Growth principles for recruiters

October 25, 2018


Growth principles for recruiters

Growth principles for recruiters

Webinar held October 25th, 2018.

Skip to view recording at the bottom.

Adrie Smith: Okay, hey everyone. Welcome to Recruitee’s second webinar. Today we’re actually going to be talking about growth principles for recruiters. We’ve actually had over 200 signups today, so we’re going to give it one or two more minutes just to let everyone settle in, get a cup of coffee and then we’ll start.

Okay, I think we’re ready to start. Okay. So, if you guys have just joined, welcome to Recruitee’s actually second webinar. Today we’re going to be talking about growth principles for recruiters.

First of all, just a little housekeeping before we actually get started. We’ll be circulating all the follow-up materials from the Webinar on actually our Facebook group called the TA Innovators. You should have received a link in your email, as a reminder for this event, but we’ll also send you a link afterwards if you missed it, but definitely join the group and you’ll be able to get exclusive access to all of the follow-up materials.

Secondly, this is kind of a question and answer format, so if you have any questions in the meantime or during the chat, you can either post them on gotowebinar directly and we’ll get to them at the question and answer session at the end, or you can use Twitter to tweet your question using the #TAinnovators and, we’ll also address it at the Q&A section.

So, first things first. My name is Adrie Smith, I’m the content marketing manager at Recruitee. I’m responsible for the blog and all of the insightful content that you see there. So if you haven’t checked it out, do check it out. Also, if you don’t know Recruitee already, we are an applicant tracking system, designed to help collaborative hiring become a reality for you and to help bring you closer to making great teams. So without further adieu, I’m actually joined today by our chief growth officer Ferdinand Goetzen So, welcome. If you can actually give a brief introduction to who you are and how you got involved in recruitment.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah. Thank you. Well, I’m the chief growth officer here, or the chief marketing officer, so I’m the head of  the company’s marketing and growth department and yeah, I first ventured into marketing and various forms of marketing almost 10 years ago with little internships and over the last years have worked with a number of different companies. A few years ago I had my first experience with hiring people for different teams. Then couple of years ago I worked for a training company called Growth Tribe teaching the growth mindset, growth principles and yeah, now for over a year I’ve been with Recruitee, helping build the recruitment software of the future.

Adrie Smith: Nice. So obviously from your title, growth is very much a part of what you do. What do you mean by growth and can you kind of explain it to our audience today?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah, I mean, growth, growth hacking, growth marketing’s a little bit of a buzzword. Ultimately, I think we’re going in a direction where the future growth and marketing are going to be interchangeable. It’s already in many circles already is like that. But essentially what really differentiates growth from marketing is it’s not just about acquiring customers, generating new leads, it’s also about creating a great user experience, focusing on the entire customer journey from before they’ve ever heard of you until they’re actually, you know, loyal, long term users and really thinking about optimizing every stage.

So it’s essentially a creative data driven experimental approach to marketing.

Adrie Smith: Okay. So, what does a growth mindset actually mean for recruiters and for recruitment?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah. So I always say that what really, I mean, growth hacking, growth marketing, whatever you want to call it, it’s all about solving problems with those jobs or about solving problems. And we live in a world where technology is evolving fast. Opportunities are changing. We all work in very competitive industries.

The skill, the ability to solve problems is an incredibly important skill and the mindset that we kind of view as crucial in achieving that, especially in the marketing and commercial sphere, is on the one hand to be very analytical. So to be able to measure, track what you’re doing, look at the results, be accountable to those results. And always think of new ways to optimize those results. So being analytical, that’s the first pillar of this mindset.

The second pillar is creativity. Thinking creatively about solutions. Very often, we noticed that a lot of companies are doing things in a very traditional way that they’re still doing things today as they did five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. And of course there are always age old principles, best practices and rules that are never going to change. Human psychology doesn’t change that much over time, a lot of core principles are important.

So it’s not about ditching the traditional values and approaches, but it’s also about recognizing that there are new tools, new technologies, new ideas that might help you be more efficient, have more success, whether it’s hiring, whether it’s marketing, and I think core elements of creativity are really important.

And then ultimately, which was really born out of the lean startup methodology is having an experimental mindset. Being able to experiment with things. We tend to think about big projects a lot, which is very important projects, but we don’t think so much about experimenting with how we do things. When you’re building products, especially tech products, you need to experiment a lot to you need to test what works, what doesn’t work. In marketing you need to do that and I think there’s  a lot of value in doing that in recruitment as well. So this kind of creativity, analytical and experimental mindset is really core to how we work here.

Adrie Smith: So, with those kind of three pillars in mind, what kind of element of this growth mindset can you actually apply to a day to day recruiting environment?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah, so I think there’s a lot of parallels already between marketing, growth, and recruitment. Customer acquisition and talent acquisition  have a lot of things in common, on the one hand you have the customer journey, on the other hand you have the candidate journey, you have the user experience, you have the candidate experience, you have customer success, candidate success.

