How Companies Can Flex Recruiting Practices for Quality Candidates

Lever is excited to bring together a new quarterly feature blog that highlights responses from some of our expert HR service and technology partners.

We asked each partner the following question. See how the following thought leaders responded and apply their insights to your own business. 

As businesses have adjusted hiring plans in reaction to economic conditions, talent acquisition teams have felt the impact. Navigating a full requisition load with less tools or supporting resources forces teams to change their approach.

How are you seeing companies flex their recruiting practices to zero-in on high quality candidates and drive higher initial candidate quality?

Eric Holwell, Vice President of Strategy, Appcast

This is recruiting’s year of efficiency. Companies are pivoting to working harder with smaller budgets as compared to the significant spend they had in the tight labor market of the last three years. To work under these tighter budgets while continuing to get top-notch results, talent acquisition teams will need to hone their efficiency within time, resources, and processes. 

As we review companies’ approaches, a couple of things stick out. First is the acknowledgement that an updated and authentic employer value proposition and employer brand will help attract more qualified candidates. Employer brand has long been seen as a nice-to-have among talent teams, but showcasing how you’re different and why people should consider you as an employer is more important than ever. A new generation has brought a new set of standards to their places of employment, prompting employers to take a closer look at their values.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity to recruit more efficiently when an employer story is clearly and consistently told across multiple channels candidates use to navigate their next career decision. At the end of the day, a quality candidate is a quality match between a candidate and an employerWhen considering a well-defined brand, candidates can clearly compare their own values to their potential employer’s at the beginning of the job seeker journey. Allowing that value friction to occur at the onset saves time further down the line, creating a more efficient process.

The second approach is an even greater dependency on accurate data. Often, recruiting teams are guided by incomplete data, which gives a distorted view of their hiring outcomes. Now that budgetary decisions have become surgical, focusing on just two metrics or depending on outdated data is not going to cut it.

Instead, recruiters are pivoting to using as close to real-time data as possible, and hopefully tracking performance down to hiring signals. This full-funnel data attribution creates a more realistic view on what sites and methods are getting you the best results, which teams can in turn use to optimize their strategy. Finding quality candidates requires a greater understanding of full-funnel results, which recruiters have already begun to embrace and should continue to do so. 

About Appcast 

Appcast is the global leader in recruitment marketing technology and services. In July 2023, Appcast acquired Bayard Advertising, a pioneer in the recruitment marketing space. With advanced technology, unmatched market data and a team of the industry’s best recruitment marketers, Appcast’s technology and services drive hiring outcomes for more than 2,000 clients. Appcast is headquartered in Lebanon, N.H. with offices throughout North America and Europe. Appcast is a subsidiary of The Stepstone Group, a leading digital recruitment platform that connects companies with the right talent and helps people find the right job. To learn more, visit


Sachin Gupta, CEO, HackerEarth

The recent economic landscape has resulted in leaner talent acquisition teams that are being asked to do more with less. Simultaneously, a surge in the volume of applicants further compounds the challenge of ensuring higher candidate quality. Many companies are now turning to skill-first hiring practices to solve this challenge. 

This approach prioritizes skills as the primary, if not the sole, indicator of role fitness. Instead of looking at traditional measures of competency, such as education or previous employers, recruiters look for demonstrable proof of skills. This makes it possible for recruiters to align more closely with hiring managers, significantly reduce biases in selection, and enables teams to unlock talent pools that were previously untapped.

Skill-first screening is a more scalable process. One can use AI tools to match resumes with role requirements, and use role-relevant skill assessments for measurable evidence of skill match. A well-structured process enables teams to source widely yet create a highly qualified pipeline without a large team. This approach reduces time spent in interviewing, as recruiting teams are able to build pipelines that better align with hiring team expectations. A faster selection process, in turn, reduces time to hire and overall workload. To summarize, skill-first hiring enhances the scalability and quality of the screening and selection process while minimizing bias.

About HackerEarth
HackerEarth is a global HR Tech company that helps large enterprises recruit, evaluate, and upskill developers based on specific skills. The company’s platform enables recruiters to make the most accurate and informed decisions about candidates, improve hiring efficiencies, facilitate continuous learning and development, and ensure the right developers are matched with the right positions. HackerEarth is also a leading facilitator of online hackathons and coding challenges, where its community of over 8 million developers can upskill and practice for employment interviews. The company was founded in 2012 with offices in San Francisco and India. For more information, visit


Justin Hall, Founder & CEO


It’s been surprising to see how much executives and hiring managers are willing to spend on top of funnel areas like job post advertising, JD rewrites, and sourcing, but neglect creating an efficient recruiting process to vet and shepherd their qualified candidates to offer and their first day.

