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5 ways recruiters and job seekers can have a better hiring experience
We interviewed our People leaders, Sara Bent, Angela Buccitti, and Carol Veiga for a behind-the-scenes look at what makes our hiring experience unique for both recruiters and candidates.
Last updated18 Aug 2022
Reading time6 min
In five years, our team has grown from 18 people across 6 countries to 260+ across 43 countries.
Growing our teams at such a pace, while ensuring we’re hiring folks that share our company values, is not an easy task. It takes dedication to build and run the right hiring process.
Since day one at Hotjar, we have created a five-step-hiring process that focuses on transparency and constant improvements. This allowed us to bring teammates from all over the world while being 100% distributed.
Whether you’re a Talent Acquisition Partner looking to grow your team or you’re someone looking to join our team, these 5 ideas will enhance both sides of the experience.
1. Every hire is an add, not a fit
For a long time, the prevailing wisdom was to hire people not just based on their skills but on an elusive concept called culture fit. On the surface, it makes sense. You want to hire someone who believes in the core values of your company and is going to get along with the team.
However, in practice, concentrating on culture fit can introduce bias into the hiring process by looking for those who are similar to you.
We focus instead on culture-add. This means looking for people who bring diversity to our team, such as new ways of thinking, diverse backgrounds, and living our core values in different ways. We believe this is what makes teams great.
Key takeaway: hiring for culture add instead of culture fit will bring more diversity to teams and enhance a company’s culture.
2. Focus on strengths
Part of our Talent Acquisition strategy is to hire based on strengths. Rather than expecting candidates to fulfill a long list of requirements, we focus on one to two key strengths that are essential. This is important because in most roles out there we need to cover multiple areas of responsibilities, and it’s natural that our strengths will vary.
Focusing on one to two essential skills allows enough room for people to grow into the role, and it opens the door for more candidates to apply.
With fast-paced companies, you want your teams to be able to grow with you while performing the most essential responsibilities of the role. You can achieve that by deciding which skills are ‘must-have’ and which are ‘nice to have.’
Key takeaway: before you start crafting the job description, keep the following in mind:
What skills will make someone successful in the role?
Which skills do we need strength in, and which can a team member grow in over time?
How do we expect this role to grow and change over time?
3. It’s all in the job description
Every open role starts with the right job description. This sounds obvious, right? But this is exactly where teams often make mistakes.
If you’ve ever seen job descriptions with ridiculously long lists of responsibilities, very vague sketches, or the description of a ‘rockstar,’ then you know how frustrating this can be.
Everything from the language you use to the length of the text can impact who takes the leap from reading your job description to applying for your role.
At Hotjar, every job description has to be short and sweet. Here’s an example of what’s included:
About us: a short, one-paragraph description of who we are, our core values, and what we do
Remote requirements: while our teams are 100% remote, certain positions require team members to be in specific time zones
Reporting to: including information about where in the company this role exists, including the team
Compensation range: we’re transparent about every position we post, using the top 25% of salaries in London as our base for compensation
Activities: no more than four to six examples of the role’s main responsibilities
Requirements: we limit these to no more than five bullet points and no‘nice to haves’
And throughout it all, inclusive language. There are several pieces of software available to analyze your job description and offer tips on how you can be more appealing and inclusive to candidates coming from underrepresented groups. We can recommend datapeople.io.
After you have a job description you’re happy with, align this with the hiring team. Is everyone clear on what you’re looking for? Is the hiring team aligned on how to assess those core skills? This will ensure a smooth interview process for everyone.
4. A standard, transparent process across all departments
Once candidates start applying, we walk them through a structured, transparent hiring process. We follow the same structured process for all candidates and positions.
The goal of this is to have an unbiased and fair approach throughout the hiring process. We don’t pick and choose what the next stage will be depending on the candidate, and we list the complete process on our website so every candidate knows what to expect.
The process looks like this:
Review: all candidates fill out a short application form—cover letters are optional, or they may include more role-specific information
Video or intro call: an asynchronous video recording or video call with a recruiting team member, asking additional questions
Interview: next, an interview with members of the hiring team
Task: the final stage is a paid task—more on that below
5. Emphasize job skills, not interview skills
We structure the process over five steps so we can lean into the actual competencies and strengths that a role requires, rather than favoring someone who’s really good at interviewing. Not that that’s a bad thing! But by making interviews just one of several components, we can review candidates more holistically based on what they can do, not only on what we can learn from a chat with them.
To ensure fairness, each role has a set of questions that are agreed upon upfront and that all candidates are asked. The questions are decided based on the role, seniority level, and the stage of the process. The other unique and essential part of our process is the paid task.
It’s the best way to see our candidates’ skills in action and to learn more about how they work. The task takes about three days of work, and the candidates have two full weeks to complete it.
Tasks are designed so that the work can be done in small chunks. We understand that we’re asking people to fit this in on top of their normal lives, and usually current jobs. It’s also why we pay candidates for this—we respect the time and effort that candidates dedicated to this work.
During this time, we invite candidates to our Slack, so they have full access to our teams and can collaborate and ask questions of the hiring team. And, of course, see the social side of Hotjar in our Kitchen Slack Channel.
Key takeaway: hiring is a two-way street;candidates and hiring teams are evaluating each other mutually.
As you think through your open positions, ask yourself:
Why would someone want to work on this team at your company?
What’s going to make them excited to come to work every day?
How can we demonstrate this to them throughout our hiring process?
At Hotjar, we believe that our culture is built from the moment we start a hiring process. While we hope to understand how a person adds to our culture, we aim to offer candidates an equal opportunity to meet our teams and our culture.
Want to be part of the Hotjar team? 🔥
We believe people from different backgrounds, with different identities and experiences, make our product and company better. We would love for you to check out our current roles and keep following our jobs—we’re growing fast!
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