In today’s post, we interviewed ClearCompany’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Brian Abraham. With 20 years of experience recruiting for high-growth technology companies spanning corporate, agency, and services consulting, Abraham is passionate about connecting A-level talent with pivotal and engaging career opportunities. Within his previous roles before joining ClearCompany, Brian was tasked with developing and executing transformative talent growth strategies in the nation’s top tech hubs and creating programs for veteran and diversity hiring, employment branding, and campus recruiting.
Last week, ClearCompany’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Brian Abraham, talked with us about how adding candidate sourcers to our recruiting team enabled more consistent hiring with a lean team — start here if you missed Part 1!
Today for Part 2 of his interview, Brian is back to dig into the strategy changes he’s made that drive our recruiting success. Since his start at ClearCompany in 2017, he’s been transforming inefficient recruitment processes into an excellent candidate experience and helped ClearCompany grow over 180% to nearly 250 A Players today.
Find out how seemingly simple changes to the recruiting process and stellar messaging have shaped our recruiting success.Looking for #employeerecruiting strategies that work? Learn from the experts: ClearCompany’s Director of #TalentAcquisition has the #recruiting strategies you need to maintain steady hiring and find the best-fit candidates for every role. Read the #Q&A:
Q: How has the structure of the recruiting team contributed to our hiring success, especially in 2022?
Brian A: The candidate sourcer role continues to be the reason for our consistent hiring success. We’ve had some pretty phenomenal quarters with this team structure in place, easily overshooting what were previously our best quarters. In both April and May this year, we hired 15+ people, which is significant considering the size of our team and overall headcount.
The structure of our team also allows us to quickly recover if we do fall behind our hiring model, like if we have unexpected turnover one month. We’re able to put together a plan to catch up and meet our hiring goals.
We recently added another recruiter to the team, and it’s become even more clear that the candidate sourcer role is the differentiator. Our new recruiter was able to hire 10 new employees into one role in two weeks as a new employee. That’s because of the candidate sourcers. When the recruiter is done with an offer, she turns around and there’s a candidate pipeline there — no starting from scratch.
Our new recruiter was able to hire 10 new employees into one role in two weeks as a new employee. That’s because of the candidate sourcers. When the recruiter is done with an offer, she turns around and there’s a candidate pipeline there — no starting from scratch.
- Brian Abraham, Director of Talent Acquisition, ClearCompany
This way, we have candidate screenings happening all the time, as well as all of the other stages of hiring — last-round interviews, sending offer letters, negotiations, and closing candidates. It allows us to keep hiring consistent month-to-month and avoid those rollercoaster dips.
Q: What are some ways we’ve improved our talent acquisition strategies, and how has that contributed to our recruiting team’s success?
Brian A: Some strategies were effective from the start, like using Interview Scorecards in ClearCompany’s Applicant Tracking System. We found that hired candidates’ performance review scores were within about .25 points of their interview score, which indicated to us that we were accurately hiring. It also demonstrated our ability to hone in on the key competencies for each role and use that data to hire more A Players.
At the same time that I was making the case for a candidate sourcer, I discovered that we were losing a lot of time during candidate outreach. There was a lull between the new applicant and screening stage, and then a lot of scheduling back-and-forth. On average, it was taking about six to nine days and five to seven emails to set up a screening interview.
It was taking candidates more time to move through sourcing and screening than through the later stages of the interview process. I thought, this is our part that we play; we have control over this!
So we began sending interview scheduling links in our initial outreach message. Instantly, we saw a big shift in scheduling turnaround — the average dropped to two days and 1.5 emails to set up the first screening interview. We were doing an average of eight candidate screenings per week, and that shot up to 17 per week. Today, we do 45 screenings per week on the low end.
Including interview scheduling links in first-touch messages helps ClearCompany recruiters schedule interviews quickly and conduct more candidate screenings.
Then, we made changes to the interviewing process. For example, for some roles, the first interview was a recorded video interview with me. It was a challenge to get candidates to invest the time and preparation for a video interview when they haven't even had an introduction to our company yet. As a result, we lost 50% of candidates once they learned it was a video interview.
As soon as the data showed this massive loss, we took steps to correct it. The first step would be a 30-minute phone interview with the recruiter. Candidates will know after the initial call whether or not they’re invested in the company, and then, they would move on to a video interview with the hiring manager as step two. The interview process is as efficient as possible — except in rare cases, we don’t put candidates through three- or four-hour interviews.
We also text with probably 99% of our candidates, which is way faster and so convenient because the messages appear both on our recruiters’ phones and on the ClearCompany platform. I can be away from my computer and still keep the recruiting process moving along. As a result, our time-to-hire is around 21 days compared to around 45+ on average across the market.
“We text with probably 99% of our candidates, which is way faster and so convenient because the messages appear both on our recruiters’ phones and on the ClearCompany platform. I can be away from my computer and still keep the recruiting process moving along. As a result, our time-to-hire is around 21 days compared to around 45+ on average across the market.”
- Brian Abraham, Director of Talent Acquisition, ClearCompany
I also analyzed our recruiters’ messaging to help them get more responses from candidates, which has become another differentiator for our recruiting team.
Our approach to recruitment and interviewing shows candidates that we respect their time and hire them faster, and it’s helped us build an excellent candidate experience. We’ve been able to stay on track with our hiring goals in a tight labor market and we haven’t sacrificed anything we want to do during the interview process, like the founder interview.
Q: Can you talk more about how you fine-tuned recruitment messaging and the impact of those changes?
