Improving the candidate experience and delighting hiring managers
Kelly Minella, May 21, 2020
We hired over 24 full-time employees in 2018. It follows that recruiting has been a major area of focus and we’re just getting started. With the typical hockey-stick growth seen in SaaS companies, comes scaling your workforce, and as Calendly heads into its sixth year of business, we’ve carefully created a recruiting architecture that can take us into our highest volume of hiring yet.
Our process focuses on providing an end-to-end world-class employer brand that inspires every candidate to become a brand ambassador while optimizing efficiency. In a productivity-obsessed culture, it can seem like time-to-hire is just another arbitrary metric that you have little to no control over. But according to MRI’s 2016 survey of recruiters, 56% said they couldn’t make good hires because of too lengthy a hiring process. In today’s candidate market, it’s more important than ever that recruiting teams remove any barriers to acquiring the talent their business needs to succeed.
When looking for solutions that reduce time-to-hire, most recruiters are interested in tools that can innovate or automate parts of the interview process. This is probably due to the fact that the interview process is the most time-consuming and work-intensive phase of the recruitment funnel. According to Glassdoor, a phone screen alone can add 6.8–8.2 days to the hiring process. Why does a 20–30 minute phone screen add so much more time to the recruiting process than a much lengthier on-site or even a panel interview? Because even if you have a recruiting coordinator scheduling for you, every time you invite a candidate to a phone screen, you have to wait on a response with their availability. Meanwhile, you have several other competitive candidates waiting. It can take at least a business day to hear back from a candidate, and it’s possible that they won’t be available during the timeframes you offered. While you’re waiting for them, you may hear back from another candidate first, bringing you back to square one and costing you another day to interview coordinating.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Stealing our recruiting flow can reduce your time-to-hire by 2–17 days. By shortening your interview process you’ll create a better candidate experience, acquire your top talent and delight your hiring managers. Here’s how you’ll do it.
Capture and nurture interest with your employer brand
At Calendly, we use every platform possible to drive talent down our recruitment funnel and turn them from passive to active candidates. We use our social channels, job ads and blog to send people to our Talent Network. Once they’re subscribed, we can further educate and engage them through our culture guide, employee profiles, multimedia content and job openings. It also allows us to capture their email and area of interest and to see what content candidates are getting the most value from. When sourcing passive candidates, we send team-specific landing pages to give them a snapshot of what working on that team could be like.
We’ve seen an increase in inbound applications since activating our Talent Network and redesigning our jobs site.
Schedule interviews with all shortlisted candidates simultaneously
After sourcing and reviewing applications, we shortlist candidates who meet the minimal requirements and reach out for a 20–30 minute phone screen. This is a qualifying step for all candidates, from entry-level to executive, to set shared expectations. We send a Calendly link to schedule a phone screen. This allows us to reach out to the entire shortlist at once and keep sourcing without wasting any time!
Candidates can schedule at their convenience without any back-and-forth, Calendly automatically enters the details of the screen into the connected calendar and the recruiting team never gets double-booked! It expedites the process, eliminating five or more emails per candidate and shortening to a one-step process. Candidates appreciate that it’s simple and shows that we care about their time. Using this method, it generally only takes 1–2 business days from application to the initial talk with the candidate.
We stagger our availability in Calendly with openings before and after business hours. This opens us up to schedule with the candidate more immediately, without recruiters having to work 10–12 hour days. We opt for a 4-hour minimum scheduling notice (the default setting) so that candidates can schedule same day and recruiters still have time to prepare.
A calendar invite is automatically emailed to the candidate confirming the details of their phone screen and sourced candidates also receive text reminders. We include a reschedule link that reduces cancellations and wasted time. In the phone screen, we confirm that a basic fit between the candidate and Calendly exists and talk about next steps, as well as the full interview process so they know what to expect.
The hiring manager phone screen is the next step and can usually be scheduled within the same week. The recruiter sends out the hiring manager’s Calendly link on their behalf, which they get during the pre-recruitment meeting. Hiring managers love using Calendly for this because they don’t have to be as involved in the scheduling process, or open up their entire day for interviews.