So there’s a lot of parallels there. And a lot of core principles can be carried over. I think ultimately when it comes to this mindset, well the first thing is the data driven this, this is something that wasn’t such a thing in marketing 15 years ago and it’s core to any advanced modern, innovative marketing team today is being data driven. We don’t just tap in the dark and hope something works. We actually set standards before we run any project or experiment. We measure how it goes or we see when we reached those results that we’re expecting the minimum standards of success and if we don’t, we continuously make changes. We iterate on our ideas and we come up with new ideas and we come up with new experiments to help achieve those goals.

So I think that already, the data drivenness, can be hugely valuable in recruitment, in talent acquisition because already at the very beginning you have to ask yourself, you have your candidate journey and you have your different stages and given pipeline, which impacts companies differently.

But let’s say you have a job description or career site. How many people are landing on that site and how many people are actually applied, conversion rate optimization, the process of optimizing the number of people who land on the page, the number of people that sign up is something very common in marketing already. It’s something that I found to be less practiced in a lot of companies when it comes to recruitment, but maybe it is worth doing. Maybe you should be ab testing your job description pages. Maybe create two versions and see which one is more successful based on the data. So that’s already one. Looking at every stage and asking yourself, is there any point within this candidate journey where there seems to be a major drop off? Like maybe there’s tons of people visiting your job description and nobody’s applying. Maybe the job description is at fault. Maybe there’s tons of people applying, but when you get them on the phone screen, they’re super not relevant to the role. So maybe the job description is a bit misleading and it can be optimized further.

Or maybe you’re getting tons of people who get through every single stage, they come in for an interview and then you make them the offer and then they turn your offer down and you have to ask yourself, are you managing the expectations right? Are you getting the right level of seniority in your candidates? So there’s already the data driven approach is already a core thing that should be underlying.

I think anything in any business that doesn’t mean that intuition doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that gut feeling doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that the candidate experience and that human interaction doesn’t matter. All these things matter. Data drivenness doesn’t replace these things. It just helps you focus your efforts and your energies where you’re going to get the biggest impact with the least amount of time, and then if you want to think about how do I actually react to the data if I’m seeing that between stage three and four of my pipeline, people are jumping off quite rapidly. Ask yourself, what can I do to improve this? And that’s when the creativity and experimentation comes into play, you know, maybe posting to LinkedIn and Indeed makes the most sense. But maybe there are other niche job boards you should be trying, maybe you should be trying completely different things.

Something totally different from job boards. Maybe you should be doing events or cold outreach or all sorts of different things you could be trying. So I think there is a lot of stuff that you can borrow from this mindset and apply it to recruitment.

Adrie Smith: Nice, yeah. So, you’ve mentioned a lot of data, being data driven. What are the core data points or pieces of data that a recruiter should really start tracking if they’re not tracking already?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Well, there’s all that really famous commonly used data that we tend to track: time to hire, drop off rates. Ultimately I think the most valuable-  at least for me, I mean I come from a marketing perspective, so you need to of course apply this to your own workflow for those watching.

I cannot guarantee that you work in the same way that I do or that you would approach it the same way every company is different, but for me really thinking about conversion rates is very effective, so sometimes I find myself with hiring for a role within our department and then we have a bunch of ideas. We create the job description, put everything live, and then you know, we want to hire this person who [incomprehensible] six weeks and then eight weeks, nine weeks later we realize, oh, we haven’t found anyone yet, so let’s just start again. Let’s try something else. I don’t think that’s necessarily the best way to go about it. I think you need to be optimizing from the very beginning.

So of course you don’t know in your first week of putting adopter’s job life. You don’t know whether you’ve got the right candidate that it’s in the pipeline or not, but you can look at early indicators. Ask yourself are enough people visiting the career site and the job description? Are the people who are visiting it actually applying? So looking at the metrics at every stage of this journey, how many people will drop you off at every stage and is this different to what you would expect? Is this different than the industry standard? Is this different compared to other roles?

And then what you could do in some softwares, really look at the analytics deeply and say, are there differences in terms of which channel is your sourcing that from? Maybe you find out that people coming from LinkedIn convert much better than people who are coming from Indeed for example. Or maybe you’re realizing that one person on your hiring team is performing 10 times better than other people on the hiring team. You can ask yourself, what are they doing differently? Are they writing better job descriptions? Are their outreach emails to candidates more effective? Are they using a different angle?

So really thinking about your KPIs, thinking about the core metrics that determine whether the candidate gets from the beginning to the end of this candidate journey, of this pipeline, I think that’s the most effective metrics that you can be looking at.

Adrie Smith: Right, and obviously within Recruitee you can actually start tracking the source of your candidates, which is also super helpful for a lot of people, so that you can actually start to look and see what channels are your best channels and that’s already the start of being a bit more data driven and looking at data. To see actually where your efforts are best placed.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah, you can cross reference a lot of different factors and say, hey, maybe when Milan is sourcing for a growth marketer in Amsterdam from LinkedIn, he’s having more success than if somebody else’s sourcing from a different channel for a different role. And you can ask yourself, well what’s actually happening here? Again, tracking the data is one thing, taking action to improve it is another. So that’s why you have the analytical side and then you have the creative experimental side which is really thinking about original ways to fix these problems.

