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Making Recruiting Everyone’s Job

Dominique Simoneau-Ritchie

ex-VP Engineering at Wealthsimple

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Problem

We were establishing a Lever’s Toronto office from scratch and needed to hire a lot of people. We started from zero and our goal was to have 20 engineers within a year. We had to hire a lot to accomplish that! To build healthy teams, we had to hire people of all levels, particularly senior people who could learn quickly and coach others. In addition, Lever is genuinely committed to diversity, and since Engineering was already over 40 percent women and non-binary, we wanted to uphold that.

Actions taken

To build the team quickly, we taught everyone who joined us, also outside Engineering, how to source and whom to source. In a nutshell, we made recruiting everyone’s job.

Creating guidelines and documentation

For all recruiting activities, we would create guidelines and documentation to enable everyone to partake. We started by teaching people how to promote our company through their social networks. Some of that included how to add people to our recruiting software so that recruiters could reach out to them. We also taught them to identify communities to source/find people that would be a great addition to our team.

Sourcing training

I introduced sourcing training to the entire organization. To make the training most successful, I created a document that would instruct someone:

  • How to update their LinkedIn profile, including adding compelling graphics;
  • How to use Lever to source (which was also for us great training on using our own product) and as a result be able to source at least three people;
  • Taught them the difference between sourcing and referrals, which was also crucial for anyone working with the product.

Sourcing parties

Sourcing parties proved to be another fun yet effective way to bring in new people. Everyone would be invited into a real or virtual room, and everyone would be focused on the task at hand. We would schedule those for every onboarding cohort and made it optional for other people to join even if they had already been onboarded. The first time we tried it, we were all squeezed in the office trying to do it at the same time while I was walking around like a teacher explaining what they should do.

For example, I would instruct them what to do after identifying a person they were not sure would be the right fit for the role. The answer was -- to be on the safe side -- add them and let the recruiter figure out if they would be a good addition to the team. It would be better to have more than less, and they would still end up doing a pass before they would reach out to them. Also, I would teach people how to use the Lever extension to add people automatically. The goal for everyone was to add three people and reach out to them before they would be allowed to leave our party. The idea was not only to find people but to find people they would love to work with and could learn from. Recruiters would be prepared to afterward run reach-out campaigns to people that were identified.

Outcome

  • I hired six senior engineers in three months in a very competitive market such as Toronto. Though we were not a well-known company back then, being new to Toronto, we managed to build a team of 16 engineers in less than nine months. Our efforts spread out to other teams that also learned about sourcing.
  • The whole process got people thinking about diversity and inclusion. They were also encouraged to think beyond referrals about people they’d never worked with but who could be a great addition to the team. For example, they were encouraged to think about where they could find women sales reps because women are generally underrepresented in sales. They also learned about considering people from different backgrounds, thinking about whether skills could be transferred from a similar role. Because sourcing is all about thinking beyond the people you know, thinking about the broader community.

Lessons learned

  • Getting people to think about going beyond referrals was critically important. Most people think to recommend their friends, which is a leading cause of failed DE&I.
  • Have people thinking about the DE&I. As a seasoned manager, I am always thinking about who are people from underrepresented groups with whom I was not working closely but are part of our wider community. Part of your efforts should be also focused on participating in your own community.
  • The most experienced people don’t apply; they aren’t even looking. But proactive reach-outs can help establish contacts.
  • By collaborating with recruiters, you can reduce the burden on the team, so the team only has to identify people in their networks, and the recruiters do the reach-outs and can automate and tweak these based on how the open roles are changing.
  • Having team members understand that they could contribute to growing the team, they were more likely to surface areas we could benefit from expertise.

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Dominique Simoneau-Ritchie

ex-VP Engineering at Wealthsimple


Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyEngineering ManagementCareer GrowthDiversity and Inclusion InitiativesDiversity Hiring

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