As we entered 2022, we knew that we had to reimagine our talent flows to address the increasingly competitive market. Six months in, we can say that as expected, the competitiveness of the market has been greater than we have seen in years. A lot of good companies are hiring for similar skill sets at the same time. This means everyone has to step up their game when it comes to the speed, quality and strength of their candidate experience, and the hiring process.
We prepared well in 2021 and we were ready to invest in our process to be able to hire better and faster, consider our differentiation, evolve our tech stack and strengthen our recruitment through diversity. That said, nothing is ever set in stone and there’s a real joy in the opportunity to experiment, learn and pivot along the way. It gives us plenty of learnings, which is the beauty of trying new things. So even though we’d anticipated these areas to work with, six months in, we’re checking in on our reflections about evolving our hiring process. Here’s where we’re at:
Candidate Experience: Speed, Quality and Strength of Offer
When thinking about speed – imagine you are a candidate with three to four processes going at once: the majority of the roles are similar in nature, the companies are reputable but one is moving smoother, faster and more efficiently than the others. This is likely creating a better experience. That’s why it’s so critical that employers make their hiring processes as simple as possible. It should not feel like a burden or additional stress to your candidates. In addition, it is a reflection of your company. It gives an impression of how things work, how decisions are made and how efficiently you run.
The quality of the process also comes into play. As an employer, you should ask yourself: are we providing a meaningful experience? Is it an experience that will compel or deter? Those that differentiate themselves here will lead the way and the rest may find themselves following.
There are two parts to the strength of your value proposition and overall offer – one is the reality of how strong both are and the second is how well you execute on them. All hands must be on deck when representing the company. This is no different than a candidate being assessed throughout each stage of the process – your organization is being continuously assessed by the candidate. And consider this: how well are you presenting the overall offer? The full package of opportunity + culture + benefits + total compensation, all while taking into consideration what is most important to that specific candidate. For example, if it’s work/life balance that they are most interested in, are you leaning in and providing specific examples of how the company demonstrates this?
All of these things matter to the candidate experience especially when you’re hiring at volume in a competitive market.
Process: Speed Through Dynamic Talent Pipelining
One of our main goals of 2022 was to facilitate a more fluid hiring process. In fact, that’s always been a goal of ours, but why did we identify it as an area for focus right this year in particular? Because speed matters when you are scaling your business, and we are in the midst of our most ambitious hiring year ever.
We have started to trial what we call Dynamic Talent Pipelining. This is intended to create a more fluid recruitment process. Rather than getting stuck on hiring A before starting to look at B, C and so on, we are taking a different perspective. We align on the skills a team needs to ship their product, and as we identify talent with those skills, we hire them – in no particular order. In time, we will have filled in all of the gaps and the team is complete. This way of working has already proven to hire more people faster, but does come with challenges.
One learning to consider when moving at this pace is interviewer capacity. Acknowledging that the business has to continue to run and ship products in parallel to interviewing, we will regularly seek and foster opportunities to lessen the burden while broadening capacity. Here are three tactics we’ve found help to address this challenge:
- Convert more interview shadowers to interviewers, broadening the pool of available interviewers with the goal of adding bandwidth and capacity to support the larger pool of candidates.
- Reduce the amount of time it takes to complete interview feedback forms by leveraging your technology, providing regular reminders as tasks are completed to help drive faster and more concise decisions forward.
- Partner with the business to dedicate specific days to interviewing and consider that shorter, more focused windows of availability reduce the time it takes to interview.
Process: Quality and Strength Through Relationships, Communication and Learning
Driven by our embedded TA business unit model, at Spotify, recruiting is a true partnership between HR and the business. This partnership has become a regular way of working and results in behaviors that naturally translate to a more effective recruitment process.
To continue this relationship and be a valued partner to the business, we must be intentional when seeking out new TA team members. Each TA team member’s capability to build and nurture relationships with their candidates, and simultaneously drive a meaningful process alongside hiring leaders, must be top of mind.
Communication carries a lot of weight here. And it must be quality communication – communication that connects, is personal, and effective, with both the candidates and the business. Of course you should deploy strategies that create a meaningful connection with your talent pool from the first interaction, in partnership with your communication and brand experts, however, it’s important that your TA team members also have well developed communication skills.
You should also be intentional when developing the TA team’s competencies with training. Invest in and leverage your TA Operations team to implement TA onboarding, getting recruiters up to speed and productive faster and better. At Spotify, we implemented a four week program taking TA resources through an accelerated journey to learn our history, the Band Manifesto, organizational structure / how we work, our recruiting processes, our interview process and the offer process. Don’t forget to measure all of these efforts via both Hiring Manager and New Hire surveys. A core part of our job for all of us, no matter how experienced, is to keep learning in all that we do.
What Worked Yesterday Might Not Work Today
Don’t underestimate or under index what is required to hire in a more competitive landscape: what worked yesterday may not work today. You can do everything else right, but if you underestimate the TA capacity required to achieve your hiring goals it could be your downfall.
It’s important you leverage data and talent insights to make informative decisions and identify the areas that can have real impact. For us, in this competitive landscape it’s speed, quality and strength across both candidate experience and our processes.
Find your own indicators to help you understand where you might need to add capacity or rethink how you are working. And take note, adding capacity doesn’t necessarily mean adding people. Don’t get into the habit of throwing people at the problem. Look at it from the lens of identifying and removing blockers to drive efficiencies that open up capacity for existing staff.
And regularly pressure test your approach – stay flexible and take the time to ensure your learnings can shape your approach and overall strategy going forward.