Sonder’s Cassie Chao Runs Multi-Hire “Batch Day”

Cassie ChaoTech Recruiting Manager

Sonder’s Tech Recruiting Manager Cassie Chao explains the ins and outs of “Batch Day”, a mass weekend interview campaign that resulted in multiple hires. Later, she explains how a candidate’s motivations are related to their likelihood to accept an offer.

Episode Transcript

00:00 Rob: Hello, recruiters. Welcome back to another barnstorming episode of your fave talent acquisition podcast. I am still Rob Stevenson at the helm here, no longer in the cool gray City of Love. I have forsaken San Francisco for its hotter South-door neighbor. And I come to you now from the actually cozy confines of a blanket fort in an otherwise empty apartment in Los Angeles, California. The beat goes on. Never tuned in to the pod before? Welcome to you. Here’s what you can expect once you click that subscribe button. Once a week, I sit down with my fave people in the recruiting world, directors of recruitment, DE&I program managers, sourcers, TA folks of every ilk and persuasion. We sit down, turn on the microphones, and we just go for it. They tell me all about their open roles, their unique and creative campaigns, and how they go about filling their orgs with the top talent. In other words, they, pause for the flare, Talk Talent To Me.

01:01 Rob: And I have for you today another wonderful half hour of recruiting content with a new friend of mine who is the Technical Recruiting Manager at Sonder, Cassie Chao. Cassie was Sonder’s first tech recruiter, a role which saw her immediately inherit 25 open engineering roles. And she joins to explain how she went about setting expectations with hiring managers and getting creative about how to engage with talent via a really fun campaign she calls batch day. What’s Batch Day? No spoilers! Stick around and we will earn the insight together, how ’bout that? So without any further goofery, please give a warm TTTM Welcome to Sonder’s Technical Recruiting Manager, Cassie Chao.


01:54 Rob: Cassie Chao, Technical Recruiting Manager at Sonder, is joining us. How are you, Cassie?

01:58 Cassie: Hi, I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me, Rob.

02:01 Rob: Yeah, I’m thrilled you’re here. How’s it going over there at Sonder?

02:05 Cassie: It’s been busy, to say the least. Lot’s been going on.

02:10 Rob: Good, good, well, same over here. I am actually in an empty apartment. I’ve forgone my makeshift recording studio and I am in a blanket fort right now because it was the only way to get a good sound quality. So as hectic as it is over there, it’s equally ridiculous over here. So I guess there’s some honor in that. But I wanted to… I always forget to do this and I feel like it’s important. I should probably ask my guests what it is their company does before we dive into it. So for the folks at home and candidly a little bit for me, could you give a high level overview of what Sonder does?

02:46 Cassie: Yeah, happy to. Well, Sonder is in the travel space and when many people look at our website, they tend to like to peg it to other businesses out there in the travel space. But ultimately, when I hop on calls with candidates, I let them know that we are building a much better business model that helps incorporate technology to empower us to operate like a hotel but in a distributed manner that provides the consistency and quality of hotelling but the feeling of a homeshare without actually being an independently owned home property. I guess the easiest way to explain it is that we have built a full end-to-end business model that utilizes our own technology on the back end, and we’re taking stay further than what a traditional boring hotel has, and also making it more consistent than home sharing platforms.

03:40 Rob: Got it. So when you’re on a phone screen with a candidate and they say something like, “So you guys are Airbnb and HotelTonight, right?” What do you say to that?

03:49 Cassie: I’d say a lot of people like to make that comparison, but the biggest thing to think about is how travel has evolved over the last century. And when you think about the very first hotels out there, they were independently owned bed and breakfasts. We’ve moved away from that into branded hotels because those bed and breakfasts were pretty inconsistent. It really depended on who owned that property, who was serving your breakfast, who cleaned your linens. And Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt actually provided that consistency for a lot of their guests, and with their brand came full-service amenities. You knew exactly what you were going to get.

04:30 Cassie: However, now in the more recent decades, a lot has been talked about in home sharing. And the reason being is Airbnb is the platform that has opened up opportunity for guests to stay in places based off of what I like to call the trifecta, which is location, people wanna be in a great location when they’re traveling. They want a space that they feel is going to be comfortable and clean, and open, and have more than just two beds with a tiny closet. And then, lastly, at a price point that they’re comfortable with, which isn’t what hotels are hitting right now but home sharing platforms, you have that.

05:10 Cassie: But problem is, when you look at home sharing platforms like Airbnb, Airbnb is short for air bed and breakfast, they have that inconsistency, again, because they are independently owned by independent host. I could be a host, you could be a host. And I could be a terrible host and no one will ever wanna stay in my property.

05:30 Rob: And even if you’re a great host, there’s no breakfast.

05:33 Cassie: Yeah. [chuckle] Sometimes there isn’t, right?

05:35 Rob: Yeah.

