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Jan 30, 2023: Updates to cost per placement, per comments

Marketing, PR & comms skills lists now live (in addition to Ops, PA & ExA work)

Candidates can now explicitly list themselves as having marketing, comms & fundraising roles. As we previously discussed, these kinds of skills are often swept under the operations umbrella at many EA-aligned orgs, especially smaller ones.   

We soft-launched the option in our sign-up form during Dec '22, and have already had ~12 people be open to these roles on their profile. 

You can view candidates by role on our roles page here. If you're an existing candidate who'd like to add those skills to your profile, email us at info@pineappleoperations.org. 

We now list fiscal sponsorship resources

Fiscal sponsorship and operations support are a common pain points of early stage projects, so we've shared some recommendations from operations staff at other EA organizations. The Pineapple Ops team has not personally vetted or thoroughly reviewed this list. Please do research any fiscal sponsor you wish to work with. 

Why are we sharing these resources? Knowledge sharing of operations in EA has a lot of room for improvement. Since our team doesn't have the capacity to do resource compilations ourselves with a concerted effort, we wanted to try collaborating with other folks to create lists. 

Our progress to date (what we think we've done well on)

Progress on placements (our main metric for impact)

We've been up for 3 months, and in that time we've placed at least 9 people in full- or part-time roles, with at least 4 more getting strong leads and/or making it to late stage of the applications process that we know of. We currently list over 180 people candidates. 

Rough cost per placement: ~$420 850 USD, taking into account that most placements were part time. (We expect cost per placement to drop as this estimate includes project set-up time)

We've received a lot of positive feedback from employers and candidates alike - even those who haven't yet been placed directly from the board. 

Moving fast & experimenting 

I am happy with the pace at which we've moved as a part-time project. I think we've found new areas to explore which aren't too ambitious 

We are currently experimenting with another, smaller project that we hope will result in more candidate placements, and currently troubleshooting demand-supply issues. (We plan to discuss this project in more depth in future updates). 

Areas of improvement

During our informal internal review, I (Vaidehi) felt the main area for improvement was to spend a little bit more time advertising the database to candidates and employers more. We did an initial sprint during November but this died down over Dec & Jan. We want to make sure that folks know about Pineapple Operations and its offered resources. We are currently evaluating capacity to do more advertising, but tentatively want to hit a target of putting out reminders, content or resources every 3-6 weeks. So far, we don't think we've made any major mistakes in the course of running this project. 

Additionally, although initial budgeting for the project was correct, we've identified more worthwhile opportunities than we expected to spend our initial funding on and will likely need to reduce time spent on the project or fundraise. 

As an unpaid volunteer, I (Vaidehi) have not been as strict on time tracking my hours as I would like to be, so I expect we may be underestimated my time input (and possible counterfactual of where else I could spend my time).

Get Involved  & Support us

  • Sign up to be listed on the database
  • Let us know if you've been hired or made it to later stages of a job application (or found a good candidate!) because of our job board
  • We are seeking funding (~$10K) to allow us to take advantage of more opportunities for collaboration / smaller experiments as they arise over the next year. We have enough runway to maintain current operations through for the next ~6 months. If interested, please reach out to Vaidehi (vaidehi@pineappleoperations.org).

Did we miss something? Please share your feedback for us in the comments! We may not have capacity to respond to all feedback directly, but we read and consider all feedback we receive. 

Pineapple Operations is run by Vaidehi Agarwalla & Alexandra Malikova. We're always seeking feedback on our services & resources - please comment or reach out to us at info@pineappleoperations.org.





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Happy Pineapple user here!
I found myself in pressing need of an assistant, and was particularly wanting to hire someone with context about the EA community. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of talented people that had signed up to Pineapple's list (including several people I had worked with through my former role doing Group Support with CEA). My colleague and I looked through the details of all the available people, and sent a short trial task to several people on the list. We then gave one person a (paid) work trial, and then hired them. The process took much less time than running an open hiring round and I'm incredibly happy with how it is going with this hire, so using Pineapple worked out brilliantly for me.   

$420 per placement is insanely good cost-effectiveness!
In contrast, we spend ~$8000  per new hire at Epoch on evaluations.
If the process significantly alleviates the vetting burden on the orgs I am pretty impressed. 

Very excited to see the progress of this org!

Thanks! For full transparency / possible underestimating of our numbers (the post was written quickly):

  • it includes part-time roles, and we haven't adjusted for this (but should)
  • I imagine there's a distribution in the value of each role we placed (I expect some are much more valuable than others) but we haven't figured out how to judge them.
  • it doesn't count my time (since I'm unpaid), which might reduce the cost-effectiveness (I'd estimate it was maybe 20% of the billed hours)
  • we don't help with vetting other than providing a list of candidates (but this might be particularly useful for folks doing closed hiring rounds)
  • we probably need to apply some discount for candidates who would have been hired anyway

So I wouldn't be surprised if the adjusted cost per placement was 2-3x higher right now (although, we expect this to drop since the maintenance costs are very low)

Wow, 9 placements in 3 months is incredible!! I'd be curious to see that in terms of FTE equivalents (is it mostly part time staff?).

What are you counting as a "placement" here -- someone first noticing a persons' name on Pineapple, or did you also ask about counterfactuality (would the employee have applied otherwise, or would the employer have reached out from another source?).

I'd also kind of be interested (if you have capacity to share) if the folks placed are "new" to EA (operationalized maybe as 'no former full time job at an EA affiliated org'), or were already in the labor pool.

Thanks for your feedback! Your follow-up made us take a closer look at our calculation, which we have now updated in our post. Turns out, most placements were part-time, so the cost per placement is about double our initial estimate. 

It is difficult to define placement, as we didn't capture that information (our feedback form now aims to capture that). However, based on feedback, some candidates were part of a closed hiring round, indicating that Pineapple was the primary access point to the candidates. This is further corroborated by some employer anecdotes, who said that searching the Pineapple list was how they identified and narrowed down candidates.  That said, this could be limited to just the couple of candidate placements, so I am not very certain on this by any means. We will aim to share as we get more info. 

Good question about EA experience. We ask each candidate about their EA involvement (in hours spent total on EA). Those who got placements had the following EA involvement: 5-20 hours (1 person), 20-100 hours (3 people), and 100+ hours (5 people).

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