From downsized TA teams to fraudulent candidates, it’s never been more difficult for recruiters to get through the waves of inbounds, make time for sourcing, move candidates through their pipelines quickly, and provide an experience that increases the likelihood of offers being accepted.

The companies that seem to be succeeding have implemented one of the more well-known applicant tracking systems and/or upgraded from an SMB solution to a more robust one, like Lever, as well as partnering with TA firms or consultants to set up and optimize their systems if their team hasn’t implemented one before.

If you consider the costs of talent acquisition, as well as other factors like the cost of an unfilled position or compromising for sub-par talent, then purchasing, setting up, and managing an ATS effectively is the single-most important investment for a growing company of any stage and size.

About Haderak 

With the right tools, the right data, and a deep understanding of their organization, companies and institutions can build breakthrough teams. The Haderak journey began with helping startups backed by the leading VCs recruit and retain top talent. What it found was companies racing to patch gaps in their headcount, burning cash just to try to keep pace with competitors. Haderak saw missed opportunities to understand, at scale, the lessons from the most pioneering companies and to apply them to our clients’ unique organizational contexts. Velocity isn’t enough to compete anymore. Organizations need teams that can shorten the distance to innovation. Learn more about Haderak today.


Shannon Pritchett, Head of Marketing, hireEZ


Companies are learning that the key to hiring high-quality candidates begins in the sourcing stage. Investing in technology that streamlines your search from the start and automates your workflow helps recruiters narrow talent pools and identify candidates who may be a good match much faster than ever before. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one example of technology with many benefits for recruitment teams looking to boost efficiency, enhance candidate engagement, and enable better data-driven decisions. It’s also an area where many companies expect to increase their investments this year. 

Leveraging AI, platforms like hireEZ have simplified the search for top talent by allowing recruiters to efficiently source candidates whose qualifications closely align with their job description and requirements. As recruiters select candidates to move forward in the process, the AI learns about their preferences and recommends more candidates with similar qualifications. This helps recruiters quickly build a healthy pipeline of high-quality candidates for an opportunity.

Candidate engagement is another area where recruitment teams are putting a greater focus and where AI has had a huge impact. Candidates want a personalized experience, but staying consistent with communication when you have high requisition loads is challenging. Having the help of an AI assistant to draft multiple personalized emails in less time than it takes to read a LinkedIn post has changed the game for candidate engagement and building a strong employer brand. Now, recruiters can increase their outreach and maintain stronger relationships with top talent throughout the hiring process. 

Talent acquisition teams impacted by tightening budgets need to take a close look at their existing technology stack and simplify it to include only tools with a measurable return on investment. Determining which metrics ultimately lead to success in securing high-quality talent is essential for teams looking to do more with less. Having one platform that consolidates sourcing activities, communication with candidates, and analytics can, as Greg McKeown of WilsonHCG put it, “reduce the number of platforms” in your tech stack and “make cost savings.”

About hireEZ

For nearly a decade, hireEZ has delivered global recruiting teams greater access to candidates with the world’s first AI Sourcing solution. Today, we’re proud to empower the recruitment community with a solution to the most common CRM challenges. We worked with our customers to build a CRM for recruiters by recruiters. It’s the only CRM that delivers recruiters their most valuable asset: candidates. With automation powering greater team productivity and analytics strengthening ROI, leaders can reduce unnecessary tool spend and finally have a CRM worthy of their investment. Learn more at


Brett Ungashick, Founder, OutSail

As talent acquisition professionals are being asked to do more with less, I have seen some customers thrive by concentrating their resources towards building a strong employer brand and candidate experience. Rather than more one-to-one strategies, such as proactive sourcing, building a strong employer brand can give talent acquisition teams a more efficient, one-to-many strategy.

I’ve personally seen some of our clients reap huge rewards by investing time in developing a resonant employer brand, being thoughtful about their storytelling and intentional about their means of communication. This strategy has allowed their brand to stand out from the crowded employer landscape and filled their pipeline with highly aligned & interested candidates. 

