As a talent acquisition leader or recruiter in tech, you’re constantly being asked to translate ambiguous inputs into accurate outputs. Luckily, there are a few things you can do now that will help you get better outcomes six months from now.
To discuss the challenges and best practices for capacity planning, we held a one-hour webinar with CodeSignal’s Co-Founder and CEO, Tigran Sloyan, and VP of Marketing, Brenna Lenoir, along with Robinhood’s Head of Tech Recruiting, Craig Campbell. Craig shared the best practices he’s learned from leading tech recruiting at high-growth startups like Robinhood and Uber. The conversation also touched on what TA can borrow from the marketing side of the business to help with planning under pressure.
Here are the top takeaways from that conversation, which you can watch in full here.
1. Involve engineering in your capacity planning
“One of the things we partner with our engineering stakeholders on is the capacity planning for interviewing,” Craig said. “We have the ability to articulate: In order to deliver X, we forecast that we’re going to need X interview hours per week.”
You’ll need some kind of visualization software — everything from a well-designed and reliable Google Sheet to a more complex platform like Tableau can work. What you’re looking for is a way to articulate the workflow, the owners at each stage of the workflow, and the productivity associated.
Your stakeholders will then do the math, and understand how exactly they’re connected and accountable to the process. As Brenna said, “You’re having a conversation with your hiring managers or your heads of department to say, ‘our model is showing me this many hours from you in interview time. Can you commit to that? Because if you can’t, we’re all going to fail in this.’”
2. Watch out for “watermelon metrics”
Tracking the right data is essential to be able to make adjustments, since no plan is perfect from the start. Robinhood looks at a variety of metrics: “At the highest level, we look at offer acceptance, NPS rating (which is giving us a sense of our candidate sentiment), time to hire, and the pace in which we deliver on that,” Craig said.
Keep in mind that some high-level metrics could be so-called watermelon metrics: green on the outside, red on the inside. When you doubleclick into these metrics, you might find places where you can still improve. As Craig explained, “You might be able to zero in on one component that you need to solve for — kind of the ‘smoking gun’ — that will unlock exponential performance in your pipeline.”
It can be tempting to go more granular on everything, but where should you be investing your (limited) time? One area, Brenna suggested, could be the specialized roles that you’re trying to hire for: “They may not follow the same metrics that you have for your overall funnel, so that may be an area where it does make sense to dig a level deeper.”
3. Understand your talent like you understand your customers
“The name of the game today is definitely engagement,” Craig said. Engagement is what will make or break your efforts to recruit in a hard-to-hire market like engineering, especially with communities that are traditionally underrepresented in tech. And yet there’s a problem. Tech companies are great at collecting intelligence on their customers, but as Craig put it, “we lack intelligence about our talent communities in general.”
To understand talent communities, recruiting can learn from marketing, where there are customer personas. As Brenna explained, “Persona marketing is ‘how well do you understand your target audience’? Do you know where they get their information, what they care about, what keeps them up at night?”
Perhaps most importantly, what opinions do prospective candidates have about your company? Getting this understanding is especially important to recruit engineers who may come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.
4. Use technology to free up resources
At a certain point, scaling is inevitably going to require some input of technology. “If you’re really still relying 100 percent on people to get to scale, that might be a losing proposition,” Craig said. “Humans are only going to be able to do so much. You need these enablement platforms of technology to relieve the humans to do what they do best.”
These might be tools that help you get more intelligence about your candidates. Increasingly, talent acquisition teams are borrowing from other departments: “Tools that have been commonplace in marketing are starting to show up on the recruiting side,” Tigran observed.
Or, these could be tools to help you streamline the hiring process. At Robinhood, Craig’s team uses CodeSignal as part of their tooling stack to help democratize tech hiring, scale effectively, and get a high ROI on engineering hours. “Everybody experiences a core-in-common assessment stage,” Craig explained, “so engineers feel like most of the conversations they’re having, there’s not a waste of time. They’re talking to the right people as the result of the output of this assessment stage.”
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