It’s been over two years since our co-founder and CTO Elias Torres shared Drift’s hiring philosophy. Since then, we’ve become a Digital First company — primarily remote, with opportunities for employees to collaborate at in-person “Conversation Spaces” all across the country.
The transition out of our in-office culture called for a lot of adjustments, especially in how we recruit, hire, and onboard new Drifters. Despite these changes, we were able to grow to a team of over 500 employees worldwide and were named as one of 2021’s LinkedIn Top Startups (a title we will no longer be eligible for after receiving a strategic growth investment from Vista Equity Partners).
Today, I’m going to share with you how we do things in the new normal 👩💻
We take pride in being part of the 1% of unicorn companies led by Latinx founders. And this past year, our CEO David Cancel was named to Comparably’s Best CEO for Diversity list.
But we also know that building a diverse and equitable workforce is an ongoing and consistent effort. Our goal is to always maintain a culture of inclusion, respect, and trust. In our recruiting, we encourage and listen to all voices in order to innovate in the B2B tech space.
From Anywhere and Everywhere
Our talent team continues to invest time, resources, and people into a high-touch candidate experience, even while remote. One of the biggest benefits of being a Digital First company is that we haven’t had to make as many compromises in our recruiting. With this flexibility, our talent pool has increased significantly. And we’ve been able to meet and hire some incredible people with unique perspectives and stories.
Creating an Engaging and Objective Interview Process
Our interview process is broken down into three stages: the pre-interview, the interview loop, and the post-interview. The interview loop is especially important because it is during this stage that we bring in several people — including executives — to speak with candidates. Why do we do this?
- To help sell the company. As a candidate, you’d want to know who you’ll be working with, right? The interview loop gives candidates the chance to meet some of our amazing Drifters. It makes the experience informative and enjoyable, and candidates walk away with a better understanding of the people at our company.
- To collect data. The more data we have, the easier it is for us to hire the right person for the job. It’s important that everyone involved in the loop brings something different to the table. For example, one interviewer might dig into the candidate’s system-building skills, while the next assesses their coding abilities. Another interviewer might focus on past achievements. Each interviewer should leave the conversation with a unique understanding of the candidate to be shared together later.
- To train interviewers. Interviewing and decision-making are valuable skills to learn — among the most valuable for any team leader. By taking part in the interview process, employees can compare their opinions with those of the hiring manager and practice repeatedly.
- To share our culture. We involve executives in the interview loop to serve as ambassadors for Drift’s culture, corporate vision, and values. While interviews with the core team help us evaluate a candidate’s skill set and competencies, interviews with our executive leadership help us share what it’s like to work at Drift and what drives us as a company.
Evaluating for Drift’s Leadership Principles
When searching for new talent, we always refer back to our Leadership Principles, the driving force behind everything that we do here.
At the end of the day, we want employees who care about more than solving technical problems or getting paid. We want people who are going to focus on the customer. That’s why, for every hiring decision we make, we ask ourselves: Are we putting the customer first?
Speaking of hiring: How exactly does Drift’s hiring process work? Well, according to our talent team, it involves a lot of open communication between the recruiter and the candidate. Here’s what they said was important to them in the hiring process:
Communication Is Everything
For Lead Recruiter Moe Lawson, “Hiring is a two-way street.” Hiring isn’t only extending an offer — it’s also about making sure that the candidate has all the information and support they need to make their decision.
Recruiters aren’t the only ones offering a helping hand to potential Drifters. Often, before an official offer is extended to a candidate, the manager (and sometimes even senior leadership) will reach out through email or text. This way, candidates have a direct line to ask questions and address concerns — while managers can show their enthusiasm about the candidate joining their team.
Taking a Consultative Approach
For us, hiring doesn’t end with the candidate who signs the offer letter. Whether you’re hired or not, we’re dedicated to helping you make the best decision for you.
