Trilogy Enterprises Inc. of Austin, Texas, is a fast-growing software company, and provides software solutions to giant global firms for improving sales and performance. Many of its approaches to business practice are unusual, but in Trilogy’s fast-changing and highly competitive environment, they seem to work.

There is no dress code and employees make their own hours, often very long. They tend to socialize together (the average age is 26), both in the office’s well-stocked kitchen and on company-sponsored events and trips to places like local dance clubs and retreats in Las Vegas. Responsibility is heavy and comes early, with a “just do it now” attitude. New recruits get a few weeks of intensive training, described by participants as “more like boot camp than business school.” Information is delivered as if with “a fire hose,” and new employees are expected to commit their expertise and vitality to everything they do. Jeff Daniel, director of college recruiting, admits the intense and unconventional firm is not the employer for everybody.

The firm employs about 700 people. Trilogy’s managers know the rapid growth they seek depends on having a staff of the best people they can find, quickly trained and given broad responsibility and freedom as soon as possible. CEO Joe Liemandt says, “At a software company, people are everything…. Of course, the leaders at every company say, ‘People are everything.’ But they don’t act on it.”

Trilogy makes finding the right people a company-wide mission. Recruiters actively scour college career fairs and computer science departments for talented overachievers with ambition and entrepreneurial instincts. Top managers conduct the first rounds of interviews. Employees take top recruits and their significant others out on the town when they fly into Austin for the standard, 3-day preliminary visit. A typical day might begin with grueling interviews but end with mountain biking.

One year, Trilogy reviewed 15,000 résumés, conducted 4,000 oncampus interviews, flew 850 prospects in for interviews, and hired 262 college graduates. The cost per hire was $13,000; Jeff Daniel believes it was worth every penny.


a-1. Identify some of the established recruiting techniques that apparently underlie Trilogy’s unconventional approach to attracting talent.

a-2. What particular elements of Trilogy’s culture most likely appeal to the kind of employees it seeks? How does it convey those elements to job prospects?

a-3. Would Trilogy be an appealing employer for you? Why? If not, what would it take for you to accept a job offer from Trilogy?

a-4. What suggestions would you make to Trilogy for improving its recruiting processes?