Cracking the Code to B2B Recruiting

Finding the right candidates in B2B not only means employing the standard hiring strategies, but also finding folks who can bring your products and services to life, all in a talent pool that’s smaller than ever. But, hey, recruiting in B2B is notoriously challenging.

That’s why it’s more crucial than ever to not just attract anyone but the right person for every role.

Check out for Cracking the Code to B2B Recruiting, as we explore how a variety of B2B recruiters are maintaining strong talent pipelines, and keeping up with high-demands. Diving into this topic with us will be, Sierra Kaslow, Head of Business Recruiting at Miro, and Neetu Parab, Director Talent Acquisition, ex-Uber, Mercedes-Benz.

In this first clip, Sierra discusses the steps she takes to scale her team while maintaining strong cultural values at Miro. She dives into the steps she takes to ensure the team as a whole aligns with company values and also how as a manager she is able to maintain the culture of her team.

Next, Neetu discusses the challenges for recruiters trying to attract candidates who have traditionally worked in the B2C space, into a B2B business.

Finally, Sierra dives into how she aligns with internal teams to get them the support they need to scale during periods of hyper-growth.

Watch the Full Conversation:

Meet the Panelists:

Neetu Parab, over two decades of tenure in Talent Acquisition, Neetu has held various leadership roles focused on building technology teams for companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Uber, Electronic Arts, and Mercedes Benz R&D. At Uber, she led sourcing and recruiting teams to grow Engineering orgs including Infrastructure, Marketplace, Driver, Rider, etc. during their hyper growth period prior to going public. In her current role, she leads a global team at a high growth B2B startup called 6sense, where she has built a technical recruiting team, defined hiring processes and best practices ground up to scale hiring for the engineering, product, and design. With the breadth of experience working for various companies across industries, Neetu is passionate about providing data centric talent acquisition solutions.

Sierra Kaslow started her recruiting career at Box where she lead the G&A Recruiting team. After 5 years, she moved to Miro where she owns Global Business Recruiting and manages a team of 60 recruiters, sourcers, coordinators and program managers globally. She’s seen scale from 200 to 2000 and loves the challenge of managing managers through hyper-growth.

Our Moderator:

Anish Shah is the CEO & Founder of executive search agency Ruckus. Anish has worked in-house in Growth roles at Snapfish and Getable. He started Bring Ruckus as a Growth consultancy 11 years ago working with 40+ clients, then re-focused his firm on executive recruiting for Growth leaders.

Read the Transcript:

Kayci Baldwin (00:02):
Okay, well, let’s get started. People will continue to join us, but I want to get started with introductions. Thank you all so much for being with us today, as we dive into Cracking the Code to B2B Recruiting. As a reminder, this webinar is being recorded. We will send a email out with the playback of our conversation to everyone who is here now and everyone who registered. So keep an eye out for that, and feel free to submit any additional questions that you have in the Q and A, if we have extra time or if it calls out to the panelists, they will find time to answer it. And we definitely want to keep everyone engaged. So feel free to submit any questions that come up. Now, I will pass the mic now to our founder and CEO Anish.

Anish Shah (00:50):
Cool. We’ll do some quick introductions here. So, really quickly, my background was helping to run marketing and growth for different companies. And then, got into recruiting and ended up building an executive recruiting firm. Now we’re a team of, I believe, 16 and recruiting for a wide variety of executive roles with a bit of a specialization in, in marketing and, and revenue generating roles.

Sierra Kaslow (01:16):
Awesome. I can introduce myself next. So, as it says here on the slide, but I, I started my career at Box, here in the bay area. So I started a sourcer moved to recruiter and then into, into management. After, about five years there, I moved over to Miro, which is where I’m at today. I’ve been here for about two and a half years. And I, I lead a team globally of about 90-100. This is even updated since I wrote this slide. So it’s a little bit about me.

Neetu Parab (01:48):
I’ll go ahead and introduce myself. I am currently leading a recruiting tech recruiting organization for, at a global level between India, Singapore, for 6Sense. Prior to this, I was at Uber, also leading a recruiting team where I saw the scale from different divisions, but we were like at a hyper growth pre IPO. We took it to IPO over 5,000 employees, in engineering. Most of my recruiting experience has been in tech recruiting and I love doing that.

Anish Shah (02:30):
Cool. So as, as folks RSVPed for this event, many of you put in questions that you wanted to be able to ask the experts here. and so we pulled out the most interesting questions, put on this deck and, you know, we’ll go through a few of them right here, so you can get some of some, some more insight. so the first one, you know, what’s the number one skill of recruiting teams kind of need to develop, you know, and I, and I could probably bucket this into, into two areas, like, number one, if someone is joining your team and you’re bringing them on as, as sort of a brand new recruiter and they haven’t actually done recruiting before, you know, what are some of the things that you sort of teach them at the very beginning of their, of their tenure? And then probably number two would be like, okay, as they’ve gotten more senior, you know, how do you sort of level them up to be able to, to continue to grow in their career? But I’d be curious, kind of like, as you bring someone on board who doesn’t have so much recruiting experience, either they’re, they’re, they’ve done stuff in other industries or, or, or not, you know, what do you look to, to sort of help grow them and to becoming a good recruiter on your team?

Neetu Parab (03:38):
I can go first. Sure. So, so I, when I’m hiring recruiters that are early in their careers, I’m really looking for the aptitude, right? Like they’ve not experienced what recruiting is or the problem areas, but if they have the right aptitude and you throw just situations at them, they can navigate through that. So that’s really important to me, that ownership and ability to do that, communication skills, right? Like a go getter, ownership, that takes, definitely a very important role when finding somebody who has not done recruiting in the past, as the, as the recruiter progresses in their career, then that’s when influencing stakeholders ability to, really take on understanding what good looks like when, when they see a resume or how, how do they look at a resume? How they, how do they communicate with the candidates, right? Like all of those start shaping up more as they become more experienced in the industry. And yeah, candidate experience has been such an important thing through and through. Do they have the empathy because we talk about empathy, in the leadership like empathetic leadership, but being, even having that empathetic recruiting approach, because job search is so critical and such in life event, high, stressful for a candidate, like ability to connect with them. That’s a really valuable skill that somebody can bring to the team.

