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Accelerated Recruiting: How a Series A Company Decreased Time to Hire by 32%

Jan 10, 2023 7:47:10 AM | By


In a candidate's market, speed is essential. 

In this episode, Nick Vossler tells us how he reduced his employer's time to hire by 32% in one quarter while maintaining a 92% candidate NPS. Nick is currently a senior recruiter at OpenComp and has spent time recruiting GTM and technical roles at companies like HouseCanary and recruiting firms like Connery Consulting and Michael Page.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Streamlining the hiring process without compromising quality
  • Establishing a talent pipeline
  • Strategies for accelerated recruiting



CAITLIN ALLEN: Hi, everyone. I'm Caitlin Allen, the VP of Marketing at OpenComp, which is the maker of the world's first compensation software platform that gives clarity at every single point of decision about pay.

NANCY CONNERY: And good morning, I'm Nancy Connery. I am co founder of OpenComp and principal at Connery consulting. And I am honored to be here today.

CAITLIN ALLEN: Yes, thank you for joining us. So we all know that in a candidate's market moving quickly matters a lot. And so in this episode, we are going to talk with Nick Vossler, about how he decreased his employers time to hire by 32% in one quarter. And he did that without compromising a candidate NPS score of 92%. So pretty pumped to dive into that. Nick is someone that Nancy and I both know fairly well, not to his benefit, but definitely to ours. Nick is currently a senior recruiter at open calm, and he has spent time recruiting go to market and technical roles at companies like house Canary and recruiting firms like Connery consulting and Michael page. So Nick, welcome.

NICK VOSSLER: Well, thank you so much. And I will first say it is definitely a mutual benefit. Having worked with you both here. So let's let's make sure we get that straight out of the gate.

NANCY CONNERY: Nick, we're thrilled to be here with you today. You know, can you share with this audience, you know, something that people don't automatically know about you?

NICK VOSSLER: Let's see. So I you know, I posted a lot about me on my hockey experience and background on my LinkedIn. So I guess we'll surprise you a little bit with something bit more artistic. Up until about midway through high school, I was actually a very skilled pianist. We I played piano from basically age seven to 16, that, you know, kind of High School Sports got in the way. And, you know, that was that was the end of my dedicated folks there. But you know, every now and then I can whip up a good rendition of your lease or a couple others, but something not a lot of people know about me.

NANCY CONNERY: We'll be calling you for our next party.

CAITLIN ALLEN: Definitely, oh, my goodness. Alright, so Nick, let's state the obvious here, because clearly, we all know each other, how do we all know each other?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, so I guess, let's let's go back aways to May 2021, was reached out to by some of the fine consultants at Connery consulting, some folks that I had met on my team formerly of Michael Page, they introduced me to Jenica to Nancy, and before you knew it joined the team over there. That was my first seven months I was working with a client that you've already mentioned, called House Canary has really great experience first time in an RPO environment, kind of getting some internal exposure. And first time being, you know, within a startup, my prior two companies were publicly traded. So that was cool as well. My one takeaway, though, was, you know, hey, this has been amazing, but I kind of want to get the exposure to actually building something from the ground up. And so as the year progressed, you know, I was working with, you know, my manager over at Connery, shout out to me Robles. And she said, we'll look, our sister company, OpenComp, you're not gonna find too many things that are this fresh on, it was only a year old at the time. Like, there's a great opportunity and great need there. So maybe we'll try that out for a bit. So early. I think it was January 3, like right at the start of the year, I've moved over to OpenComp as a client sales consultant, they're really, really loved my experience. And, you know, four months into that was so humbled to get a full time offer and was able to convert over to the OpenComp team.

