Outreach started in 2011 as GroupTalent, a recruitment platform founded in Seattle by Manny Medina and Andrew Kinzer. Struggling to gain footing, Manny and Andrew quickly found themselves running out of cash. To keep their company afloat, they needed their team of three sales representatives to work at the scale of a team more than six times their size. They began designing software to help their sales team be more productive—and it worked better than they could have ever expected.
Pivoting—usually a death-saving throw for startups—led Manny and Andrew to create Outreach, a top-ranked sales engagement platform. With a suite of products to help sales teams–including calendaring software, live call coaching, and workflow optimization powered by machine learning–Outreach increases productivity and boosts engagement for sales teams.
With over four thousand customers and sixty million dollars in revenue, Outreach is growing at a breakneck pace. They closed out 2019 with a valuation of over one billion dollars (making them the only sales engagement startup to achieve unicorn status), and in 2020 they opened the doors of their first international office in London.
Naturally, with rapid growth comes the need to bring on new talent. Outreach needed to scale up their pipeline to keep pace with their growth. Victor Ongpin joined Outreach in July 2019, coming aboard as part of a new phase of growth fueled by the company’s highly successful Series E funding round. A veteran technical recruiter with nearly a decade of experience, Ongpin was tasked with growing Outreach’s product and engineering team as the company expanded.
While Silicon Valley may be the most well-known tech hotspot in the country, the Seattle area has its share of big names–from Microsoft to Amazon, there’s strong competition for the best technical talent; this means, for Outreach to be able to find and lock down the engineers it needed to support its next phase of growth, they needed to be able to move quickly and efficiently through their pipelines. From initial screenings to job offers, the entire timeline needs to be optimized to ensure they’re finding and securing the right candidates for their company.
However, recruiting–especially technical recruiting–can be a time-consuming process. Bringing on a single technical hire involves dozens of hours across multiple teams; because the majority of those hours tend to be engineering hours, the most efficient and lowest-risk way to speed up this process is to optimize top-of-funnel screening, allowing recruiting teams to better filter through applicant pools and pass on only the strongest candidates for interviews with their technical teams.
Additionally, traditional top-of-funnel screening methods, such as resume reviews, aren’t always reliable in identifying highly skilled candidates. It’s well documented that resume screenings are prone to bias; at the same time, while resumes may give recruiters information about where a candidate went to school or worked previously, they don’t demonstrate a candidate’s objective skill–that is, a candidate who looks great on paper may lack the actual technical aptitude needed to succeed.
This presented Victor with a three-pronged problem: how could he optimize Outreach’s hiring process to stay competitive and meet their goals while maintaining a diverse, inclusive company culture; upholding high standards for their candidates; and avoiding overburdening their engineering teams?
Outreach’s goal was to find candidates with the skills needed to succeed, regardless of background. As a Latino-founded company, and with over 80% of their leadership from underrepresented backgrounds, diversity and inclusion are more than just an initiative for them–they’re an integral part of their company’s culture. However, traditional screening methods can leave the door open for bias; as Victor notes, “there’s a formula with how you recruit for technical talent, especially software engineers. You’re typically looking at what company are they coming from, how many years of experience have they had,” resulting in potential talent—particularly those who may not have access to the same opportunities as their peers—going unnoticed.
Outreach turned to CodeSignal Certify to address this issue. Certify is a one-of-a-kind technical assessment solution that can be used at the very top of the hiring funnel, allowing Victor to fill in the cracks that underrepresented talent often falls through. Certify automatically reviews candidate assessments and assigns them a Coding ScoreTM, a metric similar to a credit score that reflects a candidate’s technical ability. Certify helped Victor remove opportunities for bias by creating an objective, skills-based screening process that highlights top-performing candidates regardless of race, age, gender, or any other aspect of their background.
There’s a formula with how you recruit for technical talent […] You’re typically looking at what company are they coming from, how many years of experience have they had. We thought that CodeSignal could be a little bit more inclusive.
CodeSignal’s certified assessments simulate real-world coding environments, ensuring that candidates are screened for real, practical skills—not just theoretical knowledge. Each testing session is recorded, allowing recruiters to review not just a candidate’s score, but their process and efficiency as well. By standardizing screening assessments and automating their scoring with CodeSignal, Outreach’s recruiters can be certain that every candidate they pass on meets their company’s high standards and expectations, allowing them to scale up their pipeline quickly without sacrificing quality.
Moreover, as a lean, fast-growing company, a recruitment process that would free up their engineers’ time was essential. With Certify, Victor was able to automate Outreach’s top-of-funnel screening. Assessments can be sent out with the push of a button, and Certify’s automatically-generated Coding ScoreTM eliminates the need for engineers to review candidate assessments–as a result, recruiter Michael Leggett estimates that CodeSignal freed up their engineering teams’ time by up to sixty percent. By giving their engineers time to focus on other projects while still quickly, efficiently, and effectively growing their teams with highly-qualified candidates, Outreach has been able to successfully scale their pipeline to meet the needs of their rapid growth. In fact, Outreach just recently completed its most successful hiring quarter to date, with Victor calling January 2020 a “knockout month.”
Outreach shows no signs of slowing down any time soon; they’ve recently opened a second international office and expanded their c-suite with CFO Melissa Fisher and CPO Leslie Pendergrast. They’ve also made numerous lists in 2020, from the Forbes Cloud 100 to the LinkedIn Top Startups list. Moreover, amidst all of this rapid expansion, Outreach has stayed focused on its commitment to inclusivity; it was named one of the best companies for BIPOC employees by Business Insider. With the help of CodeSignal, Outreach has been able to create an efficient and equitable technical hiring process that’s ready to support their growth and scale for whatever’s next.
Certify was the right solution to help Outreach create a more efficient pipeline filled with prescreened, highly qualified candidates and aligned with their commitment to diversity and inclusion. In addition to Certify, CodeSignal also offers Test–a fully customizable, take-home assessment platform; and Interview–a powerful, all-in-one remote interviewing platform that includes integrated, collaborative coding environment, HD audio and video calling, extensive language support, and more. By removing opportunities for bias and streamlining the recruitment process, our data-driven platform can help you #GoBeyondResumes to find the best candidates for your company and support your growth.