05:36 Cassie: If you have a great host, sometimes they’ll leave out pastries for you but it’s a hit or miss and there’s that inconsistency there. And even with a lot of the news coming out about trust and safety in these independently owned and managed properties, guests are starting to shy away from home sharing platforms. So Sonder has built this business model where we wanna solve that problem for modern travelers, bridging the gap between what you would get from a full-service hotel and what you would want typically out of a home sharing platform. So we start with real estate, finding the location. We design each unit uniquely, and we also provide 24/7 virtual concierge service and local hospitality support. So if you do need anything, it’s like a very reliant host then that’s going to be able to help support you during your stay. And we’re building technology both on the back end, as well as what the consumers see to make it very tech-centric.

06:31 Rob: Got it. And it sounds like it’s definitely an experience a lot of candidates have had, unreliable travel situation even with an Airbnb. So I’m sure that this is a product that makes sense for people when you explain it to them.

06:45 Cassie: Yes, it definitely resonates, especially for those who love to travel, which was myself. So I selfishly joined Sonder because I love to travel and see that this is definitely a viable market. We have product market fit, now the goal is just to expand, expand, expand.

07:01 Rob: Right, right. So do they let you travel a lot? Do you wanna make an effort to make a plug for Sonder as employer brand?

07:09 Cassie: Yes, we do. We have travel credits. We all love to travel so we do have travel credits to utilize in any of our Sonders. I’ve gotten to stay in San Diego and Miami as of recent. But one big thing as well is, if you are working on the products like our engineering team or our tech organization, they get to travel a lot, way [07:30] ____ Sonder and on the company’s dime to understand the product that they’re building. So it’s a nice place to be if you do love to travel.

07:40 Rob: Got it. So log on to Sonder, or join Sonder, and travel the world either way.

07:45 Cassie: Yep.

07:46 Rob: Cool. So at some point, Cassie, we should talk about recruitment, right?

07:51 Cassie: Yes.

07:51 Rob: This being a recruitment podcast. So you joined Sonder as the first tech recruiter, right?

08:00 Cassie: At my time, yes. In last July, there was a coordinator who ended up helping support with sourcing on the tech recruiting side of things.

08:07 Rob: Got it. So real lean team, and right off the bat, you are tasked with hiring 25 engineers in the first six months.

08:16 Cassie: 25, yes, that was my headcount goal.

08:18 Rob: For one person in six months, that’s a pretty lofty goal. Where did you start?

08:23 Cassie: Yeah.

08:24 Rob: That’s like one a week, right?

08:26 Cassie: Yeah, it is actually. But we were fortunate enough to think through a few strategies that really did help us with our process. We knew it was going to be a volume game for us given that we had just exited stealth mode. I can’t imagine having to sell a company that you’re not able to talk about at all.

08:44 Rob: Right, right.

08:46 Cassie: So it was great that we just had information sent out to the public about our Series C funding at the time, Greylock being one of the larger investors in that round. So being able to advertise our business… On the recruiting side, we are sales people and helping the company get out into the public and have individuals understand what we’re trying to build here. So a big part was understanding what is the volume that is needed to hire for the engineering team and kind of count backwards from how do we get 25 headcount, which means looking through your conversion rates. We did have to build out data pipelines for that, but it wasn’t… One thing we learned was that sourcing isn’t the only way that you’re going to be able to get candidates. You have to somehow employ your brand, you have to think of other strategies of referrals, how to do referral jams. And we did have a really unique opportunity to try out a batch day, which I had actually learned from my previous employer, that worked quite successfully.

09:54 Rob: What is a batch day?

09:56 Cassie: A batch day is when you organize one special day and what we’re planning on doing is having one per quarter where you bring in 15 to 20 or more candidates on one specific day. And we had chosen a Saturday to do that. We had noticed actually a lot of candidates not wanting to take time off of their work week or calling out sick, and had requested to come in on a weekend. So we thought, “Why not just advertise this to any candidate that was in process with us and have them come on that special Saturday?” We had two waves of candidates come in, a morning and an afternoon. We truncated their loop so instead of four hours, it was two hours just capturing technical signal, but then we added the culture aspect of having breakfast, lunch, and happy hour with our candidates. They also got the opportunity to meet with the CEO over lunch as well as our VP of tech just to talk more about the business and the growth potential of our business.

10:58 Rob: So how was this more than a group interview?

11:02 Cassie: Yeah, so we actually brought in all of our engineers as well to do interviewing and we paired them up. There was a whole interview slated on the back end from our coordinator of which interviewer was going to be paired with which candidate, and that was their buddy kind of throughout the interview process. And it wasn’t a group interview. So it wasn’t like a panel interview where there’s five candidates sitting across from five engineers. Every interview room had one interviewer, sorry, two interviewers, and one candidate interviewing, so that we could get a double signal on a candidate.

11:40 Rob: Got it. So then you would have the CEO was there and giving some kind of talk about the company and culture as well, I imagine?

11:47 Cassie: Yeah, over lunch.

11:49 Rob: Cool, cool. So after this batch day, was there… Are you at the offer stage now? Is there more interviewing? Do they come back? How does this fit into the standard interview process that we all know and love, or at least know anyway?