We recommend that you limit your availability for phone screens to 5 rolling days or less. This is key to keeping the interview process on a tight schedule and reducing time-to-hire. If you’re an admin in Calendly and on the same organization as your hiring manager, you can change the hiring manager’s availability and event type settings for them or clone your phone screen event settings for them.
Improve the interview experience with transparency and urgency
After the candidate has completed a role-based assignment and they’ve been chosen as a finalist, it’s time to schedule their on-site interview. All of our on-sites at Calendly are panel interviews.
We email the candidate to ask for availability for a few days and manually select a 3-hour block from the options they give us. We use our ATS, Greenhouse, to send the interview confirmation and this publishes to our Google calendars. This email also includes logistics, like directions to our office (public transit and driving), parking options, a map, how to access the building and a list of who they will be meeting with on the panel.
The day of the on-site, the candidate checks in on an iPad in our lobby that sends a text to the recruiting team, notifying us of their arrival so we can escort them immediately and begin their office tour. The next 3 hours they rotate through one-on-one interviews with panelists for 30–45 minute blocks. We start with an employee from a different department who can break the ice and get to know the candidate on a more personal and informal level. This person is trying to assess what kind of organizational culture the candidate is looking for, whether we are the best environment for them to thrive in and what unique skills and perspectives the candidate can add to Calendly. The rest of the day continues with interviews between a peer from the prospective team, a leader from a different department and the hiring manager.
We’re careful to keep on a tight schedule so the candidate is never waiting alone. If we ever interview two candidates for a role on the same day, we include a large buffer between them so no one feels uncomfortable, and we never conduct group interviews. When the interviews have wrapped up, we genuinely thank them for their time and give them an estimated time frame in which they’ll hear from us.
Even when a candidate does not receive an offer, we follow up with them as soon as possible to let them know our decision and give them quality feedback. We also ask for candid feedback on their experience of Calendly, the interview process and where we can continue to improve. We close the loop with each and every applicant in a timely fashion. Nothing hurts your reputation faster than letting a candidate languish and wonder if they’ll ever hear back from you.
We empathize with our candidates. Searching for a new job is hard work and anxiety-inducing, especially when you’re striving to land at a top company in a role you’ll love. We respect that our candidates give us a lot of their time and effort to be considered and we do our level best not to let any of it go to waste. By treating each and every candidate like a future employee, we build lasting relationships. And instead of building resentment and discouragement, we naturally produce brand ambassadors of Calendly.
Craft and expedite winning candidate offers
Our interview panel submits their feedback within 24 hours, before discussing the candidate with anyone else so as not to skew opinions. They then discuss the candidates as a panel and select a gold medalist for the offer. The recruiting team reaches out to the candidate while the offer package is being drafted to get references. The hiring manager then emails the selected references with a Calendly event link or creates ad hoc invitations that embed time slots in the email.
Once the offer package is ready, the recruiter always makes a call to extend a verbal offer. To keep things even more personal and exciting, we courier an offer bag to the candidate the same day. They receive goodies like a mini-champagne bottle, flute and note from the hiring manager. Depending on the candidate’s personality and preferences, sometimes we’ll also send an email follow-up to them with a GIF from the team, expressing our excitement to welcome them to Calendly, followed by a helpful new employee email.
Try our flow and crush your recruiting KPIs
Using this exact process, we’ve reduced Calendly’s time-to-hire to an average of 34 days across our roles. This is 2 days less than SHRM’s reported multi-industry average of 36 days and 16.5 days less than Workable’s average for the tech industry. It’s important to note, that while time-to-hire is often thought exclusively as a metric of speed, we find that it affects our overall quality of hire as well. By speeding up the process, we retain more candidates throughout the recruiting funnel and make better hires as a result.
If you want even more ideas for how to improve your recruiting KPIs, check out our interview solutions page and case studies.
Steal our process and you can expedite your recruiting process, give time back to your recruiting team and hiring managers and acquire great talent and brand ambassadors.
Looking for your next high velocity recruiting role? Check out our jobs page to learn more about who we are and apply!
For more tips on candidate experience, here's something we put together on the perfect interview confirmation email reply.
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Kelly is the Head of Recruiting at Calendly. Kelly is a Dog Mom to a corgi pup named Bowser.
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