Keep calm and recruit!

  • Scope:
  • Culture and People

Just a year ago Tooploox was a small company hiring 35 people, most of which were software developers. Our business strategy is to build long-term relationships with our clients, so when they are successful, i.e they grow, Tooploox grows as well. Today there are 88 people. Such significant growth is quite a challenge. Apart from people with good technical skills we needed to find product owners, scrum masters as well as HR and marketing specialists. In the past, Tooploox grew from 3 to 35 in over 3,5 years. There wasn’t any strict recruitment process simply because there was no need.

What our recruitment process looked like?

Before, the entire process was handled by the company co-founders. Job offers were placed on the website and candidates had to send emails to apply.The data was stored in Asana. It’s a great tool for task management, but it wasn’t designed for managing hiring pipelines. As the number of candidates increased, it became clear that our workflow created certain issues. First of all, it was painfully slow and it took weeks to go through all the stages. At Tooploox we use Gmail. Although we had a recruiting alias that helped to maintain order in communication, the visibility was low. What happened was that we lost some emails and we missed some responses. For those reasons, despite our great reputation as an employer, we were famous for having a horrible recruiting process.

First steps

I was hired to design and manage this process. The list of things that needed to be fixed was huge so we had to prioritize the problems to be solved. The main issues were:

  1. Lack of clear communication
  2. Data storage
  3. No consistent workflow

Therefore, the first task was to find a software that would help tackle all those problems. I did a detailed research to get a proper tool and finally I’ve decided to pick Lever. It’s an Application Tracking System (ATS) developed in San Francisco by an awesome team. Why did we choose Lever?

  • They have a customized pipeline
  • Unlimited number of job offers
  • Integration with our website – convenient application
  • Integration with Gmail, which was crucial to keep communication and interviewing in order
  • We loved their design!

Setting up the process

Our goal was to design a perfect pipeline, but stages were not the biggest challenge. We are looking for people with high technical skills, soft skills and ones that will fit our team. At Tooploox, we are proud to have a flat structure and a great organizational culture. It doesn’t come effortlessly. We constantly work on it and we need to make sure that new hires are people that will fit it. And who can assess it better than future teammates?

We decided to invite the entire company to participate in the recruitment process. It didn’t happen overnight. We handled more and more responsibilities to our teams up to the point where they are responsible for a significant part of the process.

Our pipeline consists of the following stages:

  • First Interview – during the first  meeting we talk about a candidate’s skills and experience. We also discuss the job position, how we work, benefits and company culture.
  • Pair Programming – we found that this is the best way to check not only hard skills, but also communication skills and team fit.
  • Second Interview – It’s a technical meeting to discuss details of pair programming task, as well as details of the project.
  • Meet the founders – this is a part of the technical interview. We invite one of the co-founders for the last 15 mins of this stage.

If we have doubts, we have an extra stage. We usually invite people to work with us for 2-3 days (of course, we pay for this time). After a couple of days we have  everything we need to make the right decision

We have adopted some rules:

  • Different people  meet candidate at each stage.
  • They set up their meetings on their own and write feedback.
  • The Teams make a final decision to hire a candidate or not. This way we have a broad range of perspectives, more valuable feedback and the teams feel more empowered.
  • If there are any doubts, we discuss them on Slack or F2F
  • We limited co-founders involvement to one last stage. They meet only those that were approved at all stages.

This wouldn’t be possible without Lever. Each person at Tooploox has an account, and everyone can easily schedule interviews. We gather feedback we can go back to (for example, when Culture & People team rejects someone, they can explain why). We significantly improved speed AND quality of the entire process.

Over the last year we:

  • Interacted with over 750 candidates
  • We had 557 interviews
  • 8% hiring rate
  • 61 of our team members were involved (and only 2 Culture & People who overlooked the entire thing)

What we have gained

First of all, it doesn’t happen that we never forget about candidates and emails don’t get lost in our mailboxes. The visual design of the recruiting pipeline is excellent. We can plan our work and quickly check how many people applied, and how we’re doing with every job posting.

Synchronization with gmail improved communication with candidates (both speed and quality). It’s also easy to share and store the candidate related files and feedback inside Tooploox.

From a less technical perspective, we gave Tooploox’s teams power and responsibility to take hiring decisions in their own hands. This is one of the most significant result – we really managed to set up a process which lets employees build the company together,

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