CAITLIN ALLEN: And on a personal note, I was I was very excited from a professional standpoint, because we needed the help. And, Nick, you've been incredible from that standpoint. But fun fact, Nick and I both live in Denver, and we have single handedly been been making that our second largest location as a company. So Denver. So let's dive into the topic at hand, Nick. So in one quarter, like I said at the introduction, you and a couple other folks decreased time to hire by 32% while maintaining a consistent candidate feedback score of 92%. So pretty impressive. Let's let's dig into the facts. Can you tell us a little bit about what your time to hire was? In the first quarter and in the second let's just Call them q1 and q2 to keep things simple.

NICK VOSSLER: Cool. So, um, I guess we'll start with q1. So q1, that first month of q1, you know, based on our starting point, we were averaging around 65 days to hire, which is a very long time, I mean, two whole months of being in a process can really wear out a candidate, and it doesn't really show the most interest in a candidate either. So definitely was something that we wanted to identify and certainly cut into. So the next couple months of q1, we actually managed to get it into an average of 41, which was really quick returns. And then, you know, throughout q2, we've actually averaged 33 days prior. So really making some major cuts into that timeline.

NANCY CONNERY: Impressive. So, you know, and what made you decide you needed to speed the time, the higher, you know, what was what was kind of some of the comparables that you had seen, what in your experience, told you, you know, that this was something that you needed to, you know, jump right on?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, I guess, um, I mean, first and foremost, there's, there's, there's some bigger companies that, you know, they might have the luxury of, you know, this brand presence and established track records and things like that, that might keep people engaged for a couple months. But if you're a startup, just kind of getting your name out there and still establishing your messaging and making sure people are aware of you, you know, it's, it's important to demonstrate that agility to show that you're very interested in the candidate. But also, if you're able to streamline it, it, it shows you've got your proceeds figured out, a lot of people would hesitate to join a company, if it's a really disjointed, lengthy process that kind of broken up in a few ways. So really, I mean, I think those are really critical pieces of implementing a little more speed. Also, in a prior in a prior life in agency, recruiter life, and also as a former SAS sales Exec. I was, I learned that time kills all deals. So that's always been something kind of embedded in me.

CAITLIN ALLEN: And were we seeing was off for acceptance low or was candidate attrition high because of that. Lengthy Oh, yeah.

NICK VOSSLER: Oh, yeah. No, I mean, when you have IBM, for example, we would have offers out for a really long time that Doug, it really lengthened out our process for time to hire. I mean, that's that we'll, we'll talk about that a little bit more. But I, in short, I mean, yes, the T, the acceptance rate was not great. And so that kind of streamline that, and for various reasons I've listed, we really needed to improve that to, you know, increase our success, honestly.

CAITLIN ALLEN: Great. So So we've talked about a couple of the, shall we call them symptoms, right of the impact of of suboptimal time to hire, low offer acceptance and candidate attrition, those kinds of things? What, what were the causes? Or at least what did you believe were the causes before you dove into solving them?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, I think, um, you know, first and foremost that you want to have streamlined, repeatable processes, when we were first starting out and kind of evaluating where there were problems and like problematic bottlenecks and things. Number one was, you know, your hiring manager might say, like, wow, I think this person should talk to this person next. And it's kind of just a loosey goosey opinion on who they need to meet with. What you really want to do is actually have something established, focused and aligned, that can make the process repeatable, and that actually does factor into some of the bias and removes that if you have, you know, a repeatable process meet with the same people do the same questions, you're gonna get a better gauge of, you know, who's, who's better talent as well. And then, like I mentioned, I, the offers were out for when we got in and, you know, it's there's one thing where you're providing white glove service and being like, yes, it's okay, if you wrap up your five other interview processes, and that might be next month. But really, what you're doing is you're kind of pigeon holing yourself as an employer to that your offer is going to be leveraged. And if you know, this is a talented candidate, you don't want that to happen, because they will get other offers that might be yours. So those are those are two of the primary ones. There was also like some hesitations from some of the folks throughout the interview process around like I don't know if we want to move them forward. And you really need to work with your hiring team to make sure that they have a clear decision after they speak with a candidate.

