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Building a Remote Team: Focusing on the Hiring Pipeline

Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Onboarding
Hiring

28 March, 2022

Dipti Srivastava
Dipti Srivastava

Director Product Software Architecture and Engineering at Equinix

Dipti Srivastava, Director of Product Software Architecture and Engineering at Equinix, shares her experience building a remote team to work on a new initiative in a different geographical location.

Building a Team in a New Location

Recently, I was asked to build a new team from scratch to work on a new initiative. I was hiring team members from different geographical regions than I was used to – which raised some challenges. For one, I had to learn about a different hiring pipeline, get candidates to interviews, and mitigate any remote working challenges.

It was difficult to reach an optimal number of people in the team for almost an entire year. Team members continued to leave due to frustration because the team didn’t meet a quota where it could function properly – meaning the lack of human connection negatively affected team members. Once I had pinpointed that pain point, I had to accelerate and align the hiring process, while finding ways of increasing the interpersonal connection between my team members.

Aspects to Consider when Building a Team

Optimal Team Capacity:

It was important to hire my team in groups and short periods. When I continuously hired individuals without a full team, members would become frustrated and leave before hiring someone else. For this reason, I quickly learned it was important for me to hire candidates in quick succession to one. Doing so slowed attrition and allowed members to connect with one another.

Local Leadership:

For a team to function, they need an on-site manager to act as a scrum leader, agile coach, or local manager. The biggest gap in my team was that last point – having a local manager that team members could reach out to.

Since I was managing this team in a different time zone, I only had one hour of overlap during the workday. It was difficult for team members to push past any blockers with their manager only being available for one hour.

Hiring People with the Right Temperament:

Through talking with team members that joined my new team, I received feedback that when working on a new initiative, I should look for team members who embody the startup mindset. That meant hiring individuals who thrive in ambiguity and take ownership of situations.

Hiring the right team members directly impacted the attrition rate of my team. Many of the individuals that left were not experienced in the startup world and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

Monitoring the Onboarding:

After candidates were hired, my team wanted to ensure that that person was onboarded properly and felt productive to the team. Even if the team wasn’t the optimal size, I wanted to make certain that each individual could provide value to the team.

This was one of the biggest learnings for me, and I made a goal to ensure each team member was onboarded within a month.

Streamlining the Hiring Process

Discovering these challenges while building my new team led me to ease the hiring process. For starters, it was essential to have a pool of interviewers identified so that we could still focus on hiring in case of an absence.

We added a lot of checkpoints in our hiring process, where we closely monitored the cycle time at each point in time of the process. For example, as soon as a resume came in, we monitored how long it took to review it and get back to the candidate. We calculated how many resumes were accepted and rejected, along with the technical round. At the same time, internally, we began challenging each other’s ideas and decisions. I wanted to know ‘why’ candidates were accepted or rejected.

Final Thoughts

From my experience, I learned that there are a few necessary components to make the hiring process successful. The first is understanding the hiring pipeline in a new remote location, as cultural differences may affect your strategy. Once you’re able to understand the pipeline, it’s essential to tailor a hiring process to the specific location. Only then can you implement a strategy that will allow your team to succeed from day one.

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