getting an offer. "You get in and hit the ground running. It's an opportunity for people to show their work and show the quality of their work."

David Rusenko, co-founder and CEO of Weebly
Source: Weebly
David Rusenko, co-founder and CEO of Weebly

It allows Rusenko and the company to evaluate job candidates beyond the bullet points on their resumes, and better understand their personalities, how they would function within the team and what their work output is like.

It also allows the potential recruits to evaluate Weebly. "It's just as much an opportunity for the candidates to get a really good feel of what it's like working here," Rusenko says.

At the end of the trial week, the candidates present their work to three to five employees.

"Usually there's a project, so you have the opportunity to show your work and the progress you were able to make on the project," Rusenko explains. "That day, we would follow up with an offer or not. ... There's a 75 percent pass rate."

Weebly co-founders, David Rusenko, Chris Fanini and Dan Veltri
Source: Weebly
Weebly co-founders, David Rusenko, Chris Fanini and Dan Veltri

Today, Weebly has grown from its three-person team of founders to 300-plus employees, and more than 40 million entrepreneurs use the platform to grow their online businesses.

A key to the company's success has been its ability to assemble a strong team, Rusenko says. "When you start a company, I really believe there are only two truly hard problems that you face: one, product-market fit — effectively solving a problem for a large number of people — and number two is hiring and growing a really fantastic team of people.

"It's so critically important to be thoughtful and to think about how you grow your team and your culture," he said.