Adrie Smith: So, coming from a growth marketing background, what are the top recommendations you would give to recruiters for actually optimizing their candidate pipeline?

Ferdinand Goetzen:  The top recommendation we’ll give to recruiters… I mean, it really depends on what stage you’re struggling with. I think there is a lot of potential at the top of the funnel, at the beginning of the very beginning.

How are you getting people to your career site, to your job description, to your job page and is the quality or the relevance of this traffic high? So you can already think about what are alternative channels that I can look for. I think that’s a really easy low hanging fruit, we all tend to go for what’s most obvious, which is, you know, the key job boards in my area, but there’s always different places. There’s always different workplaces. You can look at different things.

You can do, think about the whole range: sourcing, referrals, job ads. But then also think about things that maybe you hadn’t considered. If you’re hiring a PR person, which incidentally we actually are. If you’re hiring a PR person, maybe find out what is the biggest PR event or PR meetup in the country or the city and have a chat with them and see if you can actually promote your position there? Or even just attend the events and talk to people?

The other thing that I think you can really borrow is this idea of building a network and nurturing it. We tend to think about roles on a case by case basis. So I need a designer, so once I need a designer, I’ll create a job for it and then I’ll push it. But you should already be thinking about the next 20, 30 roles you going to hire for. So if you’re hiring your first designer for example, already be thinking about the next designer or the three designers later that you’re going to meet. Because if you’re a fast growing company and your team’s growing, you’re going to want to have probably three, four or five designers on your team.

So if you have… And this is also what differentiates  also where marketing and recruitment really overlaps. If you do it internally within your business, if you outsource it, it’s a little bit different. But if you do it internally, you can actually say, okay, well we have this job, this designer job out there, or offer out there. We found a perfect candidate, but there were also three, four other candidates in the pipeline who’s super relevant and you shouldn’t lose connection with these people. You need to make sure that they had a great candidate experience. Make sure that they really identify strongly with your brand, that they love your company, identify with your mission, with your vision, what you want to do, and then you want to keep them close.

Create talent pools and make sure that you’re talking to them regularly. Nurture these people because before you know it, especially in a fast growing environment and not every company is a fast growing company, well the company needs to be a fast growing company, but for those that are you already want to be putting the most promising talent into a talent pool, creating a network so that further down the line you’re going to be able to reach out to them and say, “well, you applied to this role six months ago, back then you were a little bit… We thought maybe you were a bit too junior, but we think you’d be a fantastic fit now.” If you gave them a great experience and you’ve stayed close to them, there’s a high chance that they- if they’re available- going to be interested and we do this in marketing all the time. We create new marketing automations when we tried to keep people close, create a lot of value for them. I think these are some of the easy things that you can actually even do it quite easily and you can have a very big impact.

Adrie Smith: Yeah. So as you… Well yeah, as you know, I used to be a recruiter and I think when sometimes you get such a large amount of work on your plate on a daily basis that it becomes, it can feel very difficult to be a, I guess like develop this kind of nurturing capacity for candidates. It can be very transactional. Are there any kind of quick and easy  fixes to this that you would kind of recommend, like quick, easy ways to put out a nurturing campaign to a talent pool for example?

Ferdinand Goetzen: I mean, it depends. There’s always a lot of, really depends on what tools and technologies you’re using, but there are tons of email automation tools out there from Mailchimp to Convertkit. There’s tons of stuff that you could use. A lot of it is free if you’re dealing with a smaller audience, which in marketing and stuff  I think 10,000-15,000 contacts, but in recruitment you’re dealing with proposition will be 10, 20 potential candidates.

To be honest, I don’t know if there’s any quick and easy fixes. What I do know is that it’s all about creating value and yet it is transactional, but to some extent every interaction within society has a certain transactional element to it. So it’s more about not thinking transactionally, thinking about creating value. So same thing when you write blog articles, of course there is marketing value in creating a blog article, but the real value comes in creating value for others and saying we like read wrote this super relevant article which is really going to help people.

And when people read that they could understand that we think the same way or we have certain ideas about this field, about how things are going to change and maybe they align to that, there are some companies that do that really, really well. I would say the same thing, if you have candidates  it doesn’t have to be, you don’t have to think about it transactionally. Think about what gives them the best experience. Maybe you can share articles on tips on how to help him find a job, for example, doesn’t necessarily, you know, it doesn’t have to be selfish, it can be very selfless and then they’re going to remember that you gave them a great experience. They’re going to remember that you know, the Internet is full of people complaining about bad hiring experiences. So creating a great experience is the ultimate way to project a strong company culture, a strong employer brand, and keep candidates close- potential candidates.

Adrie Smith: Yeah. Nurturing 101 for you.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yep.

Adrie Smith: So you mentioned Mailchimp as one potential tool, and growth is kind of all about finding ways to be more data-driven, be a bit more creative, be experimental and obviously a lot of that comes with…tools. Tools really compliment a lot of those values. Are there any tools that you would really recommend to recruiters?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah, I guess it depends what you’re trying to do and how techy you want to go. But, on the easy side, and some of you might know this, but, working with things like Lucia for finding contact details or hunter.io, great way to get people’s contact details. Using things like Crystalknows, you can essentially install it as an extension going to candidates profile -potential candidates profile and it will actually look at their, will look at their posts and such and look at their profile and place the candidate in line with, I think it’s 62 or 64 psychological profiles. And on that basis you already have a good idea of what kind of person this is. And, well, I don’t know how effective it is for using that in terms of assessing a candidate’s fit for the company.

