Our recruiting team gets to use a software that they love, one that helps them work more efficiently and effectively (yep, it’s the one you’re thinking of). Still, leveraging a great ATS is only half the battle – our team also digs into data to fine-tune each stage of their recruiting process.
In July 2017, they discovered that their sales onsite-to-hire ratio was 5:1. Despite all their hard work to bring candidates in, the numbers showed that they weren’t ultimately hiring enough of them. Determined to vet talent more efficiently, our recruiters outlined a game plan to hit 4:1. Not only did they nail the goal, they exceeded it – eventually hitting 3:1 by the end of 2017. When we spoke to our Director of Recruiting Amanda Bell, she walked through the steps they took to do it. Read our interview below, then download our Headcount Heroes Storybook to see how 6 other teams across the globe accomplished impressive feats of their own!
What was the goal your team set and crushed in 2017?
We wanted to reduce our onsite-to-hire ratio for sales candidates, i.e. how many onsite interviews it takes to make one sales hire. Initially, it was 5:1, which showed that our process was inefficient. In July 2017, we set the goal of reducing the ratio to 4:1 by the end of the year.
Can you walk us through the first strategy you implemented to reduce your onsite to hire ratio?
We decided to condense our entire SDR hiring process into one onsite. Because our time to hire was too long, we were losing candidates. To begin with, we decided to compress our ‘career trajectory’ interview from 2.5 hours to 90 minutes. The interview is long for a reason; it’s a deep-dive into your professional history with a single interviewer, covering everything from your education to every job you’ve had in a structured, chronological format. But we needed to cut it down, and we realized we could conduct the career trajectory along with candidates’ hiring manager interview and future team member interview. When we did this, we were able to hire candidates more rapidly, and fewer candidates withdrew because the overall process was shorter.
You set this very ambitious goal, but it’s easy for other priorities to get in the way. How did you stay on track to hit your goal?
We added a sales hiring weekly meeting. For a long time, we focused only on hiring SDRs. We enlisted the help of our Talent Brand manager, Sales Recruiter, and VP of People to refine and enhance our process. In these meetings, we committed to generating ideas, holding each other accountable, and driving home the urgency. We would start the conversation with: ‘We need to hire 12 SDRs this month, and we only have 6. How are we going to get where we need to be?’. We made sure our pipeline was healthy so that we could get there.
We built increased alignment with more frequent interviewer engagement. Our Sales Recruiter Mollie, for example, runs ‘post up’ meetings before each hiring process to get a concise list of what an ideal candidate looks like. It’s an alignment brainstorming session with interviewers and hiring managers, and it often helps us come up with interview questions and job descriptions. Also, all new interviewers have to go through extensive interview training at least once, and we’re doing one-on-one coaching with them once they go through a few interviews as well. We’re following up to make sure they feel empowered to evaluate our candidates holistically. We’re also regularly soliciting interviewer feedback on what’s working well throughout our processes, and what’s not. Together, these pushes are empowering our interviewers to make faster, more confident hiring decisions.
What was the ultimate result you saw?
We got our sales onsite to hire ratio down to 3:1! Also, with our increase in efficiency, our time to hire for sales development reps is now 16 days, down from the high 20s to low 30s.
Can you tell us what your biggest learnings were as you worked towards your goal?
With our increased interviewer alignment, it’s way easier to make decisions about who to hire and not hire. Interview fatigue was a huge problem when we kept bringing in candidates who our interviewers were already uncertain about. Now, we’re bringing in candidates who are more likely to succeed, and we can deliver a great experience to the few that come in.
We were also reminded that improving conversion rate is key to higher retention. The candidates who we bring onsite are the ones who are actually excited to join, and they’re more excited to stay long-term. I recommend that you look at your conversion rate and other recruiting metrics in Lever regularly, not just when you’re not hitting your numbers. This will help you double down on the parts of your process that are working and get rid of the parts that aren’t.
One last note: Start paying attention to your conversion rates early, then encourage your hiring partners to do the same. Going from 0 to 60 and expecting everyone to immediately get on board is hard. Paint a clear picture of why your goal matters. Help them understand that the payoff for the upfront cost is scaling your team more effectively and hiring better people faster. The little adjustments like more trainings, more feedback sessions, and shaving off unnecessary structure in your process are more than worth it.
We decided to spotlight our very own Headcount Heroes in this final post, but we hope you enjoyed the whole series! We had a blast interviewing heroes at Cirque du Soleil, RevZilla, SiteMinder, and Affirm.
Miss our series already? Have no fear! Our Headcount Heroes ebook features the remarkable stories of 7 recruiting teams across the world. Download it now!