Brian A: Messaging is another thing we do very, very well. In a competitive hiring market, messaging is where recruiters are winning the battle. We refined our recruitment messaging by creating our employer brand and employer value proposition (EVP) and restructuring our job descriptions to be more consistent in format and voice. Our employer brand was developed through interviews with many of our own A players and complements our mission, vision, and values.
Instead of the "About Us" paragraph that most employers put at the bottom of their job descriptions, which candidates typically don't read, we list key EVP bullet points and link to our careers page, Glassdoor reviews, and Great Place to Work Certification™ for more detail.
On a similar note, we polished our strategy for outreach messages. Today, candidates can be reached on tons of different platforms — email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Many companies are just sending out the same message on every platform, not paying attention to their response rates or making changes to figure out what works.
But we analyzed our response rates to find reliable ways to get responses, and we did. For example, we always personalize our messages, starting with the inclusion of the person’s name in the subject line. Our message is not, we have X job in X location for X amount of money. Our message is that we love your unique set of skills and we want you.Need to make changes to your #recruiting strategy to keep up with hiring demands? @ClearCompany #TalentAcquisition expert Brian Abraham has tips on how you can make your #CandidateExperience stand out and attract top talent:
We also adjust messaging based on the role. For example, the feedback we get from our sales executive outreach messaging is phenomenal. That’s because it’s no fluff, all numbers, including base salary, on-target earnings (OTE), average deal size, and average sales. They feel like they’ve gone through a phone screen just by reading that first message.
That promotes transparency and it promotes trust, and even in a very competitive market, we can still garner a pretty solid percentage of responses. We try to stick to shorter messages for increased responses. For example, LinkedIn states that response will increase with 100 words or less. But we've found that this is not always the case if you are tailoring your outreach closely with what candidates are hoping you share. Most companies hide compensation, for example. We share it, and therefore, we stand out.
We receive consistent feedback from candidates that our outreach message and/or job description is why they responded. Many candidates have taken the time to reach out to compliment our messaging, saying it's the best they've ever seen. The messaging that resonates most with candidates is:
- Future-focused details about what candidates will get to work on, which activates a new vision for their life at ClearCompany. (Most companies list general responsibilities which just speak to the past and what candidates have already done)
- Our culture of transparency, especially around compensation and achievement
- 100% remote work environment that doesn’t lack culture or collaborative opportunities
- High promotion and retention rates compared to their industry as a whole
- EVP elements, such as our optional 9/80 work schedule with every other Friday off
- A culture for mentorship with a planned structure for personal growth built-in
“We receive consistent feedback from candidates that our outreach message and/or job description is why they responded. Many candidates have taken the time to reach out to compliment our messaging, saying it's the best they've ever seen.”
- Brian Abraham, Director of Talent Acquisition, ClearCompany
We also found that candidates can miss application updates in their email inbox, which, on top of the scheduling back-and-forth, was definitely causing some loss of candidates. We made one small tweak to the email we send applicants to schedule their screening: adding “Your Application” and the job title to the subject line. That, in addition to including the interview scheduling link in that email, increased our response rate by 10 percent.
Q: What are some other successes we’ve seen as a result of improving talent acquisition processes?
Brian A: We have made major strides toward increasing diversity at ClearCompany, and it’s come naturally with the addition of the candidate sourcer role. The sourcer is able to proactively search a variety of channels and create a diverse talent community at the top of the funnel to counter the traditional applicant pool dominated by white males in tech, for example. We've increased racial and ethnic diversity at ClearCompany by 17% in the last two years alone, for a total of 30% in the company.
We smashed our hiring goals as a direct result of updating recruiting strategies:
- 90% offer-to-accept rate
- Doubled the number of recruiter screens
- Increased employee referrals by 22%
- Hired as many people in three months as we did in the eight months prior
- Tripled the number of candidates in our pipeline
Q: Are there any upcoming ClearCompany product releases you’re excited to use?
Brian A: Texting templates! We already use templates, but right now it’s a lot of copy and pasting or typing up the same message. We’ll also be able to include interview scheduling links in our text messages, which is a big deal. It will be huge to have access to templates and scheduling links inside the already incredible texting feature and in addition to our other templates for surveys, performance reviews, and emails.
Q: What are the biggest takeaways from your experience at ClearCompany for other recruiting professionals?
Brian A: The biggest takeaways for recruiters are:
- Hire or designate a dedicated candidate sourcer (see Part 1!).
- Refine your recruitment messaging. Coupled with sourcing, this is where the battle for talent is won.
- Run a tight, efficient, and consistent process from the first contact to offer and onboarding.
- Be careful not to add too many steps, too many interviewers, or lengthy interview sessions. Listen to candidates and experiment until you have a process that gets you A Players as efficiently as possible.
- Realize that diversity is not a separate initiative from recruiting. Proactively source with intent for a diverse and talented candidate community at the top of the funnel, and your employee community will reflect the same.
- Use modern recruitment technology like Interview Scorecards and candidate texting tools on a platform that integrates a proven, competency-based methodology for hiring top talent.
Build Your Own Candidate Experience
It’s clear from Brian’s success at ClearCompany that your talent acquisition team doesn’t need to be huge to make a big impact. With the right tools and techniques — and a willingness to test them out — you can find, hire, and keep top talent at your organization.
Learn more tools, tips, and strategies for building the best possible hiring process — download our Guide to Placing Your Candidate Experience Front and Center.