Sierra Kaslow (05:17):
Yeah. I, I totally agree with those points. I think at the very beginning, if, if somebody’s not familiar with recruiting, the ownership mentality for, for me is, is definitely the number one thing that, that I look for is somebody who can come in and sort of, take over and not wait to be told exactly what they need to do, but really have that proactivity and ownership mindset. I would say this, the number one skill beyond, you know, if they’re really getting into recruiting is sourcing, unless you work for a really massive company where you have a dedicated source or you’re gonna need to build pipeline, in addition to what’s coming through inbound. So becoming a really strong sourcer first is the foundation, and then developing, you know, the further skills. So, the only one that I would add that I think becomes increasingly more important, the more senior you get is comfortability with data and being able to influence with data.

Sierra Kaslow (06:06):
I think what makes you a really strong recruiter, you know, from an execution, being able to, to have a great candidate experience doesn’t necessarily have a ton of crossover, with being able to influence with data. So that’s typically like a gap or a skill set that you’ll see as somebody gets a bit more senior that they need to hone in and, and work on. That would be one that I feel like I’ve been coaching a lot, of my, a lot of my leaders and senior recruiters on as they progress in their careers as well.

Anish Shah (06:33):
Yep. Thanks. Thanks for that. And when you’re, when you’re thinking about leading with data, like, what are the kind of metrics that you want someone to really pay attention to and, and, and consistently influence, is it more sort of size the pipeline? Is it sort of response rates, or is it something a little bit, more like NPS to, to understand? Okay. Did everyone walking through our process kind of feel like they, they got a good shake and had a good experience?

Sierra Kaslow (07:00):
It’s the golden question, I think, right. Of what are the specific metrics that you, you look at? I think it’s always great to have a number of different metrics. And what I would say is what are you trying to solve for? Or what problem are you trying to, you know, identify or what is the objective? So obviously core execution. How many people are you actually bring on board and hiring? What is your offer acceptance rate? I think passthrough rates when you’re, you’re trying to figure out why aren’t we hiring someone? Where are we dropping folks off? I typically wouldn’t look at, you know, acceptance rate of in emails or a number of screens, unless you feel like you have a top of funnel issue, and then you need to deep dive into those areas. One thing I think is not talked about as much, but is calls-per-hire.

Sierra Kaslow (07:41):
So how calibrated is your recruiter to actually then getting to an offer? So are they taking 50 calls to get to one higher, then there’s probably something wrong somewhere in the funnel. So it’s a really quick metric to, to be able to then diagnose, is there a problem here or not? If you’ve got like 10 to 15, then you probably have a really well calibrated recruiter that’s focusing on like evergreen roles or something like that. So, those, I would say are at least the, the main ones, but we also do track candidate NPS and hiring manager NPS. But we use survey tools to help do that. So a little bit less easy to collect unless you’ve got the right system in place to collect it.

Anish Shah (08:17):
Makes sense. And people actually answer those NPSs as well. Which can always be, it’d be tough to get a candidate to take an NPS survey. That’s really helpful.

Neetu Parab (08:27):
One thing that I will add to that is, like, those are really great, matrixes. The one other thing is also like on the can, especially in a startup environment, right? Like, you get a head down as leaders, we as expected to head, but a lot of times we see an interviewer capacity bandwidth issues, right? So looking at like really working your funnel backwards and seeing where that interviewer capacity is missing so that you can actually get calibrated and see where the gaps are.

Anish Shah (09:00):
And, and what do you mean by your capacity? Just how many calls that there are and meetings and chats with candidates are capable of taking, or what does that, what does that sort of mean?

Neetu Parab (09:09):
Yeah. So when you think of, what it takes for the top of the funnel to all the way to the accept or hire, there are different dropoffs right. That’s, that’s your, recruiting funnel. And at that point to you can work it backwards and look at, okay, this is the, as many hires they need to make, work it backwards and see how many on sites that are needed. And then that is your, those many onsite means those many interviewer hours. And then work. If you work that into your interview hours, then you have a, a better understanding of how many interviewer hours you need to go back and have that communication with your clients or your stakeholders so that, they are aligned and everybody is working towards getting those hires. It’s not just the recruiting team.

Sierra Kaslow (09:59):
Yeah. Okay. I would plus one to that, I think, especially in hyper-growth, because they’ll say, ‘Hey, we need to double the team,’ you can say, ‘okay, great. We have the capacity on recruiting, but do you, as a hiring manager actually have the capacity to take that many calls?’ So, definitely plus one to, to figuring out what the interviewing team’s capacity is as well.

Anish Shah (10:18):
Yeah. That’s funny. So when you, when you run into that, like, okay, ‘Hey actually, you know, I’ve built out my forecast for the year as a hiring manager. I’m looking to bring in like, you know, 15 or so people in, you know, might be the VP of sales. I wanna bring in about 15 sales people. And then you ask that question, well, do you have capacity to interview that many people and you both collectively look on their calendar and say, you realize you have like two hours a week at most free every week. Like how do you sort of move forward from that conversation? Like you realize we can’t do 15 hires when you only have like two hours a week available, you know, is it basically, can you free up more time? Can you delegate that to someone else? Can you actually, do you, should you be doing 15 people and maybe we make this a, a longer term process to get 15 people in the door given, given the time crunch. How, how have you like, have there been anecdotes of like how you you’ve sort of resolved that, that kind of issue, and I love that you bring that out because something we run into quite a bit, because our direct contact is frequently the CEO of the company and you know, that’s, it’s pretty hard to get on the CEO’s calendar. And so yeah, it’s something we, we kind of run into quite quickly.

Neetu Parab (11:34):
Yeah. Definitely it opens to different conversation and it opens it with data right. To influence and like I have run into challenges where, we had to go back and do a whole new set of interviewer trainings where the team realized like, okay, we need more interviewers to make this happen. We don’t want to shift the head count. We want to keep that impact. Then at that point we came up with a solution, let’s onboard, more interviewers, created a shadow program to get that going. We got in an external consulting, expert to come in and do more interviewer trainings. So yeah, there are different solutions that one can plug in, as long as we can, look through the data.

