October 31st was an exciting day for us at Lever. But not just because it was Halloween, meaning our recruiting team dressed up as the cast of Moana and stole the show. You see, we also hosted a webinar with two talent leaders at Cirque du Soleil. And knowing how deeply they prize innovation and imagination, we couldn’t wait to see how those values impact their recruiting strategies. We decided to zero in on one central topic: how their recruiting team enhances employee engagement.
That day, we learned that not only do Cirque du Soleil’s recruiters mirror the creativity of their performers, they also value employee experience just as deeply as candidate experience. When Head of Recruiting, Strategy, and Candidate Experience Xavier Poulin-Gladu and Talent Acquisition Manager Nadia Todaro teamed up, they shared the strategies they stand by to set candidates up for success as employees. In this post, we’ll recap 3 of their most central tips. To hear more - such as the central pillars of Cirque du Soleil’s employee retention program - listen to the full recording here.
Uncover your candidate’s motivations during the phone screen
If you ask Nadia, recruiters should be thinking about how to enhance employee experience all the time. At Cirque du Soleil, it’s already top-of-mind by every candidate’s phone interview. In order to gauge how well candidates align with their culture, every member of the talent team focuses on understanding their motivations. Using Lever's interview kit, they can customize questions like: ‘What would make you leave your current role to join Cirque?’, ‘What are you looking for in your next role?’, and ‘Of all the companies out there to choose from, why Cirque?’. This information is an illuminating indicator of what they hope for in their future day-to-day as an employee.
One of Nadia’s favorite parts of the phone screen? She calls it the point when she gets her candidates to dream. She asks: ‘If I could get you any job at Cirque, tailored perfectly for you, what would it be?’. Their answer actually doesn’t have to be related to the specific position they’re interviewing for, but Nadia learns a lot from it regardless. In the past, their response has shown her that they’re a perfect fit for that role, that they’re a fit for an entirely different role at the organization, or that they’re not a fit for Cirque at all.
Partner with your hiring manager to more holistically depict your candidate’s future role
Before Nadia and her teammates kick off a candidate search, they organize a formal meeting with their hiring manage in order to understand their most pressing needs. ‘What are candidate must-haves, and why?’, they ask. Additionally, however, this meeting is the surest means for recruiters to understand other integral details of the role. She and her fellow recruiters make sure they walk out of the meeting with in-depth knowledge of these four categories: 1. The context of the role, 2. Team structure, 3. Challenges to solve, and 4. The candidate’s future day-to-day. This way, they can set candidates up for success with the information they need to evaluate the role. “I make sure that I can truly envision my candidates’ role, so that I can effectively explain it,” Nadia explains. If the candidate doesn’t know what they’re walking into, how can they possibly know whether or not the role is right for them?
Nadia also notes, however, that it's okay if recruiters don’t feel like they can properly relay all the role’s nuances. At Cirque, she will often put candidates in direct contact with hiring managers when she feels that way - this allows the candidate to pose more technical, industry-specific questions, or get a better grasp of the broader team’s expertise. And since all interviewer feedback and candidate information is centralized in Lever, it's easy to loop hiring managers in at any stage of the process.
Create a consistent, smooth experience from recruiting to onboarding
Sometimes, there’s a gaping hole between the moment the candidate signs their offer letter and their first day. Imagine how the candidate feels when they don’t hear from the team, they don’t know how to prepare for their future role, and they’re forced to sit twiddling their thumbs before their first day. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen at Cirque du Soleil. With the help of his team, Xavier makes sure to carry the excellence of every candidate experience into employee experience. A great place to start this? Onboarding. At Cirque, they’ve instituted a two-level onboarding program: one level is team-based, and the other is general, company-wide onboarding. “Managers are responsible for organizing a great integration onto their team for new hires, while our employee engagement team manages the Cirque-wide program,” he explains. And believe it or not, recruiters can actually play a huge role in this. They should communicate all important information about their candidate to both the candidate’s future manager and the employee engagement team, says Xavier. In a clear, content-filled email, the recruiter can list the candidate’s stand-out needs, priorities, and even any particularly fun facts.
It was a pleasure to work with Nadia, Xavier, and our partners at CultureAmp to host this webinar. We’d also love to give a special thanks to our own Director of Recruiting Amanda Bell and CultureAmp’s Senior People Operations Manager Stacey Nordwall for posing an array of thought-provoking questions to our webinar guests. It was an insight-packed webinar, full of heavy hitters.
To learn how Nadia and Xavier partner with their people team to ensure employee career growth, or to hear what their favorite Cirque Halloween costume was, don’t forget to listen to the webinar recording!