But it is useful in thinking about how you reach out to this person and, there’s tons of tools out there for automating email subject lines for example, you know subjectline.com and stuff like that. There’s tons of tools for writing better copy, for creating better content, for making more relevant subject lines. If you have a career site you can use an AB testing tool on there and do AB testing to see the value of this kind of stuff.

And then yeah, for email automations, I mean we’re building plenty of automation features in the next months in Recruitee, but until then you can always use things like Mailchimp or Convertkit. You actually communicate with people on a regular basis. And then there’s the stuff that isn’t like a crazy niche tool, but nobody’s really using. Like maybe you can create a tab or tool or Facebook group or something like that.

So I don’t really think it’s so much about which tools to use but more how you use them. And then if you want to go super advanced, you can always say what if you use typeforms to get insight through all your candidates and then you put all of that data through a tool like Dataiku, which is an artificial intelligence data science tool, and you can use machine learning algorithms to figure out what is the likelihood of  being hired or what is the likelihood of having a fit. A bit more complicated, I’m not sure that’s will be like number one priority but there’s a lot of fun stuff that you can do once you kind of explore the possibilities of the tools out there.

Adrie Smith: Nice, yeah. So, we’ll make a comprehensive list following the webinar and you’ll actually find that on the TA innovators Facebook group. So we’ll share that with you afterwards. So I think we have some time for some Q&A. So I’m going to get some questions fielded to me by one of my colleagues, to see what you guys want to ask Ferdinand.


We were just starting out with our employer branding. How do I make sure that it’s scalable for the next couple of years?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah. So again, employer branding and your company’s branding, I think in a lot of cases might even be one of the same thing. Of course you emphasize different aspects depending on who your audience is. So there might be different things you want to promote a candidate that you wouldn’t to a customer of course.

But essentially it’s about, you know, does your company have a clear, does your company have a story? Or does your company have a vision? Because I’ve found that in marketing and in recruitment, nothing is more powerful than a good story both on the company side and the candidate side, I’m sure the recruiters watching here can definitely relate. If a candidate… You can send us different candidates with a very similar profile, but if somebody has a really compelling story about their trajectory so far and their ambition, their path and  their goals, that’s going to be much more convincing than somebody else who doesn’t have a convincing story, even though they might have some of the same experiences.

The same thing goes for a company. Hiring is one of the biggest challenges. I think the key to growing a business is hiring to be super clear. It’s not marketing, it’s not sales, it’s hiring the right people because once you have the tools with the other processes, once you have all of this, you want to have the right people to drive your company forward and your employer brand isn’t… It’s not just important in terms of we always look at it from the perspective of attracting candidates, but it’s also a way to make sure that the right kind of people are going to help develop this brand in the future. And the way to make it scalable is to really think at the core, what is the core value of your product?

So we can share with Recruitee’s vision in detail, but at the core, what does Recruitee do? We create software that helps companies hire better. Very simple and you can come up with a thousand variations of this, but that is the core principle and if you go to find people who are passionate about achieving that goal with this company and everything that comes with it, then you’ve got the right kind of people.

So sharing your story, sharing your vision is incredibly important because that’s what people buy into nowadays. If you live in a country like the Netherlands where you’ve got a very competitive job market, there’s a lot of jobs out there. There’s a lot of opportunities for a talented young person these days, the vision makes a big difference. So I really would always say that how you project your brand, there’s a million ways to do it, but always makes sure that your core vision, your core story, that those two come through.

Adrie Smith: So simple, simpler employer brands at the end of the day.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah, I, I think it’s good to… I mean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be simple, but your core message needs to transpire always.

How can an ATS help you do experiments?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Can an ATS help you do experiments…Well, yeah, it depends on which ATS you’re using. I’m obviously biased. I’m not going to go for a shameless plug [chuckle], but if you are tracking data, that is the core of experimentation because the whole point of the experiment is you haven’t, you have a goal, you create the hypothesis, you create an experiment on the basis of that hypothesis, you run it and then you track the data.

So if you are looking at the data within Recruitee for example, and saying, “well, tons of people are visiting the job description and nobody’s applying”, that’s when you come up with an idea, which is the goal is to get more people to apply, more visitors to the site should apply. [incomprehensible] how are you going to do this? Maybe your experiment will need to come up with very playful job description for example. So you come up with a playful job description, you put it live. Then you see if the metrics improved. So the way that your ATS or your recruitment [incomprehensible] can help is by looking at that data, tracking that data and seeing whether the pipeline feels a lot  better than it did before, ultimately.

How can you apply the experimentation mindset to recruitment?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Well, I think that’s pretty much, it’s pretty much the same. Experiment mindset- it’s not about doing crazy things for the sake of doing crazy things. It’s about saying, “okay, we’re doing things a certain way, we’re having certain results, what can we do to improve those results?”