But, just getting those candidates to step forward and apply for a job isn’t enough. The TA teams I’ve worked with have also made sure to emphasize a strong candidate experience, so that the hope that candidates feel from the outside matches the experience they have once they’re inside the interview process. Simple things like personalized communications, timely feedback and clear processes are enough to paint a picture of competence and quality.

About OutSail 
Founded in 2018, OutSail the HR Software broker business model. OutSail offers a cost-free & vendor-agnostic service helping HR teams research, evaluate and select new HR Software. Brett started his career by selling software at LinkedIn, before recognizing a growing need from software buyers for support throughout their buying processes. OutSail has helped over 1,000 companies with new HR software purchases including companies like SalesLoft, DoorDash, BarkBox and the Boys & Girls Club of America. Learn more at

Keith Cline, Founder, VentureFizz

The economic conditions in the tech industry have obviously had a major impact on the budgets for talent acquisition teams. Since every dollar is under the microscope in terms of spending, companies are definitely paring down the amount of resources they are leveraging.

However, even though there are fewer resources, the companies that will win in the long run are the companies that are continuing to invest in their employment brand and are making sure that the candidate experience throughout the hiring process is optimal.

Yes, it is a unique time for the tech industry where there is a surplus of talent, but this will be temporary and your reputation as an employer of choice will play a key role in your ability to attract top-tier talent when the market is competitive again.

Thus, companies can use this period of time to build up a premium employment brand in the market and stand out from other companies by continuing to produce content about their company, its culture, and hiring process.

If you take this transparent approach to your hiring strategy, an added benefit will be the ability for job seekers to filter themselves out of consideration before applying. For example, if you are creating content that describes your working environment and if you provide your expectations for working onsite versus remote, it will be easy for the job seeker to evaluate whether or not that working style is a fit. In return, it will ultimately save time for the company and job seeker.

About VentureFizz

VentureFizz is the leading employment branding and recruiting website focused on the tech industry. VentureFizz helps tell the story of your company, culture, and hiring process through its various content options, which include videos, podcasts, employee profiles, and more. Now more than ever, job seekers are looking for information on companies and their culture before applying. The VentureFizz platform helps you stand out and control the narrative. By having a company listing and your jobs on VentureFizz, you can better engage with a targeted audience of professionals in the tech industry across all job functions. Learn more at

Liv Carter, VP, Partner Management, Verified First 

Whether or not you consider this a ‘flex’ will depend on the organization, but we’ve seen organizations put greater emphasis or reliance on data-driven decision-making in the recruitment process. Companies are leveraging analytics and insights to identify high-quality candidates more efficiently and quicker.

Such data may include past hiring data, performance metrics, and turnover rates. By doing so, companies can refine their candidate criteria and more effectively target their efforts towards individuals who are more likely to fit or succeed in the role. 

Additionally, we’ve seen a focus on best of breed technology and integrations. From AI-powered resume screening tools to video interviewing platforms, technology solutions today offer innovative ways to identify and assess high-quality candidates efficiently. 

As a background screening company, we play a crucial role in qualifying candidates and improving quality of hire. There are all in one solutions that do background screening, applicant tracking, candidate relationship, payroll, etc. Unfortunately, many of these solutions are then faced with slow turnaround times, difficult technology, or, even, poor compliance.

We’re seeing companies pivot to selecting best in breed solutions — the best applicant tracking system, best payroll, best background screening, and so on. Doing so empowers companies to recruit high-quality candidates without sacrificing compliance or flexing on the non-negotiables, like background screening. 

Due to this shift, though, companies are heavily relying on easy and effective integrations. Integrating solution to solution has to be effortless so that recruiters and hiring managers can still quickly recruit and hire candidates while maintaining a pipeline of high-quality candidates.

Lastly, we’re seeing a huge push for employee referrals and applications. This ‘flex’ is empowering employees to be company and culture advocates, which then allows recruiters to zero-in on candidates that have been vetted by their very-own supporters, employees. This has also become a more effective way of furthering employer brand across competitive markets.

About Verified First  

Verified First offers a streamlined screening experience. Whether your organization is evaluating candidates or rescreening employees, we are prepared to help you transform your screening experience with our team of PBSA-certified experts and top-notch client care. We guarantee competitive pricing and no annual commitments, long-term contracts, or minimum screening requirements. Our patented, cutting-edge technology seamlessly connects your organization with 100+ cloud-based people management, ATS, CRM, Payroll, and more all in one platform. Learn more at Verified First.


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