Sierra Kaslow (12:22):
Yeah. Okay. I would say, I think you hit all of the points on the head right. Of like you’ve got options here. Is it that you wanna put dedicated time on your calendar to, to make room for these, is it that you wanna delegate and have another manager step in? So we wanna like re-look at, you know, you know, training other individuals or maybe balancing out these hires? So, it’s really a conversation depending on what the urgency is, what the business need is, and who’s really the expert to, to have those. So you, you sort of already named a lot of the options, that you would explore in that situation.

Anish Shah (12:52):
Okay, cool. And have you found that to be a, a good conversation with hiring managers? Or have they been like, wait, wait, hold on, I don’t know how we’re gonna get through this cause I have to take my, like, you know, 35 hours a week of meetings.

Sierra Kaslow (13:06):
Yeah. They they’ve been board. We saw this mostly on the sales side. So we, we built sort of like a funnel of, okay. You know, if we wanna actually make these, this amount of hires, this is how many hiring editor screens you need to take a week. And there was a little lightbulb of like interesting. Okay. So probably need to look at like, how do we get a little bit more dialed in at the very top of the funnel so that we’re only passing forward people to you that are really spot on to what you’re looking for. But also bringing in another hiring manager to, to help break up those screens. So that’s what we ended up doing is really getting very, very clear on assessment criteria and what we’re looking for. And then adding a little bit more support so that something’s not becoming basically a part-time recruiter while we hire.

Anish Shah (13:47):
Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for that. I guess we’ll jump into the next question here. This is a great one, you know, how do you scale teams while maintaining strong cultural values? Obviously both of you are in organizations that are, you know, very much in hyper hyper-growth mode and you have targets that you need to hit and probably feel a lot of pressure from hitting those targets. But you know, you also wanna maintain some level of cultural values and sometimes, you know, quantity of hires does not always hit hit that it, it can feel that it works in opposition to, to maintaining strong cultural values. So, how do you approach that situation? What do you do?

Sierra Kaslow (14:27):
I can start with this one. This question I think is like two, two parts and that, how do you as a, you know, recruiting leader ensure that everybody you’re hiring aligns with your values and then also as like a manager myself and scaling my own team, how do I maintain the culture once I’ve already hired people? So, the, the first part of that I think, I guess in both is really just being intentional. Have a really clear understanding of what your values are first of all. And second of all, what do those actually look like from a behavior standpoint so that you can assess them in the interview process? So, what we’ve done at Miro is we actually added a cultural interview. So we have somebody who’s not on that team that comes in and sort of assesses. We have key behaviors associated with our core values, and then questions that are sort of predetermined and associated.

Sierra Kaslow (15:13):
So you wanna stay away from like, do I wanna grab a beer with this person or go on a road trip, but more so, you know, can they really, exhibit the behaviors that we’re looking for from our, our values. So, I think being very intentional and actually weaving it into your interview process is the best way to do it at scale. When you’re smaller, it’s obviously a bit easier. But I would say at scale adding it in, and then for my team, we’ve basically gone, from three people to many, many more over the globe. And so being super intentional around how do we, you know, unite 50 people or 90 people, to all feel like they’re on a shared team? And I think it’s just remembering that people are human and having interactions that aren’t all work based. So not starting a meeting, jumping into the topics, but having a little bit of time to actually get to know one another, has allowed us to, to really stay as, as close as you can be, I suppose, across many time zones, but, maintain that same culture as we’ve scaled.

Anish Shah (16:10):
I love that. And also I remember I, I would say a good 10 to 15 years ago, the beer test was so common amongst hiring managers in terms of like, you know, they’re smart, but do I want to grab a beer with them? Meh, it’s like, well, that’s not why you’re hiring someone. So I’m glad that they eventually became backlash versus the beer test, for multiple reasons.

Neetu Parab (16:36):
Yeah. You actually said it really well. Like it’s a multiple prong approach. And it does start with just being consciously aware of what that means. What are those core values? What those behaviors look like making it concrete, because example honesty might mean different to different people. One might think of it as a candidate conversation. The other might look at it as just sincere interactions and genuine, right? So, and then managers and the organization and the leader, they play such a critical role because they, reinforce those target behaviors at that point then. Employees do look at their managers for directions and approvals. So just simply recognizing, because sometimes we get in the hyper, we get into this go-go-go, and we forget to actually recognize and reward those behaviors. So that, that also takes critical role. And then during your hiring and evaluation process, being extremely conscious of, those behaviors are the candidates, really demonstrating those behaviors through the behavioral rounds and, behavioral interviews. Have, do they, are they people that you would like to work with without…By removing the unconscious bias

Anish Shah (17:55):
Makes a lot of sense and yeah, I mean, there, there, there is a line between, do you want work with per this person and, oh, are they a fun person that you want to go out drinking with? There’s, there’s definitely, there can be a very diff differentiating line there, so it’s good to it’s. Yeah. I think, I think vering toward that, would you have a successful work relationship with someone can, is something that you, you can, you can dive into, with cultural fit. But yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for both of those, jump into the next one.

Anish Shah (18:29):
Is this something that you run into, regularly in terms of, you know, as you’re both of scaling, you know, very large and very fast growing B2B organizations, you know, are you considering people with more B2C experience for some of your roles? And if so, how do you sort of like, think about that in terms of transferable skills? And for example, I I’ll say for the B2B clients that we work with, they’re very, very, specific about wanting people who come from B2B, more so than B2C and having that background, which, you know, can be a little bit dismissive of folks who come from B2C and can learn things that things that could make sense. So, we’d love to hear your experiences, on that as well.

Neetu Parab (19:15):
I can go first. So like in my experience, I have, ultimately the fundamentals remain the same, whether B2B or C, right? When we are hiring engineers, we are still looking for the same problem solving skills. We are looking for the, the key programming skills, the system design skills, so ability to learn and adapt to the environment, definitely becomes very critical when you’re hiring somebody coming from B2C to B2B, it is critical either ways, but then it definitely takes even more, importance. But like being language agnostic is another thing that is super important when hiring engineering, in a hyper-growth environment. So transferable skills, like you just mentioned, and, problem-solving, because that is, the problem statement that a B2B solves for like from engineering perspective, it’s not very different, but the scenarios in a B2B can be different for the customers because each customer might have a different use case, right. And multiple use cases that needs a lot of customization from the engineering point of view, to be able to, take the product forward with, with each customer. So, now on the product front, like product hiring, like the product managers, or UX now there, there are some areas where the B2B does play a critical role because, the roadmaps could look different. The UI can look quite different. but core fundamentals still remain the same.