And the idea of experimentation is that you don’t want to invest a lot of time and money into huge projects because you’re on a budget, you’re on a timeline. You want to make sure that you’re not spending five months trying to hire for one role. So you can’t afford to do big projects.

So ask yourself “what is currently working, what is not working and what are your core assumptions?” And experimentation is essentially just a way of validating or you know, or refuting those core assumptions. So that’s really the goal is to ask yourself, what are my core assumptions, my assumption is that the job description is not playful enough, I can test that really easily. So always ask what is the low hanging fruit, what is the easy thing you can test? And yeah, that’s basically what experimentation is all about.

Trying to come up with the quickest ways to validate core assumptions that might improve your process.

I’m a recruiter, do I need to learn AI?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Do I need to learn AI? No. [chuckle] Yeah so I noticed as well we had the Unleash conference here announced to them last week and AI was a little bit big, one of the big topics. It’s big everywhere. Let’s be super clear that the potential of AI is massive. It’s exciting. We’re trying to build it in to Recruitee, we’re trying to do cool features around that as well. But ultimately you don’t need to be able to do data science. Let’s be clear, it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s something that takes a long time to learn and perfect and master.

What do you need to learn is what is AI and how can it help. Because in the next years you’re going to see the job description data scientist become much, much, much more populated, it already is. It already has been for the last years. It’s only going to become more important, you’re going to see more and more tools with artificial intelligence capabilities emerging and what you need to understand is just how can it help? How can you improve things, because you need to always balance. You want to balance  tools, technology and data but you still want a human touch. You still want a great candidate experience, you still want a personal side, so you’ve got to ask yourself, how do these two things work?

How do you balance those two things and you don’t need to learn AI as a recruiter. Definitely not you, or at least in my opinion, but you do need to learn what it can do, what the potential is and how it can help because AI is going to have huge impact for recruiters, but it’s also going to have a huge impact on the job market in general. So there’s two different angles to this, but you need to pay attention to the future.

Adrie Smith: Definitely. Yeah, I think it’s always good to know what’s happening in your own market, especially when there are so many jobs that are going to be coming up in this area as well.

What good case practices would you recommend as solid employer branding done right?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Do you mean specific companies that are doing it right? That’s a tough one. I think it really depends. So, when it comes to the brand, what’s very important is you need to find that limit, same thing with marketing as well. You want to know the line between, you want to listen to your candidates and you want to provide what your candidates want within your brand. But it also works the other way around. You also have a core vision, you have a core identity, you have a core culture. You don’t need to be adapting that to the candidates rather you need to be pushing that out there and finding the people who relate to it.

Adrie Smith: Right.

Ferdinand Goetzen: So, it’s very difficult to see which companies are really doing this right. Because you’d really have to look into their retention rates and the culture. But when I look at companies like Temper for example,also Growth Tribe. These are companies where, when you go there every person seems to… The company has such a strong identity they have a way of speaking, they have a way of behaving, they have a  way of thinking and it kind of transcends all the people within that business.

So, there are companies that are really, really doing this well. I think there are companies where if you look at… It’s a little bit difficult because it’s hard to compare smaller companies to big companies. You can always look at Apple for example, you can look at Google. In a lot of ways these companies have pioneered new approaches to hiring, new approaches to company culture. But then there are also examples where it hasn’t worked quite as well. If you look at Amazon for example, if you look at Uber.

So, it’s a little bit hard to compare those really, really big companies to smaller companies. But there are some companies that I think are doing really well. There are some good examples [incomprehensible] as well. There’s a lot of companies where you really see that people are really one with the identity of company. It’s very constructive.

What would you do AB testing with? Besides job descriptions, different channels to promote that they can seize?

Ferdinand Goetzen: What would  I do AB testing with? Okay. So, your career site is the number one of your job description, obviously as you mentioned. You can AB test the copy you use in the ads that you put out. So, if you’re creating a Facebook ad, even within Facebook ad manager you can actually AB test you can create AB tests within the app manager.

So, that’s already something else you can do. If you’re sending emails, you can also AB test emails. You can also AB test sourcing messages. Of course, the statistical functionality is not built in. But you can still track it on your site if you go, what you call it an AB test statistical significance calculator. So, when you do an AB test you’re testing two versions of the same thing and then you’re seeing what is performing better. But it needs to be statistically significant because if I have a job description A and job description version B and I have three people visit A and five people visit B that’s probably not going to be a statistically significant result. Because it can always be  chance. So, there actually, if you google it you know statistical significance calculator, you can actually just put the two job descriptions up.

You can even create two separate jobs if you have the space, if you have the seats available within your ATS, you create two jobs. You push them both in different channels for example or you just push at the same channel with a different copy, depends on what you’re trying to test. And then you just manually check the data and you run it through statistical significance calculator and then you can see what’s working, what’s not working.

So, anything that involves channels and copying that you can test. For other things it’s a little bit more difficult, especially because AB testing is about significance, it’s about the statistical significance. So, theoretically you could AB test the approach you have towards having a trial day. But probably the volume isn’t going to be significant enough for it to really be a statistical test. It would probably be more of a qualitative test. So you can always switch things up and see if it works better. But if you’re talking about statistical AB tests, you need volume.

