February 27, 2021
number of admission interviews conducted
technical difficulties and interview no-shows
program reputation through improved alumni profiles
Hackbright Academy boasts an accelerated teaching model that prepares women for full-time software engineering positions in just 10 weeks. But inefficiencies in the admissions process were hindering their ability to screen for the best candidates.
Kristen Yarborough struggled to set admission interviews with potential students. As head of admissions at Hackbright Academy, an engineering school helping to boost female representation in tech companies, she was sifting through plenty of applications. But that high interest was proving both a blessing and a curse.
While a bigger applicant pool turned up a greater number of qualified candidates, scheduling logistics limited how many people Kristen could actually speak with.
“It was frustrating turning people down for an interview based on essay questions that might not really convey what they can do as a programmer,” she says. “It’s entirely possible for someone to be a great developer, even if they’re not a great writer.”
Kristen felt Hackbright was too reliant on written applications in their admissions decisions. She needed a way to streamline the scheduling of interviews to have more time to actually speak with prospective students. “The more people we can interview, the fairer our admissions process can be,” she says.
As a tech-savvy educator based in San Francisco, Kristen naturally went looking for some kind of software solution. When she heard about Calendly, she decided to give it a try. The benefits were almost immediate.
Now, Kristen sends applicants a Calendly scheduling link so they can schedule an interview that fits their own schedule. Once the aspiring students set the appointment, they receive an automated email response laying out the next steps. Kristen avoids all the unnecessary back-and-forth emailing that once prefaced each meeting, while the automated process means the applicants get the background information they need in a single dose. Their questions are all answered before they even have to ask.
One day before their interview, applicants get a reminder email -- so no-shows have disappeared. Kristen transitions smoothly from one interview to the next and can focus her energy on getting to know the top contenders. Applicants who feel like a fit are invited to set up a second interview, and the streamlined scheduling process repeats. As Hackbright adds part-time courses to its offerings, this improved efficiency is an added benefit to applicants already juggling jobs and other responsibilities.
All told, Hackbright conducts more admissions interviews, and Kristen gets a more rounded view of candidates. New students come from a bigger pool of contenders, and decision-makers can account for a wider array of talents. Great web developers in-waiting are no longer sidelined by abstract essay questions, and the streamlined scheduling process means Kristen has more time to consider the unique qualifications of each applicant. Simply put, she just knows more of them, better.
Higher caliber students more easily transition into successful careers. As Hackbright’s program emphasizes mentoring and their robust alumnae network, this growth feeds back into the quality of the courses themselves. Graduates now populate the programming teams at top tech firms like Facebook, Eventbrite and New Relic.
“Conducting more interviews allows us to recruit a better class. Our students get placed in jobs more frequently, and this, in turn, helps strengthen the program.”
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