Reduce Recruiting Stress By Rotating Responsibility

Karl Baum




As CTO at VTS, I really needed to grow our engineering team rapidly, but didn't have an in-house engineering recruiter. We had 10-15 engineers at the time, and we wanted to recruit 10 more, but at the time we didn't have our own HR department. Because of this, I needed to figure out a scalable way to grow the team, as I didn't want to spend 100 percent of my time working on recruiting.

Actions taken

I decided to set up a weekly rotation where there was one engineering backlog groomer. We collected candidates details from Underdog.io, external recruiters, and AngelList, and the backlog groomer was responsible for making sure all the engineering candidates details were sent to a single inbox in Asana. They then had to review all of the candidates that came in. From there, the groomer would decide either to pass or to move the candidate forward to the next step in the recruitment process.

The candidate would then be randomly assigned another engineer on our team, who would be the champion of that candidate. The champion would then take the candidate through the entire process. This involved a phone interview to start off with. If the candidate did well, the champion would then schedule an onsite meeting with other engineers.

This allowed the responsibility of recruiting to be distributed across the entire team. This was really motivating for the entire team, as they were able to have a say on who they would work with, and on the future of the team. In addition, this approach allowed the engineers to all work on their recruitment skills, as regardless of whether the engineer was a junior or a senior engineer, they were a part of the recruiting process.

Lessons learned

This is a good approach, especially when you don't have an engineering recruiter. When one person's entire job is dedicated to recruiting, this may quickly become frustrating. However, it can be fun to do it as a group, especially when it isn't taking up 100% of your time. Engineers are also really great at recruiting other engineers, and our process stood out from when we just used external recruiters. Recruiters don't necessarily appeal to other engineers when they reach out. However, when another engineer reaches out to a potential candidate, this helps to make your team stand out.

"This allowed the responsibility of recruiting to be distributed across the entire team."

"Engineers are also really great at recruiting other engineers."

There are some negative aspects to this approach. Some of the engineers had very little experience evaluating other engineers. To address this, I paired junior engineers with senior ones in interviews. In addition, when engineers are focussing on recruiting, they have less time to do engineering. While spreading the responsibility across the team can help, this trade-off is something that has to be acknowledged.

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Karl Baum


Engineering Management

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