Anish Shah (20:53):
Okay. Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. So sounds like you are, open-minded sort of in, within your organization, as long as they’re really showing some level of aptitude and have the core fundamentals, even if the product or the customer journey might be a little bit different with the products.

Neetu Parab (21:08):
Yeah. Especially, I think if, if a company wants to scale at they are at a hyper-growth, you then it becomes really important to open that up a little when a company is small. So it really depends on where the company is, like they might need in the beginning, some really those key experts, but then as they grow and as they scale, we start like losing up

Anish Shah (21:31):
Makes a lot of sense.

Sierra Kaslow (21:34):
Yeah. I don’t have a whole lot to add there. I would, I would agree. I think, it’s, the two places that I have the most familiarity with actually have both B2C and B2B, so there hasn’t been sort of a huge differentiation. I think what we really focus on is like, what are the, what is really the competency that you’re solving for, right? You may say, I definitely want B2B. And I think the follow up question is like, what, what experience or behavior from that are you really looking for? Right. Is it building like the sales motion? Well, that might matter a little bit more. But if it’s just, ‘Hey, you know, I want someone who’s built a team,’ or, or really gets specific about what is the competency that you’re, you’re looking for. And that’ll depend on really, how important is that background or experience for the candidate?

Neetu Parab (22:17):

Anish Shah (22:17):
Makes a lot of sense.

Neetu Parab (22:19):
Anish, I would actually flip that, from the candidate point of view, right. Actually, it, from a candidate point of view, actually it does require a little bit more selling of a B2B product to get them in, to attract them to what, we are trying to, when we are trying to hire them, because a B2C you can, it’s much easier for candidates to get in touch with it. It’s either sometimes a product they’re already using or, it is a product they have heard about, or like, you know, it is if impact is important to them, they, and sharing that with friends and family is important. They can actually show those things like this is what I’ve built. This is what I’ve been working on versus, on a B2B that’s harder to do. So on the flip side, it’s much more harder to sell, or to attract a candidate into a company and explain them what our product problem statement is solving.

Anish Shah (23:19):
Makes a lot of sense. So, yeah, it’s interesting that you want some of these B2C candidates to get excited, because they, they could be really valuable and especially with something like backend engineering or anything like that, the skills are very transferable. So how do you get them excited? I, I feel like I do see a shift from, you know, a while ago, people not wanting to take B2B roles because they thought the, the products were so boring and very enterprise-y and slow moving. And, you know, it was considered to be “corporate.” And now people are so much more excited about the B2B products. You know, the products that both of you are, are, are kind of recruiting for, you know, are, are ones that are kind of fun and, and fun to use, and we’re all go to work and we use, we use software and we’re all kind of like you needing to do things that, that make us feel a little bit more creative at work, make us have much more productive days.

Anish Shah (24:11):
And so, yeah, the problem previously of not having actually experienced B2B products and therefore not getting people excited, hopefully it’s, it’s shrinking. And, you know, from what I can say, the business models for B2B are a lot more kind of predictable in a straighter line where B2C tends to be all over the place. So hopefully, I don’t know, have you, have you sort of seen a shift of B2C people wanting to switch over to B2B a little bit more over the last few years? You know, some of the companies like, like the Boxes and the 6senses and then the Miros are like, no, these are stable businesses with real customers, and like real subscription revenue and, and all of that, that, that is a little bit more stable than the kinda like one off purchases of, you know, maybe call like mattresses or, or anything like that.

Sierra Kaslow (24:55):
Yeah. I think it’s also coincides a little bit with sort of the rise, and awareness of like stock options as well. And, and the equity potential is that, you know, the business that typically have higher in revenue, you know, you’re getting a lot more equity savvy candidates than that were here, you know, eight years ago or whatever it was. So that’s definitely playing a role. And once you’re in a tech company, the tech stack is, is so expansive. So you’ve heard of so many other products, right? You’ve heard of like the Trello’s the asanas, the X, Y, Z, because you’re using them all at your current tech company. So I think, you know, sort of the proliferation of internal tech stacks have also helps candidates with the recognizing brands and, and being a lot more open to tools they’re familiar with.

Anish Shah (25:38):
Makes a lot of sense, who doesn’t love slack and zoom all day, every day, you know. It’s our lives. So that makes a lot of sense. And that’s cool that I’m glad that you flip that, that, you know, sometimes you have to come into so mode because that’s oftentimes what a recruiter needs to do. It’s getting the best people excited and showing them why they should work at one of your organizations. so thanks for, thanks for bringing that up. Cool. Let’s jump the next one, Ally.

This is a tough one. How, how I’d love to learn more for both of you. Like, how do you approach identifying diverse candidates? How do you approach, you know, pushing the agenda internally, of maintaining a pipeline that’s diverse and, an employee base that’s diverse, which can be difficult because obviously a lot of companies want to keep their employee bases diverse and the pool of candidates, can be, can thin, can get thin. So, would love to know somehow how sort of, both of you have thought about this and approached it and anecdotes of things that, you know, maybe either worked or, maybe did not, you know, do as well as you were hoping.

Sierra Kaslow (26:51):
Yeah. I think I wish that there was a magic bullet answer to, to some of these I’m sure. Neetu, maybe you have something super insightful that’s worked for you, but, I think honestly, just establishing, like, what are you defining also as diversity for each team and for each role? So for example, in talent acquisition, it’s a primarily, you know, female industry. And so when you’re really looking at each team individually, it actually might look differently than if you’re looking at diversity within, you know, engineering versus product versus marketing, et cetera. So being, you know, super thoughtful about how are you actually defining what diversity looks like on an individual level, and clear, clear goals. I think for, for us, it’s really around top of funnel. So being super clear about how do we actually get more diverse candidates into the top of funnel and then focusing on competencies, right.

