Recruiting in the New Normal: Drift’s Guide to Creating a High-Touch Candidate Experience in a Digital World

Prior to the pandemic, Drift (intentionally) had a very in-office culture. Fast forward six months and we now have nearly 400 people across four offices working remotely until at least June 2021.

That means we’ve had to reconsider how we meet, how we connect – and even how we hire and onboard candidates. Because believe it or not, we have grown during this time, bringing on employees ranging from Design Interns to Sales Development Representatives to a new Chief Revenue Officer.

With our offices closed for the rest of the year, we will continue to grow remotely. This switch to remote work has required a tremendous effort on the part of our recruiters, who are used to inviting candidates into the office, introducing them to Drifters, and using the physical space and the charisma of the team to seal the deal on an offer.

But we know we’re not the only ones who’ve had to change things up. And with many companies mandating work from home and remote work culture for the foreseeable future, we thought it was important to share what we’ve learned about creating a high-touch candidate experience in this “new normal.” These are our favorite tips and tricks for remote hiring in 2020 (and beyond).

The Job Description

One of the most important ways to ensure that you are getting the right candidates in the digital door is an accurate job description. That way, candidates have a full understanding of the role when they interview, and there won’t be any surprises on their end – or your end – when they start the job.

This is why we recommend companies consider posting job descriptions that are bucketed out by 60 day, 90 day, and 1 year milestones. All of our open roles have a section that covers what would be expected on the 60 day, 90 day, and 1 year mark if they were to get the job. This helps the candidate really picture themselves in the role and think about if these are goals and milestones they are comfortable with. And since the job is less abstract, it actually gives us a lot more to talk about in the interview.

The Candidate Scorecard

All of the open positions at Drift have a scorecard specific to the role that is created by the recruiter and the hiring manager. These scorecards give our team a common system for evaluating candidates for all teams and managers who are involved in the hiring process.

It also helps us facilitate an unbiased interview experience. Powerful scorecards tie together skills and qualifications, Drift Leadership Principles (more on those in a minute), and core competencies of the position to a robust applicant tracking system (we use Greenhouse).

This way, candidates are engaged in a challenging, informative, and fun interview process – and hiring teams are able to provide objective feedback on their specific area of focus for their conversations. This early identification of what business needs the role will fulfill allows our hiring team to identify strong potential candidates faster and also make hiring decisions in a more precise and meaningful way.

The Leadership Principles

When interviewing a candidate, it’s important to make it very clear from the beginning what your organization’s values are (since your values are what define your company culture). At Drift, we have our Leadership Principles, which we share with candidates so that they can understand the core values of Drift.

Now that we are remote, it’s even more important to dig into our Leadership Principles with candidates and demonstrate them in our own interview process. Typically, each interviewer will have one or two LP’s to focus on with potential candidates, plus a few suggested interview questions to hit on their assigned LP’s. The feedback the interviewer provides should include whether the candidate has either a proven history of illustrating these principles in their professional life, or if they were able to articulate how they have embodied them in their day to day.

For more information on the eight leadership principles that have shaped our culture, check out our book here.

The Interview Process

Interviewing for a new job takes a lot of time and energy – both for the candidate and the recruiting team. That is why it’s very important to provide a clear picture of what the interview process will look like from start to finish.

The interview process at Drift typically consists of a phone call with a member of our recruiting team, an informal phone or Zoom call with the hiring manager for the role, followed by a couple of different video interviews with a diverse group of interviewers at different levels (or in different groups that the position will interact with). Some roles also involve a presentation and a conversation with a member of our executive team.

We always try to explain this process upfront so that candidates understand the time commitment an interview process might take. It’s important to recognize that candidates may have another job, a family, and other commitments they need to plan around. That’s why we also work hard to complete the interview process as quickly as possible to show that we value our candidate’s time.

The Offer

After being remote for more months than not in 2020, we know that meeting over Zoom or the phone can sometimes take away the personal piece of new interactions. When it comes time to extend a job offer, it’s important to remember – this is a real opportunity and exciting moment for a candidate. So we make sure the candidate has all of the information that they need; including a strong understanding of the position and its responsibilities, Drift’s mission, team culture, and future growth opportunities. We also try to set expectations early on around the compensation and benefits. If we have made it all the way to the offer stages this means we are very, very excited about you. We have been searching for the right candidate for a while and have interviewed many candidates along the way. All of this to say, we are going to try our best to make it work because we want YOU to join the team.

What have you found works best for your team as you pivot to remote hiring? We’re always looking to improve our process.

And stay tuned for our next post on onboarding new hires remotely 👩‍💻