Strategies for Hiring

Praveen Cheruvu

Engineering Leadership at Anaplan


I was responsible of doubling the team size in a short time frame. In addition to rapid hiring, there was also a mandate to develop a diverse pipeline. Recruiting right people is the single most important decision for the company. Building a great platform, product and company is hard. Getting the right people into the company is twice hard.

The various steps in the process in the hiring

1. Sourcing

2. Building a pipeline of candidates

3. Scheduling

4. Interview and Virtual onsite tools

5. Interviewing

6. Offers & Negotiation

7. On-boarding experience

Each one of these steps are extremely important for providing a great candidate experience. Multiple personnel/teams are involved in each step. Given the duration — from application to offer letter can span multiple weeks, months, it demands consistency. The entire team [sourcing, recruiting, scheduling] needs to collaborate effectively. As there are multiple touch points and people involved ensure every engagement/communication is focused on the candidate. It is also the opportunity to show case the culture of the company in action. The hiring manager plays a critical role in bringing the entire team together working with multiple partners of Talent acquisition team. It might take multiple iterations to get into the rhythm and optimize the steps.

Strategies to tackle the steps in the process

Sourcing: The first step is to ensure the job requirements and the profiles of the candidates that are best suited for the role. Sourcing is the first step and forms the basis for the funnel of candidates going through the interview loops. The ramp-up of sourcing team might be iterative. The first few days’ need pay extra attention to the search criteria and prospective candidates that are coming into the pipeline. Once the sourcing kicks off, work closely to hone-in the criteria to get the right profiles for the roles. The investment of time in this step will reap benefits in the longer run. Once the sourcing staff are well trained, it will help scaling the sourcing team as well.

To increase the efficiency of profiles once the sourcing is set, review the resumes asynchronously. Multiple collaborations options are possible. LinkedIn, Shared document, Green House or any other ATS (Application Tracking System).If the inflow of applications exceeds the review rate, it is better to organize resume bash sessions weekly. Have a team of 2–4 reviewers and time box the activity to 3 minutes per resume. If multiple teams are hiring, sharing of candidates can help and drive some efficiencies and eliminate duplication of efforts.

Building a pipeline: Having a healthy pipeline of candidates is critical for keeping the hiring process in motion. Always at least 3 to 5 candidates lined for each role. The pipeline also helps improve throughput of the interview. Unfortunately, the throughput increase might need trial and error. There will be learning along the way. A robust pipeline helps harden the interview process for the company as well. There are multiple things that can transpire during the recruiting cycle and pipeline can serve has risk mitigation strategy.

Scheduling: The candidates might need time to prepare for the interview. The people in the panel might be on vacation. Scheduling can become tricky if the interviewers are in different time zone or geo’s. How quickly the pipeline is moving is directly related how quickly it can be scheduled. This will depend on how many resources are available for the interview. Panel bench and back-up are equally important. Scheduling interviewer for more than 2 interviews a week is over kill. Interviewers will need time to prepare, write feedback, attend pre-brief and debrief sessions. Overall, 2 interviews might take unto 4 hours of the resource time, that is 10% of work week. Overloading the interviewers might also affect the quality of the interview.

Interview and Virtual onsite tools: Align on the interview process and tools upfront. For the process, identify the loops and focus of each interview loop. Enough due diligence is needed in the early loops. If the early loops are lousy, it might lead to waste of time and energy. The signal in the later loops should affirm for hire/no-hire decision. The assessment must be aligned well with role and experience. From onsite interview tools standardize — the online meeting application, coding tools, third party and drawing tools. If the interview panel is not trained, spend time in the ramp-up. Inform the prospective about the tools that will be used during the loops and provide all the information upfront. It is responsibility of the recruiter to ensure the candidate is aware and there are no surprises. The last thing to avoid is to frustrate the interviewer in bringing the candidate up to speed on the tools during the interview. The time allotted is 45–60 minutes and digressing from the assessment topics is not a good investment of time. It is also risk of getting the complete signal needed to make informed decisions.

Interviewing: Preparing the candidate for the interview is the single most important step. Over communicate is a good thing in this respect. The entire hiring team has the responsibility to prepare the candidate to best possible extent to increase the success rate. The interview must not be a trap or the candidate with curve balls and it will be lost opportunity when the candidate says he did not expect the types of questions or assessments. The best way is to provide information for each loop separately and share the documents. The recruiter should engage with the candidate and ensure the candidate is informed and prepared

Offers & Negotiation: The offer and negotiation are very important steps as generally the candidates have more than one offer. If the company is not known or if the brand is evolving, odds are against. The offer must be presented with respect to grown opportunity, the problems the candidate will have opportunity to work and solve and overall impact that they can on the team, company and industry. If the negotiation is just one-dimensional centered compensation, there are many levers available, the conversation could turn out to be cut and dry. Need to employ recruiters who can up sell the opportunity and the company. During this phase if the candidate is interested in talking to other engineers and leaders should strongly encourage and it might help get additional insights and data points that can help them make informed decisions. The end goal is we want to hire and bring onboard happy engineers who will be positioned to do the best work of their life.

On-boarding experience: The on-boarding experience in the remote set-up is equally important. Active engagement with the candidate after the offer signing and starts date. Have a designated on-boarding mentor after the start date. First 4 weeks are for candidate to settle down and initial ramp-up. Have a check list of items with daily and weekly breakdown.

It is suggested for the hiring manager to have a weekly check-point meeting. Transition by developing a plan for 60 and 90 days.

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Praveen Cheruvu

Engineering Leadership at Anaplan

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