Sierra Kaslow (27:37):
Of how do we actually assess for the skill that we’re looking for, not the backgrounds of where people came from. And we need to get more diverse candidates into the top of funnel. So partnerships or referrals or leaning on our ERGs. These are pretty basic things. So Neetu, maybe you have other suggestions, but I think for us just having the open conversation with hiring managers at the start of a search of what would it look like if this candidate was diverse, right? Is it that they’re coming from a different type of company? Is it that you need, you know, different gender, you know, sort of disparity or what, what is it in for this particular team, versus trying to what we call, boil the ocean, right. Of tackling the entire company at one time, we do team-by-team.

Neetu Parab (28:18):

Anish Shah (28:19):
That makes sense.

Neetu Parab (28:20):
You said it really well. The only thing that I will add to that is really start in house, right? Like see where, what your current, where your current diversity employees are and see how they can help and then move into the ERG groups. there are some sourcing, diversity tools, right, in the market actually that have also been they’re they’re new, I’m just starting to explore some of them having conversations with them. And, Freedom is one of them, like, you know, there’s some, some tools and events, Hackerx, we just did like a HackerX diversity event that was very successful. At one of my previous companies, we have, created specifically RO rule problem, statements whereby we, really focus on the top of the funnel once we understand where the diversity gaps are on specific teams. But yeah, and that, again, it’s a two-prong approach. It’s, you can create the pipeline, you can take them through, but then really interviewing them by removing the unconscious bias, having a very concrete, score carding method, that measures, measuring matrix, like all of that plays a critical role to be able to hire that pipeline there.

Anish Shah (29:42):
I love that. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, it’s, it’s a very difficult question. And I’ve had conversations with people who run, you know, the HR and talent functions at fairly large organizations who have invested quite a bit into it. For example, I had this, this exact chat with someone who, who runs the organization for a Fortune 50 credit card company. And, you know, her answer was like, nobody’s figured this out. Nobody knows how to really make this work. Everyone has the intention from a very positive standpoint of wanting to make a make, make their organizations more diverse. And, you know, there’s no, there’s no exact silver bullet. So it’s, it’s fascinating that everyone’s, everyone has the intention, which is important. That’s the kinda like it’s kind of step one to actually want to see, you know, more diverse organizations, but then what, how do you actually make it a reality?

Anish Shah (30:35):
I, I definitely say, so we, we worked on an initiative to try to get more and more black and Latin folks into startups. This was maybe about a year and a half ago. And so we reached out to different communities that we had access to and, you know, got a, roughly a thousand or so people to sign up for this list. And then we utilized our connections to share the list around to founders, hiring managers, et cetera. So we actually, the list is still there. If Kayci or Ally can, can drum up the list, can share it in the chat here. And because there’s a lot of talented people on that list. And fortunately a lot of people were interested and checked out the list and, and you know, we’re, we’re actively interested in hiring folks. Unfortunately, the learning was that, the only people who were contacted on the list were the ones who already worked at sexy companies, and already had really interesting backgrounds or, you know, like people whose resumes were already pretty solid.

Anish Shah (31:31):
And so it was the same as we did some surveying. It was the same, you know, 10 to 20 people off of that list who, you know, were already working at your unicorn companies or had that on their resume. And unfortunately the rest of the folks who went to good schools had good educational backgrounds, you know, had good professional careers. It just wasn’t necessarily, within tech or within a popular company within tech, did not really get outreached. So, hopefully there’s, there’s hope for some companies to go out and say, well, you may not have worked at, you know, insert whatever popular company right now. You have not worked any any of these places, but we got, we’ve got some faith that you’ll figure it out and, you know, at a bigger company there’s resources to help people figure it out a little bit more. So hopefully there’s some hope that folks will, will move in that direction and allow people to their organizations who haven’t only already had, like what I call kind of like the pedigree, degree, aspects of already working at the hot companies. So we’ll see, I I’m slightly hopeful, but then also unfortunately the results from that exercise were not, were not where would like to have seen them.

Sierra Kaslow (32:41):
Yeah. We, we saw the same thing at, at Box in that, we actually invested a bit more in just junior talent, like underrepresented junior talent. So maybe folks who didn’t have internships or, you know, maybe didn’t have as much experience, but kind of went through. We had basically a rotational program where they came for their spring break, and we sort of taught them like a crash course of what is it like to work in tech business here are all of the functions, and then offered them, you know, jobs at the end. They sort of did a, like a crash course and then would be a mini internship if you will. And so starting also to say maybe giving people who never have had the opportunity to even prove themselves an opportunity to prove themselves as well. So it’s not going to solve the whole problem, but it is, you know, you have to take a multi-pronged approach as Neetu said, is like, it can’t just be all about, you know, recruiting and finding the people who’ve done the jobs or from those companies. but it has to be, how do you support them internally? How do you give them the right opportunities and support? And then even after that, right? How do you make sure they’re included once they are employees and there’s, you know, a whole journey, even post hire as well.

Anish Shah (33:48):
Yeah. And, and if there was a solution it’s kind of that, right, it can be tough to bring someone into senior level roles and sell the, the executive team, with folks who haven’t worked at companies and et cetera, like it just have a larger learning curve, but, there’s a lot of organization. There’s a lot of places in an organization for folks who, who have a little bit of a learning curve, but I don’t know. I personally think the learning curve is a good thing that helps people get motivated into their role and people who’ve sort of seen it and done it, may not feel as energized when they jump into a new role because you know, that that learning curve isn’t necessarily there anymore. So we’ll see hopefully, hopefully all of that continues to improve.

Neetu Parab (34:28):
And I would say also plugging in the talent marketing, right? Like the talent marketing and branding also plays an important role, especially when, companies in, in its hyper-growth mode, it’s a startup versus larger companies or companies that are more well branded or, have a more recognition in the marketplace for candidates to easily reach out to them versus we reaching out to them.

Anish Shah (34:52):
Yeah, that, that’s actually a really great point. I think that’s, I personally have very little experience in talent, talent, marketing, talent, talent branding, you know, what, what have you sort of worked on that that has helped with that? You know, is it, is it a function of just making the pages on your website that are career oriented as, as vivacious as possible and as honest and truthful and transparent, but exciting, or is it a kind of a function of no, going out to, to press going out to, you know, getting the awards of like best workplace, stuff like that, that, that does it, would love, would love any learnings on, on talent branding and talent marketing from there.