NANCY CONNERY: I definitely agree with all of that. And, you know, time to hire I think is of essence and also it allows you to put yourself in the candidate shoes as well in what they're going through while they are you know, going through that experience and making it as efficient as possible is really beneficial for everybody involved. You know, in reducing the time to hire you know, you did focus and have focused and prioritized on on branding work. You know, what, what and why, what's the importance of that to you as it relates to recruitment? And, you know, candidate experience as well?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, I think, um, I think it's, it helps save time for career if you're able to get it's really improve your branding as company, right for applicant generation, a recognizable brand that people see and want to join, really helps helps your inbound applicant flow. Additionally, so you know, you get your name out there, people learn about what you're doing and resonates with them. That's saving the time of going through like LinkedIn, or, you know, burying yourself in sourcing work first, if you've got qualified people who have heard about you up front, they read great things about you, you're gonna get candidates a lot sooner. So that also feeds into that time to hire as well. I will say it's, you know, kind of go to the time to hire again, when I was joining Connery, I was super impressed by how quickly we were able to get all the next steps involved up and set up. So that that made it a lot easier of a decision for me as well. Great, thank you. Absolutely.

CAITLIN ALLEN: And then in terms of that branding work, so what what branding work, did you prioritize, or did we prioritize together?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah. So I think first we want to do, we want to establish candidate experience services, but we we didn't have any surveys in place when I first got here. So we really didn't know how we were doing from an NPS perspective. So job number one, let's make sure we are doing something that experience that candidates enjoy, you know, make sure they have a pleasant experience. Even if we don't hire them. We want people walking away with a good feeling about their process. Right. So first, we establish those experience surveys. Secondly, we focus on Glassdoor ratings, right. Again, if you are, if you have bad candidate experiences, you're gonna get bad Glassdoor ratings as well. And I mean, this shouldn't surprise people. But there's a lot of candidates who have jumped on the phone with me and have said, Hey, I'm pretty much on the phone with you. Because I looked at OpenComp's page on Glassdoor, and I thought, Wow, alright, the reviews are great. Let's talk to them. So that was another thing we really focused in on that. We did some internal work as well, working with existing employees at OpenComp, make sure they're submitting their actual experiences that OpenComp and getting their opinions out there. Because from all of the work we've done, internally, we're finding that people are enjoying their time here. So let's tell people about it. That also leads into our Great Place to Work certification, that was a big project for me and my manager, we took that on, again, extra thing out there that people have recognized, that's an extra piece of brand recognition, I suppose you could say. But that really gave us some insight into where we are succeeding and where there's areas to improve as far as you know, our company, culture and brand as well. So that's that was also nice. And lastly, I guess I'll mention we, we did launch a LinkedIn employee spotlights piece, this is kind of a project that I'm running every month where, you know, we're basically doing something that's a little more casual, or sending out some questions to, you know, our existing employees, kind of ask them, like, you know, why you joined open company to do here, and then, you know, allow for some creative flexibility and answers and questions as well. So, people really get to know us.

CAITLIN ALLEN: Yeah, and I can I've, my team has worked with yours on that a bit. And I think what I've appreciated about that LinkedIn employee spotlight campaign is, you've done a really good job of matching the folks who appear or are featured first to both our values as a company and our priorities in recruiting. Right. So we we needed to hire engineers. And so we spotlighted two engineers, and we really, really care about diversity. And so we made sure that we included those kinds of angles in the questions and also in the people that were highlighted first, and then now we're focused on the go to market roles for the sales team predominantly. And so that really influenced that particular months, I thought that was really thoughtful, in terms of like almost creating a candidate funnel, so to speak, and how you were approaching the candidate top of funnel. And then if I can also just from an internal marketing perspective, in my experience, that's where a lot of marketing teams and HR teams can fall down, if they don't effectively ask people on the team in a way that shows them what the value is for them to do things like Glassdoor rating, or to take the graceful a great place to work certification. And so like with the Glassdoor rating that we created, we had different things on in the, in our hands. We mentioned it on Slack several times. We created the email card for the bottom of email signatures that said how high our ratings were and you did a really good job of creating pride in the company around what our rating was and we all took part in that so we all right. Um, If you're not home, that's we all have that. And then with related to the Great Place to Work certification, I think this was probably the best one process I've ever seen done in a company, where the volume of reminders the reasons why it was valuable for the people that took the survey. And the variety of channels that were used, we use the employee newsletter, we used all hands, we use Slack, we had email, we'd one on ones, it was mentioned in ELT every week, they've done very well, such that everyone felt like it was something they owned, rather than just something HR was doing. So, right. So kudos to you on that for sure.