So, it’s usually at the early stages of the candidate pipeline where you’re going to have the volume to test things. Deeper in the pipeline you’re not going to be able to test it so much.

Adrie Smith: What about for example, pre-screening questions? So, I know there are a lot of companies out there who get hundreds of applications for particularly entry level jobs. Is that something you would also recommend them?

Ferdinand Goetzen: You could try, you could try. So, there’s things where the goal is to push someone into the pipeline. The job description,your ads, your screening is actually has the opposite goal which is to narrow down this volume to increase the relevance. The reason of the screening questions is because you’ve got a bunch of candidates coming into the top of the pipeline and then you want to make sure that the most relevant ones make it through your candidate journey basically. So, AB testing something which has the goal of reducing volume is theoretically possible, but it might be a little bit less practical and tangible.

Can you detail some successful recruitment “hacks”?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Hard to know. Well one thing that we have for example is the mid de-grid into what as it kind of works for us. We have a [incomprehensible] which is, it’s basically all about building a community, we have community of people who use Recruitee. The people who use Recruitee tend to be involved in hiring, recruiters, hiring managers so on and so forth. And if you build a strong relationship with these people, they’re also going to be willing to help you. So, when we’re hiring for certain roles, we have a whole community of people who could theoretically help us out. And I think this is something that is becoming a bit more prominent but it’s something that should be much more powerful is companies within a certain ecosystem should be helping each other hire.

I mean of course, you know there’s a lot of competition and stuff but ultimately you know, our perfect design profile might be very different from another company’s perfect design profile. And then maybe we have a candidate that fits their profile and they have a candidate that fits our profile. And if we communicate more and we actually work more closely together, then we actually have a much better chance of having you know, better more relevant candidates and then easier hiring process. So, I think really building a community so anything, that is you know attending events and pushing your job there. That’s a nice kind of a hack.

And yeah just thinking about different ways that you can collaborate with other people. So what I like to do is I always… when I have a role I try to think of  20 perfect profiles where I say, this role in 10 years or five years. What would, what’s the ultimate version of this role that? And then I find someone who fits that. And then I tried to build a relation to these people and say “Hey do you know anyone? Is there anyone you could recommend?” I know a lot of recruiters do this.

So, this isn’t anything groundbreaking, but I think it’s a really nice approach which is thinking about building networks and leveraging networks and more easily,  look at companies that are really, really, really owning their hiring and see what they are doing differently, don’t hesitate to ask.

What’s Recruitee’s best channel for talent and what sets you apart?

Ferdinand Goetzen: What’s our best channel of talent as in the channels that we offer or the channels that we use?

Adrie Smith: I think the channels that we use.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Channels that we use. It differs from role to role, actually. There’s of course… We’re in a tech scene, so LinkedIn is super powerful. AngelList is also great for startup jobs. These are sites that are geared towards companies like us you know, medium sized tech companies. That’s really where our audience is  and it is always really important to think about where your audience is.

Things like events, they work pretty well, and I think it helps that we have a few people here who are you know, have a little bit of an influencer status in their field and people know them. So you know, if I’m looking for a designer I struggle more to find… I don’t have that many designers in my network, but I have a lot of people who have marketing roles in my network. So, I can always leverage my own network and I know, if I don’t know someone, I know someone who knows someone.  Same goes for our designer. Same goes for you in content. So, really make sure that encourage everyone in your company to build a strong network around the stuff that they do. Because if you then try to scale a department you could always go through them as well. 85% of all hires happen through network referrals. That’s significant.

Adrie Smith: And they often result in better quality of hire as well because they’re already familiar with the brand. They know somebody who already works there. They usually have a better onboarding because they know someone who works there, always helps.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yes, it makes it more relevant. Sure.

Adrie Smith: And so, then what sets Recruitee apart then?

Ferdinand Goetzen: I think in terms of hiring, it’s because we have, I think we have a very strong company culture. I think when people walk in here, they get a very good feel for what we’re all about very quickly. I think that’s something that really in terms of hiring sets apart. We’re not going to go into the details of what sets us apart in our product. But although they go hand-in-hand we believe in improving the candidate experience. We believe in innovation. We believe in revolutionizing the field of recruitment. That is in our mission. That is what our vision is based on.

We believe that recruitment is one of the most if not the most important discipline in any company and we want to make sure that it gets the attention that it deserves. And we’re seeing incredible advances in tools, technology and all kinds of things in fields like marketing and sales and we do see that recruitment lags behind in that respect. And we think that, the role of the recruiter is going to change in the coming years. We believe that the importance of recruitment is only going to be amplified in the  coming years.

And I think, the potential that comes with new tools and technology is going to be huge. And we want to leverage that potential and help offer that potential to our users. And I think that’s something that also our candidates understand which is, we’re not here to just do the same thing as what other companies are doing. We’re here to do something different, to do something big and ambitious. And I think, if people subscribe to that, then there are great company.

What is the lowest hanging fruit for a good company culture?