Neetu Parab (35:31):
All of, all of everything that you said, okay. And really starting with the employee value proposition, right. Like, yes, it is used across the board EVP, but, like, you know, and plugging in the diversity, the importance of diversity that our culture, or as a company, it, why it’s important to us and how like, what are we doing for an employee experience for not just, diversity and inclusion, but also the belonging, right? Like the B part of it, which is, which is a new piece.

Anish Shah (36:05):
That is a new piece. I’ve really only seen the B at the end of it for, you know, within the last couple years. So it’s good that we’re expanding and thinking, thinking a lot more, I don’t know, just, just diving a little bit deeper. Do you understand there’s more to it? Cool. Let’s jump up to the next question. So this is interesting. So how do you think through, you know, whether to keep certain roles in-house with your internal recruiting team versus, working with external partners, whether it’s contingency firms, RPO, or executive search firms?

Sierra Kaslow (36:44):
I can take a stab at this one. It’s definitely an art and a science is what is what I will maybe start with, but, sort of the general philosophy that, that at least I use, or I think about is when you’re hiring, you can solve for two of three things, quality, cost, or speed, very rarely that you can get all three of those. There’s, there’s some sort of trade off that you, you need to make. And so typically when you, need to solve for speed, but you really are, it’s, it’s some sort of niche skillset that you don’t have, or you don’t have the right resourcing. It’s great to go out into the market and say, who, who does this, right? Or who can we onboard very quickly that can jump in and, and help here. But if you have the luxury of time, and, you, you want to help to train somebody in house and maybe say, this is gonna be a stretch opportunity.

Sierra Kaslow (37:30):
Although we don’t currently have the expertise, right. The quality isn’t there immediately, you can sort of like, you know, stretch on the others. And then of course there’s cost, right? Where are you at in your trajectory, your growth trajectory, are you in the like efficiency scale up? Are you in the hyper-growth spend as much money as possible to grow as fast as possible? So, I think it depends where you are in your, your journey. For us though at, at, Miro and at Box, we’ve had very different philosophies. So I’ve, I’ve sort of seen it, in both ways. At Box it was very tight, very efficient of let’s do less with more with our internal team and really only use agencies when there’s like a hiring sprint or something like that. And then at Miro, we have said, we need to double every year for for forever.

Sierra Kaslow (38:13):
So what it seems, but, we’re in our third year of doubling. And so we have a lot of times where headcount is front loaded to the first half of the year. So that’s a better time to engage in agencies or RPOs versus we don’t know, or we don’t expect that this growth will actually last through the entire year. It’s just a sprint to build this particular team, not as great to invest in full-time, because you wanna be really mindful right, of not having too much capacity. So definitely, an art in terms of when to turn on and off. But I would say at least for, for us focusing on what are we really optimizing for? What do we have, what kind of quality or expertise do we have or not have? And then what is their, their budget to actually go spend, to, to go do that.

Anish Shah (38:55):
Makes a lot of sense. And, and I guess since you’re an organization, now that’s a little bit more open-minded toward our external partners for, for recruiting. Do you generally see people being more excited about utilizing external partners for maybe more of the volume roles where it’s like, okay, we need 15 of this particular function in a fairly short time period or is it more so, okay. Here’s a couple very, or maybe more than a couple like very specific senior roles and we want to go find an expert who just, you know, can, can speak to those very specific senior roles?

Sierra Kaslow (39:27):
Yeah. I think the, the latter is that it’s, it’s really about the niche expertise that we maybe don’t have in house. Right. Or the super senior searches that take a long, long time. So we have, like two C level searches open right now that are both with agencies. So, you know, it’s, it’s, it could be filled in house, but it’ll probably take a bit longer. Right. So we’re, we’re sort of solving for the quality and the speed, and you know, letting the cost go a little bit on that one.

Anish Shah (39:55):
Makes a lot of sense. Yeah.

Neetu Parab (39:59):
Everything that Sierra said, I don’t have much to add there. But yeah, it really depends on the size of the company, the growth projections, the capacity on the team where the best ROI can be achieved and then optimizing for that.

Anish Shah (40:15):
Okay, cool. and have there been situations where you’ve had that discussion internally, like, you know, should we go in-house, should we use use an external kind of partner and like what has kind of led you in one of those directions versus another?

Neetu Parab (40:30):
Yeah, definitely. So right now we are exploring our peer resources, at, one of the other, like outside of US locations. And because the number of high, the recruiting capacity would be just impossible to build at the speed, going back to the speed. So cost is where we are like, okay to flex and get an RPO, assigned then there are multiple C level roles that are open right now. And again, building out a leadership team internally for X number of roles. So we have to see, okay, is this something that is a recurring need or is it like just for this year. Right. And then look at, okay, how do we assign those to the agency? So that’s what we have done.

Anish Shah (41:14):
Interesting. Yeah. And I guess if it’s a couple disparity C-level roles, you, you may not need the, the like expertise internally, if you’re just sort of, we need one or two of these wonderful folks and then, you know, we don’t need the expertise. So maybe go externally. That makes a lot of sense, but you don’t want build a foundation for something that’s not repeatable, or not needed to be repeated. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for that. cool. Let’s jump by the next one.

Yeah. I think both of you discussed candidate, experience being really high on your list. Are there any anecdotes or sort of processes that you sort of put into, put into play that I’ve really grown candidate experience, maybe any rules like people have to hear back by X amount of days or, or anything else I’d, I’d love to learn that because it’s, it’s definitely something we struggle with as we’re, we’re trying to fulfill roles across lots of different clients at any given time and, you know, truthfully sometimes candidate experience and go by the wayside versus, you know, trying to get more and more chats going.

Anish Shah (42:14):
So, yeah. Would love to hear any advice on, on that and things you’ve learned that have kind of worked and in, in helping with that.

Neetu Parab (42:28):
Okay, so I can, so I, I look at it as a candidate management process, right? Like what does it take from point a, That is being the first recruiting being the first representation, pretty much for candidate, unless it’s coming through a referral on an agency source. And then what does it take from that first representation or first point of contact all the way to the finish line? And, there are multiple touch points and I, my rules of engagement and, clarity, even the decision trees as to where the ownership sits, what’s the SLAs need to be at every step that has played a very critical role for us to provide, just very low hanging fruits, but really high touch environment for a candidate and recruiting experience interactions, that has really, played a huge, part in making sure that the candidate has a great, experience with the company.

