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With the job market so hot, how do you structure the recruiting process to go slow enough for you and the team to evaluate several people and fast enough not to lose them to another company?

6 Answers
Katherine Kelly
Katherine Kelly
Benchling Head of Product MarketingMay 18

I've pretty much been consistently hiring for the last several years. I almost always have that "I'm hiring" thing on my LinkedIn (It's there right now!!)

Here are a few tips:

* Be transparent - if you like a candidate, tell them straight up and tell them where you are in the process. ask them where they are in theirs. What do you have to lose by saying "Look, you seem like an incredibly strong candidate and I feel you'd be a great fit for the team. But we like to get a full panel of candidates in to ensure equity in hiring so we're probably a week (or whatever) out before making a final decision. What is your timeline looking like?"

* Focus on what actually helps you decide - you don't need every cross-functional person on your panel just because. Whose opinion will actually sway you? Focus on those people. If you want to see work samples - do you really need them to do a mock project for your company, or can they share their own historical work? Think about how you can consolidate steps - I've sometimes skipped "presentations" and just asked for past work to be sent as pre-reads prior to 1:1s and then we condense the whole process AND give interviewers fodder to talk to the candidate about in their 1:1.

* Don't stop recruiting until a candidate signs. Because you might lose them. Plan like you think you'll lose them because it happens.

515 Views
Jam Khan
Jam Khan
ZoomInfo SVP Product MarketingJuly 20

There's no room to go slow. I ensure that for a particular role the first interview after the recruiter is with the hiring manager. This gives both parties a feel for working with each other. Ideally the candidate feels a connection with the hiring manager and vice versa. If that instant connection isn't there then it's ok to lose a candidate. Don't hire in desperation. As hot as the market is, it's critical to hire the right people and not settle.

388 Views
Priya Gill
Priya Gill
SurveyMonkey Vice President, Product Marketing, Web Strategy and Global ExperienceAugust 10

I’ve been hiring for quite some time now that I typically know when I have a great candidate, so I don’t believe that I need to structure the recruiting process to go slower just in case a better PMM might come along. It is a tough market, so if you have a great candidate that you and your hiring panel feel great about, hire them!

838 Views
Raman Sharma
Raman Sharma
Sourcegraph Chief Marketing OfficerAugust 17

It is important to have a good idea of what you are looking for. We ask the hiring manager to have a good enough conversation with the candidate before bringing them in for a full round of interviews. This initial validation gives us confidence that it is valuable for 3-4 other people in the company to spend time with the candidate. We make it quick for the candidates by clustering all of these interviews as close to each other as possible.

I think the decision around who to bring into the company and the team is one of the most important things we do as managers. So, we cannot artificially rush it. Having said that, I would also mention that our interview round is a good balance of quick and thorough. We arrive at our "hire" or "no hire" decisions soon after the interviews, and communicate them accordingly.

295 Views
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Crossbeam Senior Director Product MarketingSeptember 6

Great question. TL;DR: Put in the time up front to know what you want in the role, set your expectations for the hiring team, and establish what you could compromise on along with the non-negotiables. Do you have a 70-80% of your hit rate on non-negotiables? That's a solid candidate right there, lean into that. Also know that it's better to wait for the right hire v. feel pressured to hire fast because of the "labor market". Everything is fluid, and the cost of a bad hire is far worse (up to 30% of the employee's salary) v. waiting things out. 

Long-ish answer: It all starts with setting clear expectations for everyone involved (internal hiring team and candidates). Before the job hits the market - define and confirm the candidate's hiring process. For example, based on seniority of the position suss out: 

  • will there be a take home assignment? 
  • panel? how many folks should join?
  • which folks from cross-functional teams should we involve? (given the intersection of PMM it's wise to consider front line team members like CS, Sales, and of course product team members).
  • portfolio review?

For each member of the hiring team, we share their role in the process along with the key dimensions we're looking for them to suss out.

In terms of tech - you can't put a price on a solid ATS (applicant tracking system). We use Greenhouse to track everything, candidate score cards, knock out/screening questions, interview guides, etc - this keeps everyone accountable for their role and the candidate pipeline running smoothly.

We are very clear on the job requisite so the candidates know what's expected of them. We outline who they'll meet in the hiring process, what the interview sequencing looks like and any time commitments they need to make for assessments/portolfio reviews.

For the hiring committee, we meet to formally "kick off" the job once we have some solid candidates in the pipe and start interviewing. We make it clear what we're looking for in terms of soft/hard skills, attributes, culture fit, and provide a list of questions to get ideation flowing. 

We aim to keep time to fill under 40 days (ish) and are normally successful because of the work we (and the amazing people ops team) put in upfront. 

333 Views
Jon Rooney
Jon Rooney
Unity Vice President Product MarketingDecember 6

I try to have as much of the recruiting, interviewing and offer process planned as possible before the role is opened and posted.

  • Keep a repository of job descriptions (JDs) that I've either written before or seen over the years that I keep in a file so I'm not starting from a blank page when it's time to pull one together.

  • Map out the panel of interviewers including who's asking a candidate about which skills/topics as well as both primary and secondary panelists so the schedule doesn't get slowed down if one person is out.

  • Personally screen as many of the candidates that flow through (even if it's in the hundreds of resumes) - this will give you a broad sense of the pool as well as prevent things from slowing down if the recruiter is tasked to do 100% of pre-screens.

  • Clear space on calendars for the interview process - send out a framing email to all the panelists and other relevant folks thanking them in advance for their time, emphasizing the importance of the role and the characteristics you're looking for. This will also give panelists a graceful way to bow out if they're too swamped to commit to interviewing.

  • Plan out the offer - including total budget for salary and, if relevant, signing bonus and equity. Make sure you really understand your envelope and what you need to do if you need to make that envelope a little bigger to land the right candidate.

436 Views
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