Ferdinand Goetzen: The lowest hanging fruit for a good company culture. Probably storytelling, right? I think I always say the number one skill in marketing is storytelling. You can do all the  tools and you can do all the tech and you can have all the data and you can be fantastic at all of the processes, the best practices. If you can’t tell a story, you’re not going to convince anyone.

So, I think the lowest hanging fruit, the thing that most companies can definitely improve is to tell a good story. The amount of dry boring job descriptions out there is painful to look at. And when you’re looking at 10 job descriptions from 10 different companies, they should be radically different. Of course there are things you need to share. You introduce the company and blah blah and you need to say you know, what’s in the package and what you expect. But ultimately, what makes you different? And it’s very difficult for me to tell one company what to do because it depends so much on their culture, it depends so much on their vision.

But I see that as the main low hanging fruit which is write good content, write good copy. If you have a blog, don’t just write about your product and your… Like write about candidates as well. We also write articles which are intended for candidates and not all intended for potential customers or users, write for candidates as well. Because, it’s so important and you can help these people and you can help educate the market, you can help get people involved, you can help connect with people who you wouldn’t usually connect with.

So, I think being… Copywriting, running good content, telling a strong story, telling your story effectively, there is nothing as important as that. Tools and technology and data may help you share that more accurately, more quickly and more effectively. But if what you’re sharing doesn’t contain enough unique value, then all these tools and tech aren’t going to help. So, that’s really important to… That’s the biggest low hanging fruit. And then of course, experimenting with different channels because you know, that’s more of the talent acquisition of employees.

Should you use PPC (pay per click) channels for your job ads? Are they worth it?

Ferdinand Goetzen: If you’re looking at social ads, then a lot of the work is click to click basis that’s I think there’s a lot of value in that. If you’re thinking something like Google ads, to be honest it might still be worth it. I think this is my answer would be kind of a semi cop-out answer which is: test it. The core part of experimental mindset is, I cannot tell you if PPC ads is going to work. Because for some of you it’s totally not going to work, but for some of you it might work wonders. Like, I don’t know.

But ask yourself, is there reason to believe it would work? And from the moment you have reason to believe it, say to yourself, “Okay, well I’m going to test this. I’m going to put this budget.” Don’t put a budget up you know, 10 grand let’s say, “You know, I’m going to spend 100 bucks on this and I’m going to target this, this, this, this. I’m going to test it and if I get a minimum…” and then you know compare it to your existing channels like what, what is your return on investment on other channels.

How much are you paying on LinkedIn ads and how much are you getting out of it. What is your ROI on LinkedIn ads? Then ask yourself, how does that work… like test it on Google Ads, for example. And if it works, then you can scale it and you could try working with it more. If it doesn’t work, you move on to something else.

So, I think there’s definitely a lot of potential of testing new channels. Which ones do and don’t work will depend on your industry, your product, your audience, the kind of candidates you’re trying to get into the pipeline. The only thing I can recommend is make list of your 10 most promising channels and test them.

Look at the data. Compare them. And then once you figured it out, you’re very likely to be able to reuse that in the future. But again, every rule is different. So, just because Google ads worked really great for finding a growth factor doesn’t mean it’s going to be really great for finding a support specialist. You need to test this. Always iterate and always try to find ways to prove it.

Adrie Smith: Yeah. What about Instagram ads?

Ferdinand Goetzen: I think Instagram ads is interesting, I think also Snapchat ads could be interesting. I mean, again we need to ask yourself how much does it cost, how much effort does it take? And to be honest, if the channels you’re using are already working, you need to ask yourself where is the most obvious thing you could improve? So, if you’re getting a lot of traffic, if the ads are performing really well, then focus on improving things further down in the process. Like, you’re screening questions, like your interview approach, like your outreach of emails, I don’t know. But if you feel that you can still get a lot more out of your ads, then it’s definitely worth testing. Test different channels, test different approaches, test different copy, for sure.

In your growth team, have you recruited all of your team members yourself or have you used agencies or recruiters?

Ferdinand Goetzen: So, we don’t use agencies. But we have worked with RPO’s before.

For us what’s really important, we want to own the data, we want to own the culture, we want to own the process. This is something that’s become so important in marketing and sales and we believe our whole business is built on the idea that owning data, the process and the culture of your activities is how recruitment can be done the most effectively.

Because if you outsource it to another company I mean, there’s nothing theoretically wrong with that. But when outsourcing to another company, what happens is that you know, you can’t really convey the culture the same way because, it’s not you conveying it, you’re not involved in the whole process, you don’t own the data that’s for sure. Very few companies will share that with you. So, you don’t… And when I say “data” I don’t mean personal candidate data of course, pay attention to the GDPR and comply with it. I mean stuff like your conversion rates and you know, how successful are the channels. You don’t have that information. So, how are you going to improve in the future?

And the process, You know, maybe you suddenly want to change the process radically and you depend on another company to do that. So, I think it’s really important to try and do this stuff internally, at least as much of it as possible. I understand that for some companies, that just isn’t an option right now. But if it is an option, definitely try it. So, we always try to do it internally.