NANCY CONNERY: And it's so great. From both of you the partnership that really exists really between the recruitment team, and marketing, you know, you don't see that so much in early stage startups. And then you also don't know much see, really the strategic approach that both teams have taken as they have come together. And I think, you know, it shows in the results in the scores and the candidate experience. So, you know, kudos to you guys, for sure. You know, I know that you have been pretty focused on and I share this, this sentiment with you, too, in terms of, you know, decreasing the time that you give candidates to make a decision on an offer once it's made. Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy around that?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, definitely, I think, like I said, initially, there was kind of a practice in place where, you know, recruitment was content to wait on a candidate until they had all their proceeds done. And I understand, you know, you don't want to pressure somebody into a situation where they don't feel comfortable joining your company, but also, you don't want to rush people into a decision either. And so it's kind of working to find that balance and establishing kind of this mutual respect between employee and employer. You know, at a certain point, they must, they have to understand the point of view of the employer, where, hey, if this offer is out for four weeks, that really hurts us, and lets us let's start this relationship on a good note as well. So I mean, I understand, you know, you don't want to come off as inflexible and, you know, if you're really giving a candidate anything over a week, though, it's it's really just opening the doors for that offer to be used as leverage, frankly. So, you know, I think most people, if you're transparent with them about that they, they kind of get it. So, again, that mutual respect goes goes miles. And I think it also helps in whether they'll accept or not, in addition to kind of cutting off the timeline on that,

CAITLIN ALLEN: one, can I just say to like, as a hiring manager, if it takes someone a week to decide if they want to join my team, I don't want them on my team anyways, so probably. Right. So it's good, common sense. One of the things or I guess a couple things that I want to touch on before I ask you a little bit more about outcomes that I think have benefited, I know, my team, for sure, in the process of making an offer is the tool that you put in place, as well as kind of the interview templates and the training you've provided for the team as well as the post mortem that you've set up. So can we dive really quickly into that around like, you know, what was your criteria for selecting a tool? And then what was your processes you put together that that hiring committee process where you guided us with all the tools, all the templates, all the trainings and the post mortem?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, absolutely. So I guess we'll, we'll first start with the, the tool. So we implemented a new ATS, there was a few, we work together as a team to figure out what sort of functionality we found to be paramount in an ATS. And we're not getting at that time with our existing ADSL straightaway from bashing any names and logos here, but, you know, we made a switch over to a different tool that met all of those needs, and provide us a lot of really cool stuff, like insights into our process. Easy using analytics, it was also a sourcing tools, though, was pretty awesome there. That, you know, in addition to, you know, getting the right ATS in place, you have to kind of take the time to develop what those streamline processes look like. Right? So, making sure we had interview templates in place, what should a good process look like? There was a study done once it was like Google or something like that, where, you know, they said, you know, basically, if you have four people interview somebody, anywhere between, like four and 10 people if if they got four yeses, 90% of the time or something like that. All 10 We're going to be SS. So, we, you know, one of the things I really have pushed for is making sure that we don't, we didn't go above four, that that piece has been huge, but so that was big change. Interview templates were a big change because Like I said, it was kind of, I think, I think they stuck this person next and then this person and there wasn't really anything in place as far as the process. Then like your, you know, like you were referring to, I actually did launch a totally new recruiting engagement process, which, you know, includes kind of a first kickoff with all of the interviewees, you know, there's meetings with between the hiring manager and the recruiters to help get aligned on what they need to hire and what the key competencies are for that role and making sure they're identifying what that gap is that you're trying to fill with that hire. And then from a recruitment perspective, it's my job to facilitate that, you know, the easiest process possible not only for candidates, but also for my interviewers. So I developed some templates around, you know, questions asked, How do you gauge for certain competencies, competencies, rubrics, reference check templates, I mean, you, you can provide the tools for the interviewers, they've got busy lives as well. So just do my best to support them. And then like you mentioned, we also have a post mortem of sorts, a debrief to better understand after every candidate process, you know, how we do? Did we feel like that one? Well, do we feel like we're, you know, missing something? And, you know, kind of working to calibrate what that right is gonna look like if you don't get it right first time?