“I tend to take a consultative approach in my job,” says Senior Recruiter Luisiana Cruz. Even if the candidate isn’t the best fit for the role, recruiters are ready to provide feedback and insights to help them in their career search. For Luisiana, her goal is to provide value to every candidate she talks to so that they can use it in the future.
Onboarding is incredibly important because it’s a new employee’s first look into how the company operates.
Right now, we have a one-week virtual onboarding experience: a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions where new hires receive in-depth information about our company and culture. New hires also gain a better understanding of our business model and the martech industry. (That’s right, it’s okay if you’re not an expert right off the bat.)
After that week of onboarding, new hires continue with additional onboarding, following an individualized plan that is specific to their team. The recruiting team makes it a priority to check in with the new employee and their managers to ensure the transition is going well. We want employees to know that there are multiple resources available if they’re facing any challenges or if they have lingering questions.
Every employee has some version of what we call a 7-30-60-90 day plan. These are detailed documents put together by managers for their employees. They give a clear picture of what employees should be achieving and learning from the beginning of their first week to the end of their first 90 days here. (By that point, it’ll be time to reevaluate and brainstorm new goals for continued career development.)
If you’ve looked at our job descriptions, you’ll see that those are formatted in a similar way. Rather than listing a bunch of requirements, we aim to go over what working at Drift will be like in the day-to-day.
Managers also receive support along the way. In 2021, we kicked off an eight-week educational program for employees who are new to management (i.e. with less than two years of managerial experience). This program teaches management best practices so managers can build supportive networks for their new employees.
Employee Resource Groups
At Drift, we hold ourselves accountable for attracting, hiring, and retaining employees from a diverse set of backgrounds. But it’s not enough to hire with a focus on diversity.
We also want to help individuals succeed once they’ve been hired. One way we do so is through our employee resource groups (ERGs) which unite employees of similar backgrounds and interests. Often, ERGs will provide mentorship opportunities and host events for the causes they represent.
Through ERGs, we continue to promote a culture of respect, trust, and inclusion all throughout Drift.
Drift co-founder and CTO Elias Torres sat down for a conversation with four members of Drift’s Latinx ERG to learn about their experiences and what brought them to Drift.
What Makes Drift a Great Place to Work?
Thinking about joining us? You won’t regret it! But don’t just take it from me. Here’s more about why we were named one of Boston Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in 2021 — straight from our own employees:
“Join Drift if you want to be challenged and if you’re hungry to learn. It’s definitely fast-paced — and we stay focused on execution. In other words, we have a bias for action. So, if that’s something that’s important to you, we’d love to have you.”
– Michelle Ai, Principal, People Operations
“Adapting to changes and recognizing areas for improvement are core tenets of working at Drift. Come in with ideas and a willingness to combine what you already know with what you’re currently learning.”
– Frank Schepps, Systems Product Manager
“One of my favorite things about Drift is that you’re encouraged to bring your whole self to work. There is no such thing as a goal that is too big or an idea that is too small. Bring your unique perspective to the table, own your story, and be your authentic self.”
– Lorraine Chon-Qui Rodriguez, Digital Marketing Specialist
“Transparency is key to how we operate. We bookend every week with two meetings. On Mondays, we do Monday Metrics, a 15-minute company stand-up where every team reports on high-level metrics that are important to the business. And on Fridays, we end the week together with Show and Tell, where someone from each department shares out the work they’re doing. As a result, this enables us to maintain transparency and learning across departments as we grow.”
– Melissa Leffler, VP of Engineering
A lot of things have changed since we shared our original hiring philosophy back in 2018.
But one thing has remained true: the importance of building our team first. We want Drift to be the place you come and do the best work of your life. Our people are the heart of our company, which is why we focus on attracting and hiring the right talent from the get-go. Because, with the right team, we know we can succeed in our mission of making business buying frictionless, more enjoyable, and more human.
At Drift, we believe everything starts with a conversation. If you’re interested in joining our team, we’d love to talk to you. Check out all our open positions here ⚡️
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated to reflect new information.