The first roles I hired for, I did it largely myself. Milan’s sitting here, that was the process that I ran completely by myself,  and then we do have, we have had a couple of consultants who helped out with the process in the past. And now, we have our in-house recruiter, Rebecca, who was on the last webinar and she’s now, she now runs this process and I just take a  very traditional hiring manager role approach. But I try to be as involved as possible but it’s also a little bit different. My job is marketing and growth. I need to understand the product like a recruiter which is why I’m involved in it. It’s not necessarily because I think it’s better for hiring managers to be heavily involved. It’s because I want to understand every aspect about a product the way a user would. So, that’s also one of the reasons I get more involved.

What metrics and KPIs do you track?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Okay, like I said, I don’t run the process, so I don’t necessarily… There might be some things that I’m missing out of here and we definitely try to look at the drop off rates at every stage, very, very important. We tried to track activities for hiring manager recruiter. We have different people involved in hiring. Like we see hiring as a collaborative effort that’s why Recruitee has unlimited users on every plan. So, even if you’re paying the minimum plan to get unlimited users because it’s all about get more people involved.

Yesterday, we did the whole competition within a department where everyone had to source five to 10 profiles and to see who wins and finds the best candidates. So, it should be a collaborative effort. And then, yes so, I always try to look at results and trace it back to the channels so converted rates paid by channel. I try to track the conversion rates of copy so, those are big KPI’s, that is the copy converting. If we were reaching out to 50 candidates for a role on LinkedIn. How many of them are actually responding and how many of them are responding positively? And then we tried to go back and analyze.

So, this morning as well, Rebecca and I, we sat down, we went “okay, who have we reached out to? What has been their response? What is currently happening?” Sometimes you realize that there’s a candidate who’s a really good fit who applied, for some reason they slipped through the cracks because you’re in the pipeline, you’ve got 200 candidates and you just miss a candidate and then I see in there that you know, someone left a note said, “Make sure you call this candidate.” And that was eight days ago and then I go, “Oh wait, you can’t wait eight days. You shouldn’t be waiting eight days.” But sometimes that happens and that’s why if you go into Recruitee, you can actually track time to hire, you can actually track the activities.

And it helps you get a stronger overview of you know, make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. So, these are the  kind of things we check in. The drop off rates, conversion rates, activities per user, channels and this sort of stuff. So, to see who is performing the best? which job is performing the best? Which copy is performing the best? And then we try to understand why.

Adrie Smith: And yeah, in regards to things dropping through the cracks I think it probably really helps to have multiple people involved in the hiring the process, just so that, that doesn’t happen. Somebody will notice, eventually.

How do you get your recruitment team to adopt a growth mindset in hiring?

Ferdinand Goetzen: Yeah, this is very good. Because this is already difficult in marketing and in my previous job, my job was essentially helping evangelize the need for both mindset of the companies. I think the best thing you can do is just start, start by doing, prove that it works and use those learnings to help. Ultimately, what is a growth mindset going to help you do: It’s going to help you work faster, it’s going to help you spend less budget, it’s going to help you find more relevant talent. If you do it right. And it’s going to help you do this without having to run three-month projects that might lead to nothing. You’re not wasting any money there’s a test in small instances. So, the best thing you can do is start small, start with something that’s easy. I think for example, testing different copying of job descriptions.

That’s a really easy test. And then from there, if you see small… Once you have started having small wins, it’s easy to convince other people in the company doing the same thing. So, I would just encourage everybody to explain. Start with analyzing how you do things now. Because sometimes, we just do things a certain way, we don’t think about how we do that right. So, start by just kind of analyzing what are you currently doing? What is your current approach? Which channels do you use? And then ask yourself, “Is there anything really easy to test?” Because if there’s anything would be easy to test, go ahead and test it. And then from there, you can always build on that, I mean kind of scale it within your teams’ approach.

Adrie Smith: The long-term process, right?

Ferdinand Goetzen: It can take a long time, but it depends. I mean, it’s also a mindset that we hire for.Everyone in this company is very experimental. It’s ultimately, what’s really important is you cannot be afraid of failure. So, you need to create a culture where failure is okay, because that comes and goes hand-in-hand with experimentation. You run a lot of experiments that won’t work, but that’s the whole point. The more you figure out what doesn’t work the more you kind of zero in on the things that might. So yeah, we sometimes make big mistakes and sometimes things don’t work. But we still manage to rectify it and learn from it and apply that to the next experiment.

Adrie Smith: So, I think that’s all the time that we have for today. But if you come up with a question you leave the session and you think, “Oh my goodness I forgot to ask this one question.” Leave it on our TA Innovators Facebook group and we’ll get back to you. That’s also, as I said before, where we’re going to be sharing all the follow up materials from the webinar. So, definitely have a look there. Should be followed up in the next couple of days. But thank you for joining us and thank you guys.

Ferdinand Goetzen: We have slides as well?

Adrie Smith: Yeah, we have slides. Well, see you hopefully in the next webinar next month.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Thank you.

Adrie is a former recruiter and Recruitee's Head of Content & Branding. With a passion for hiring and tech, she is responsible for all the awesome stuff that gets published on this blog. You'll see here on the Recruitee webinar, podcast, and even on stage at #TalentCon.
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