Bigfoot Biomedical is not your run-of-the-mill tech company. Founded by a team personally impacted by insulin-requiring diabetes, their mission is to optimize insulin delivery for millions of people. Yet despite their powerful mission, Bigfoot is a relatively new company that must constantly compete against more established brands for exceptional talent. How do they do they win those contests? By making it easy for candidates to discover employee stories.
Two years ago, Bigfoot’s Director of Community Relations Melissa Lee joined the team to lead that charge. Since, her storytelling has magnified Bigfoot’s employer brand and ultimately enabled the team to hire at a faster rate than ever before. In this post, she tells us how she wins candidates over by amplifying the voices of her fellow employees.
Can you tell me more about what exactly Bigfoot does?
We’re a medical technology company. We are committed to reducing the burden on people living with insulin-requiring diabetes by leveraging data and automation – with the goal to create easy-to-use connected insulin delivery systems.
What drew you personally to Bigfoot?
I have Type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in 1990 when I was 10 years old. For years, as a tech journalist and social influencer, I’ve been following advances in glucose sensing and insulin delivery across the industry – two of the technologies you need most in insulin-requiring diabetes. Though I had been following Bigfoot closely from its founding, I read a piece in 2015 written by Sarah Kimball, the wife of one of Bigfoot’s co-founders. She talked about how her life was changed by the automated insulin technology her husband invented for her, which actually informs the products Bigfoot is now developing. It was like I was looking into a crystal ball; she had the life that each of us could someday live.
My husband Kevin, a leading developer in the do-it-yourself diabetes device space, and I both wanted to be a part of the Bigfoot journey. He joined in mid 2015 as a software engineer and I kept asking him: “Don’t you need someone to come in and just write about diabetes technology”?
A little while later, I began a series of pieces on companies pursuing automated insulin delivery tech and interviewed Bigfoot’s CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Brewer for a couple hours. Before the story even went to print, he told me he needed someone to help me tell the Bigfoot story, and that I was the right person to do it. That was more than two years ago now, and my role ever since has been exactly that – to tell the story of the company, which I do through social media, press releases, spotlighting employees, content creation, and more.
How does your work help your team hit your recruiting goals?
We have 10+ adults at Bigfoot with insulin-requiring diabetes. Many other employees have spouses or children with it. When candidates hear us talk about how Bigfoot is helping our families and millions of others’, they’re really moved. As they evaluate a handful of opportunities, one of our stories pulls at their heartstrings and they see their work will meaningfully impact the world.
To convey what we value as a company, I also make sure to share my team members’ stories, journeys, and talents. I constantly write about employees who left places like NASA or Tesla to come here. Why? They felt that what we were doing was more impactful. If you build a narrative around your mission and the people who comprise it, you have a really compelling recruiting advantage on your hands.
Finally, I can highlight our team’s hiring needs with the stories we put forward. If we need to hire a data scientist, you’ll soon see a story about one of our data scientists. I work in constant coordination with HR to learn what our hiring needs are. That way, I can profile a story that will resonate with the candidates they’re pursuing.
Say a recruiting team doesn’t have the same immediately compelling mission as Bigfoot. What storytelling tips do you have for them?
Continue to bring forward your individual stories in order to convey your team’s values. Why do your employees join? Why do they stay? What brings them back every Monday? An interviewee can’t ask all your employees why they love your company, but they can discover that information if you make them easily discoverable on your website or company blog. Here’s what ours look like. We also promote the stories using #Ibelieveinbigfoot on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
If you’re having trouble getting your team to speak up in the first place, sit down with each person for a half an hour. Ask them questions like “What surprises you here?” I let them know that if they’re open to being featured, all they have to do is talk freely to me – I’ll tell their story. It can’t be mandatory or it won’t be comfortable or genuine. These conversations also serve another great purpose; they show you opportunities to impact your company culture. You get your finger on the pulse of morale, and you can always share relevant insights with HR.
Now, say a recruiting team doesn’t have the bandwidth to write. What can they do to showcase their story?
If you don’t have a writer or communications strategist on your team, I think this process could be part of HR’s natural follow-up a month or two after a new hire joins the team. If you ask them questions like how they’re feeling and whether or not the role was what they expected, you may be delighted to end up with a great story (that you can easily tell) on your hands.
Also, use your careers page and email responses to showcase who you are. Before Lever, hiring managers would send a job description to me, then I’d manually upload it to our site and try to customize a short description of it in keeping with our brand. The process was time-consuming and unsustainable. Now, with Lever, I can create job description and email templates for my teammates that are already written in brand voice. I can also trust that our careers page automatically updates with open positions in real time. Also, we drive so much traffic to our careers page through our social media and communications strategy that we’ve even created a pipeline for collecting talent to match future staffing needs. We’ve opened a role called “Future Bigfooter” in Lever so that we can captivate candidates when we don’t have a job function for them at the moment.
To top it all off, I can say “apply to our roles in only 4 clicks” on our social media channels, and I’m telling the truth. Lever makes it that easy for candidates to apply.
How do you attract diverse candidates to your site?
I’m proud to say that our team has 40 percent women, and it’s due to a variety of reasons. For example, we have women on every team in the organization, so our Bigfoot stories and photos feature as many women as men. We also make sure to include people of color and our employees from countries across the globe. We know that who you represent matters. You want to show a variety of instances, events, and team members so that you can genuinely talk about diversity.
At the same time though, you can’t characterize everything about your company through photos alone. I once received an email suggesting that we should include our disabled employees in photos on our site, but we in fact already do that. We have lots of employees here with an invisible disability: insulin-requiring diabetes. You just wouldn’t know that unless you read the stories we put forward. These moments show me how important it is to communicate through more than one medium. Photos don’t go far enough to amplify the diversity on your team.
I’d also say that Lever’s ease-of-use has empowered us to attract and hire a diverse range of candidates. When I post about our roles, it’s easy for any user to apply. Now that Lever has helped our process become intuitive and streamlined, we can respond quickly to candidates, showing them how much we value what they have to offer and share.
The Bigfoot team is breaking ground in the medical technology and recruiting realms. We loved hearing about they showcase their life-changing work to candidates.
If their mission inspired you and you’re on the job hunt, we have great news. They’re hiring!