Neetu Parab (43:29):
And, through that process, I think one piece that was super critical was the speed because at every step when there are SLAs and there are clear ownership as to who is responsible and in, within what timelines, it makes recruiting’s job easy to go back to the candidate and inform them in a timely manner. Right? And the expectation from the recruiting team is, is like the clarity is that, that every, if we are committing something to the candidate, by this time, we will get back to you whether you have an answer or not, like it’s important to pick up the phone and talk to them and let them know like we are in the process. So just very, very simple, small things in the process, the candidate management process can play a huge role. Like the people like companies do put a lot of, programs around it to take it to the next level, but at the size of the company that, a startup is, or by, during this hyper-growth, even these small touch points can make a big difference.

Sierra Kaslow (44:32):
Yeah, we do something very similar in that. One of the phrases that we always use is no update is a great update. So basically calling someone to say, you don’t have an update is a great update. So rather than going dark and saying, you know, not responding until you have something concrete, we do something called Friday Floss. It’s a very silly name, but essentially on Fridays we make sure no candidates are stuck, in the process or in between stages. So we sort of floss the candidates every Friday, so that going into the weekend, every candidate has some sort of update from us one way or the other. And it’s actually just a calendar invite on the team’s calendar. There’s no actual event, it’s just like a friendly reminder. So we, we do the same as, as Neetu, no update is a great update.

Sierra Kaslow (45:18):
And I think also just really stressing in the onboarding process to recruiters of how important candidate experiences, it’s your employment brand, it’s the decision maker for candidates. It’s the first window they have into the company. And so it’s, it’s really important to, to be thoughtful about it. I will say that the bigger your team gets and the faster you’re hiring tends to be the first thing that, that sort of slips through the cracks. And so figuring out creative ways to build it into your process so that it’s not just an afterthought, but something that’s like deeply ingrained into the operations of the team. But it, it definitely takes something you need to constantly be reminding. And we’ve, we’ve just invested in a candidate experience tool. And so, really gathering clean data at like every step of the process of what are candidates feeling, what are the gaps that we can be doing better at? Are there certain hot pockets, you know, where, where maybe some recruiters are, are stronger than others that we can help to, to up-level, and upscale as well.

Anish Shah (46:13):
Thanks for that. Is the candidate experience or does that just sort of survey the candidates and see how they’re doing and feeling?

Sierra Kaslow (46:18):
Yeah. And it’s different steps of the process, different experiences that the candidate has had. So if they reject us, they get a different survey than if we reject them and, you know, different stages of the process have different questions. And so it allows us to get a little bit deeper on, you know, what are we really solving for at each step?

Anish Shah (46:35):
Yeah, it’s super interesting. I, I feel like with, with recruiting often, you’re, you’re putting all your eggs into the basket of the candidate that you’re most excited about, for, for a particular role and keeping them updated, and keeping on top of them. But if there’s maybe like a second, third or fourth place candidate, they sort of drop off. And so I, I really like that idea of Friday Floss, we might, we might steal that and it’s, it’s fast too. We just really have to email people and be like, “Sorry, I know it’s been four days since we last chatted, but we have nothing for you. We’ll keep on it.” Like that actually doesn’t take very long and it’s probably an area that everyone can improve upon.

Anish Shah (47:14):
Cool. Jump onto the next one. yeah, I mean, I think Sierra, maybe you joined Box at a little bit of an earlier stage when it maybe didn’t have such such name recognition. So, you know, we work with a lot of kind of earlier stage companies as well, like Series A, who are trying to get people out of, you know, the more interesting, safer companies. So, you know, where, where have both of you kind of seen some success in getting people to buy into, to things that are a little bit more risky?

Sierra Kaslow (47:49):
Yeah, I think the easiest answer, not the only answer, but the easiest is referrals like referrals, referrals, referrals. The earlier you are, I would say like 50% of your highers should be from referrals. There’s obviously some, you know, bias that comes with that, but at least early on, that’s a really great way. You already have sort of, you know, an extra data point on this person’s work. And so it’s a little bit less risky, but also, you know, leaning into your network. So, your investors networks, your own networks, joining networking events, whatever it might be, but really leaning on referrals, it should be the largest portion of your hires. And then the more senior you get it then becomes, you know, a smaller percentage, but is, is definitely a really easy way to, to sort of get the name out there where you’re not overcoming multiple hurdles of like, I’ve never heard of you. I don’t know, anyone who works there, like, how do I know this is, you know, a great place to work? So you’re able to check off some of those boxes just by going into folks network. So, there’s, I think other things that you could be doing, but I think that one is the most, important and certainly the easiest one.

Anish Shah (48:51):
I like that. That’s great.

Neetu Parab (48:54):
Yeah. I, I, I don’t have much to add there actually, Sierra touched upon reference and networking, which is definitely the first, thing to go after when it’s a pre-seed or a seed company.

Anish Shah (49:08):
Okay, cool. Yeah, a couple things that I’ve I’ve noticed can, can be differentiators is, with earlier stage, you know, you’re just making fewer hires at that point, right? So, number one, you can give the candidates, you’re excited about a lot more attention. And number two, you can unlock the CEO, to go and go after those people as well, and be part of the conversation and, you know, “woo” them in. Whereas, you know, when we’re working with like public companies or something like that, it’s pretty rare that we’ll be able to get the attention of the person who’s at the very top to come in, unless it’s like a C level higher, you know, they’re, so that part can be really more fun. And for a candidate it’s exciting to get to know that you have access to the CEO of the company.

Anish Shah (49:53):
So that’s worked really well. Another thing I think I’ve noticed with earlier stages, you, you can just break process, larger companies have a lot of process and, you know, those processes are there for a reason so that nobody gets a shortcut that other people don’t get, and to create fairness. But you know, when you’re, when you’re, when you’re pretty small, you can have an initial conversation with someone and say, you’re great. You’re literally everything we’re looking for. we’re just gonna end this interview process right here. And like, we’re going to unlock the CEO and hopefully they can come and close you after like conversation two or three. And the whole process can take seven days, at max and which is something, you know, at least from our experiences working with, with some of the larger organizations, they do move slowly and they do have a lot of processes and, you know, getting to even the right compensation takes a lot of back and forth with like finance committees, compensation committees, all of that. And so, yeah, it, it’s easier to break process or remove process altogether when you’re, when you’re excited about someone. But you gotta get people who are willing to take those risks.

