By Momchil Kyurkchiev, CEO and co-founder of Leanplum.

I'll admit it: My company, Leanplum, wasn't always great at hiring engineers. This has been an unfortunate fact throughout our rapid growth -- up until six months ago. To beat the odds and turn our situation around, here are the learnings we incorporated into our hiring philosophy.

Everyone Is a Recruiter

Traditionally, recruiters are responsible for attracting new talent, while the rest of the team focuses on core objectives. The problem with this approach is that it ignores the reality of recruitment. Referrals are absolutely essential to hiring. They enable us to walk into an interview knowing that an employee is vouching for the candidate's abilities.

With a recruiter-driven hiring model, you simply aren't taking advantage of your extended network. Each employee you've hand-picked has their own professional network you can tap into. Everyone at Leanplum now moonlights as a recruiter.

When each person dedicates a percentage of their work time to reaching out to their personal contacts, it amplifies the results. We started by holding bi-weekly sourcing parties where everyone would review their networks for an hour and source engineer friends. We'd then pass these candidates onto the recruiting team. We hired 12 engineers one quarter, including five referrals. Combing through our networks has helped us reach candidates we may have never discovered otherwise.

Treat Recruiting Like Marketing and Sales

Marketing is the process of building a brand and increasing the audience's demand, while sales is the process of converting that audience into customers. This same dynamic is at play in recruiting. In recruiting, analytics is the lever that helps us create efficiencies. We measure metrics like email open rates, social channel impressions and engagement with in-house content and materials. This data helps us double down on the recruiting processes that work.

Outbound Recruiting

At our company, we measure success by sales-accepted leads (SALs) rather than traditional leads, such as content downloads, event attendees or demo requests. Likewise, we measure recruiting success on the quality of on-site interviews, rather than the number of applicants.

If a prospect passes the technical screening and is interested in the job, there's a chance they'll be a good fit. Now, our recruiters treat hiring as a numbers game. If you interview 100 people, the odds of finding 10 people we like are high. This outbound approach expands the funnel and increases the total number of viable candidates.

Indeed, the number of outbound offers we've extended within engineering has doubled this year. Up to 80 percent of our offers have been through outbound sourcing. For this strategy to work, the recruiting team must deeply understand the wants and needs of both applicants and our internal team. Recruiting and engineering communicate daily to understand changes in the competitive landscape and motivators for potential candidates.

Inbound Recruiting

To improve inbound interest, we partnered with The Muse, built a beautiful careers page, recorded a culture video to showcase life in the office, and invited prospects to our weekly "unwinds" to offer them a chance to meet the team for themselves.

These activities may not have the same impact as outbound recruiting, but they're a vital piece of our hiring strategy. Never forget that prospective hires are consumers, too, complete with personal preferences. A prospect's perception of your company's brand directly impacts their willingness to accept an offer.

We invested heavily in our culture, and we've seen its impact on hiring firsthand. It's also important that the prospect gets a feel for your culture during the interview process. Each candidate is distinct, and we learn each person's intentions and motivations. We express how we can meet those expectations and work around potential concerns. After the interview, we provide feedback within 24 hours, and reach back with next steps within 48 hours. We respect the time and effort that candidates put into the interview process.

Recruiting As a Culture

If I had to pick one lesson I learned from turning our hiring situation around, it's this: Treat recruiting as part of your culture. Understand the company's objectives and help with what you can. We all have a network to tap. Once we adopted this philosophy, our hiring changed for the better.

Momchil Kyurkchiev is the CEO and co-founder of Leanplum, a marketing cloud built for the mobile era.

Published on: Jul 19, 2017
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