CAITLIN ALLEN: Yep. Well, and I can say to, so when I'm having an idea of, we should actually publish those, and I can put the link in the notes of the show, so that folks can reference and use them as well, because they're really robust, amazing templates. The other thing that was invaluable for for my team, in particular, some of our roles, we have more junior folks on the hiring committee, in addition to some of the executives and having the templates has been a really amazing and unique opportunity to provide some upskilling for them, because they don't you know, they're new to the interview process. And I think, in an early stage startup environment, you don't you don't have very official officialized, you don't have very formalized training programs yet, right, like yours, not at that point or company. And so it was, it's been a really great way to offer coaching, to build up the skills of the individual team members in a way that's probably pretty unusual for this stage size. So that's been been really great. And it's I think the post mortem has been, I've heard from some of the folks on my team, that it's a valuable opportunity for them to learn it, learn it, you know, how does our president look at candidates? Why is he saying yes or no, versus why they're saying yes, or no things along those lines, that it's a level of exposure that they don't necessarily always have, especially at the junior levels? So definitely valuable there. Okay, so two to work for questions, and then we'll wrap this up. So outcomes, your offer acceptance rate changed quarter over quarter, in addition to the reduction of time to hire. What was the change?

NICK VOSSLER: Yeah, we brought it up by, you know, initially it was was not pretty, it was like close to 50% or so when I first got here. And, you know, we were very quickly from q1 to q2, able to get that up 70% of six, seven, still a long way to go. But, you know, was a huge change for us in terms of, you know, how we were getting some people in the door. So, yeah, I mean, we, we, we made a pretty pretty swift transition there, which was great.

CAITLIN ALLEN: That's awesome. The other thing that I love that I believe I heard about offer acceptance was that for technical positions, underrepresented minorities, the acceptance rate went up from 37 to 50%, as well, in that timeframe, which I thought was pretty cool. Absolutely. Yeah. All right, Nick. Well, this has been super awesome. Thank you. We close with every, every podcast, we close with the same question. And it's effectively what's one thing that you've said today that our listeners should not only remember, but take action on?

NICK VOSSLER: I think we've we've really harped on streamlining. So I'll switch it up a little bit here. I think adding a personal touch goes a long way. Kind of going back to my days and, you know, agency recruiting, you know, you have to consider that your hiring managers and your candidates, those are your clients, right? They need to be company, they need to be receiving the white glove treatment to the greatest extent possible. And, you know, I think it's, it's tough in a remote world, sometimes the, you know, build these connections with candidates and you're a stranger to them, you don't know. But I like this even as simple as giving them a call to schedule the next interview versus just sending an email, something like that, that shows a little more personal touch to it. I think it really goes a long way.

NANCY CONNERY: All right, thanks. We really incredible information here. Very, very valuable for our listeners.

NICK VOSSLER: Thank you for having me, and I'm really, really excited and humbled to be on here.

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