Anish Shah (51:01):
That’s great. I think we have time for one more. Yeah, is, has remote hiring… I’d rephrase this a little bit. Has remote hiring been an, an obstacle or kind of a win, you know, overall? And, and do you see that kind of shifting over the next 6 to 12 months is comp some companies? I, I would say the companies we work with right now are a mix of, some of them really want people back in the office, you know, anywhere from three to five days a week, others have just remained remote. But yeah, I, I don’t know if that, that that’s been a conversation topic with people that you’ve been interviewing and where that’s sort of netted out.

Sierra Kaslow (51:48):
Yeah. I would I’ll take a stab. I would love your thoughts, Neetu. Cause it’s different. I think for, for every company, the first of which is like, there’s very few companies that are going back five days a week, but there’s actually not as many companies as you would think going fully remote. I think majority of companies are doing sort of like this hybrid model of a couple days, a couple days. But we, I think there’s like a LinkedIn study that where it’s like 15% of roles are remote, but 50% of applicants are looking for remote. So there’s sort of this like supply demand, discrepancy of candidates really want remote opportunities, but not as many businesses are actually offering fully remote. So there’s definitely been a little bit of friction in that when we are offering candidates offers and they’re going up against a remote opportunity, we definitely have more challenges.

Sierra Kaslow (52:34):
I think if you’re going hybrid versus hybrid. Okay, great. We’re on the same playing field, you know, let’s, let’s talk about the role and the opportunity, but, when we’re asking people to like relocate to one of our hubs or, you know, Hey, enjoy your work life balance, you know, of working from your living room to, to coming in and maybe it’s an hour commute, it’s definitely a harder sell. I think it’ll be interesting to see the, the other part of this question right, is like the shift that we’re seeing in the market and maybe the candidate market turning slightly. It hasn’t turned all the way, but it’s definitely not as hot as it was like four months ago. So we may see a shift in people being more open, just for job stability. But I don’t think we’ve quite seen that turn just, just yet. So yeah, Neetu, I’d be curious to hear how it’s impacted you and if you’re seeing a same or, or different trend.

Neetu Parab (53:20):
Yeah. And I would agree with you, like people are looking for more of hybrid. They don’t want a fully, now they have pasted what fully remote looks like. And, they are asking for actually a hybrid environment because for some people have been in the office with some other folks and learning and especially like, we have had candidates or new hires who have also declined the opportunity if we did not have another other set of employees in the same location, because they want to be onboarded. They want to be around people, but then not at their own terms within their own parameters. Right? So that hybrid is becoming really important. And the talent reach is expanding. Like everybody is competing for talent, irrespective of whatever the location it is. And, compensation is becoming more transparent. Like we had one or two states where now it’s important, that they list the compensation ranges in the job descriptions.

Neetu Parab (54:21):
I remember it was three years back, maybe when, asking current compensation, became illegal or like, you know, or the candidates actually could ask, employer what the, what is the range for a compensation when you pick up the phone and talk to them. But now it’s like some it’s moving towards the direction of listing it in the JD’s when they’re posting it out. So I think that will continue to see attraction in other states as well. And, like, yes, the market is shifting. It was, it was an extremely hot candidate market. We are seeing some freezes, some layoffs happening, and I think people are just starting to become like more aware that, there might be a shift and, being little careful about just quickly moving jobs. Like we just starting to notice that. So we’ll see, yet, to see the trend.

Anish Shah (55:19):
It’s at the very early cusp. And we are, we are watching very closely to see how, how this plays out. And, you know, I think every day, that we open LinkedIn or open any sort of news site, we’re, we’re hearing about a pretty massive layoff happening. So it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be wild next 30 days, at the very least, but it was, it was interesting because it took away one of our biggest, for better or worse, COVID took away one of the biggest things that we were able to do with clients where, you know, with when we had earlier stage clients, let’s say anywhere from Seed to Series A. The biggest thing I would beg the CEO was let us make this job fully remote. You know, and my pitch was, look, we’ll get you someone phenomenal, wherever, wherever you want this person to be.

Anish Shah (56:06):
But we’ll get you like an A++ person, if you make this fully remote and you let them work anywhere because frankly, nobody else is doing that yet. And so you have flexibility. This person doesn’t have to, you know, have face time with a ton of people. And we were able to get people, I would say, who would’ve been completely out of reach for, for Seed and Series A organizations because of their allowance to, and open-mindedness to letting this person work from wherever they wanted. And now that’s sort of slipping away is like a big, a big selling point because so many companies are offering that. But yeah, we are seeing more and more of our clients pushing to pushing back to office. But to Neetu’s point, we’re also seeing multiple people saying, I actually want an office as well, because they’ve, they’ve gotten sick of just working out of their home and they don’t want to be at a WeWork.

Anish Shah (56:53):
And so, and they want to go have that, like New York, especially has such a happy hour culture. People kind of miss that, especially if they’re like of that place in their life, that they really want to go to happy hour with their coworkers three days a week. So it’s interesting. But yeah, to what Sierra was talking about, we do see most candidates wanting to have that choice of being fully remote if they want to, and, you know, maybe having a hybrid office, but they want that choice of how frequently they, they, they go in versus it being fairly dictated. So this was really great. I, I feel like I learned a lot. The biggest thing I took, I took away was the, what, what do you call it the Friday freeze was, was that what it’s called?

Sierra Kaslow (57:33):
The Floss!

Anish Shah (57:34):
Floss! Friday Floss. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That’s the biggest takeaway. I feel like that’s so simple to implement. this was really great. I learned a ton and, Sierra and Neetu. Thank you both for jumping on this and, and dropping so much knowledge.

Sierra Kaslow (57:48):
Yes. Thanks for having us.

Neetu Parab (57:50):
Thank you for having us in, great meeting all, new new people, Anish, Sierra, it was wonderful meeting you.

Anish Shah (57:57):
Absolutely have a good rest of your day.

Neetu Parab (58:00):
Thank you. Thank you. Bye.

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