12:05 Cassie: Yeah, so I should probably rewind just a little bit, and more of the sourcing and the selection piece of the candidates that we were bringing on to the batch day. And they ranged from being referrals, that very, very highly sought after candidates that their friend speaks very highly of them. They were brought in through the phone interview and then directly on site, which is our typical loop. But sometimes we would expedite if someone was really gung-ho about Sonder, knew a lot about our product, and just had a technical background that we were looking for, we would slot them just to come straight on to that special batch day.

12:45 Rob: Okay, I got it, it makes sense. So what were the results of batch day?

12:50 Cassie: Yeah. So we had brought in… I believe it was 17 candidates that day. Eight of them received offers and then three of them closed. So they decided to join Sonder, and actually a big sell for them was hearing the CEO talk about the growth potential of the business and what they could work on, and ultimately the impact that we can make on those who do love to travel, and opening up that opportunity for those who haven’t been able to travel a lot, to find a clean, consistent, and affordable place to stay.

13:21 Rob: Yeah, yeah. I love that front-loading of the CEO access. Even if someone’s at a bigger company where they maybe don’t have their CEO in an interview process, typically they’re still gonna be the most senior person, a VP or a director-level person is gonna interview, and that interview typically is a kind of selling interview. If they make it all the way to that, you’re just trying to close the candidate and get them excited about the company and the opportunity, right?

13:48 Cassie: Right.

13:49 Rob: But a lot of people don’t get there, and maybe they self-select out, not understanding the scope of an opportunity. So getting them in front of a CEO or VP level, a director-level person early on, I’m sure that helps with conversion rates, right?

14:02 Cassie: Yeah, it absolutely does. And this is something that we’re already trying to work with across all of our reqs is just having one of our more senior leadership, including our VP of Tech, opening up on recruiter phone screens and trying to share what the experience is going to be like on his team.

14:22 Rob: Sorry, I may have cut you off. Did you say that you made any hires out of first batch day?

14:27 Cassie: Yep. There were three hires.

14:30 Rob: Oh nice. That’s pretty good. You said three hires out of 17 people?

14:34 Cassie: Yep.

14:35 Rob: That’s pretty good. How does that compare to the funnel previously?

14:39 Cassie: The funnel’s been challenging. This is my first attempt at a company that did not really have a brand before I had arrived. Again, coming straight out of stealth mode is pretty challenging where everybody you hop on a call with is like, “I have never heard about you before. But the word “travel” in your email piqued my interest.”

14:58 Rob: Yeah, yeah.

15:00 Cassie: Other than that, just heavily relying on referrals from people who already work here which also wasn’t very big. The engineering team was 15 people when I joined, so we had our work cut out for us. It definitely was challenging to begin with, and it’s still challenging. Conversions kind of flip-flop throughout quarters. There are their ebbs and flows, and you just try and understand your conversions and see how you can improve upon them.

15:28 Rob: Right, right. So was there… Was that four hires per 17 people on site, was that a conversion rate higher than the pre-existing one?

15:37 Cassie: Yes. So I think that a lot had to do with the pre-selection of people that we’re bringing in as well. You can’t always get everyone to join on a Saturday.

15:46 Rob: Yes.

15:46 Cassie: But it went a lot faster than if we were… Usually you can maybe get three decisions to hire per week if you’re lucky. So to have three that were actually hires in one day, that is actually a huge conversion.

16:01 Rob: Yeah, definitely. So it works.

16:02 Cassie: Mm-hmm. It does work.

16:04 Rob: Batch day is a success, I love it.

16:04 Cassie: [16:04] ____ do it all the time. [chuckle]

16:06 Rob: Good, good. Yes. So, you… What would be… Probably while it’s on my mind, I think it’s important to point out that this is supplementary to a holistic recruiting strategy because there are some people who would never be able to make it on a Saturday. And so you can’t just rely on a batch day kind of thing because, like you said, there’s a difference in kind of candidate who can attend a Saturday day-long interview. So just like a disclaimer, don’t let this be… I’m sure it’s not the case at Sonder, but I let this to be your only recruiting option because that could be exclusionary.

16:44 Cassie: Exactly.

16:45 Rob: But I’m curious… Okay, so we have… Have you done more than one batch day or is it just v1 in the books?

16:53 Cassie: Just v1 in the books. We are looking at doing one end of Q2, and with its success, they want it done quarterly. They just liked it being one of our strategies, but it does also take a lot of manpower to do it. We need interviewers here on the weekend.

17:09 Rob: Yeah.

17:10 Cassie: And our team continues to grow, making sure that they’re extremely calibrated. I think that’s a big piece that we always want to enforce, that everyone knows how to capture signal within their interview time frame. They shouldn’t walk away saying, “Hey, I actually didn’t capture signal on this.” You never wanna see that happen. So, making sure everybody knows, especially with a truncated loop where it’s only two hours instead of three technical sessions plus a hiring manager session, they definitely need to capture the signal that we’re looking for during the batch.

17:44 Rob: Right, right. What did you learn? What are you gonna do differently when it comes time to do it again?

17:50 Cassie: So, it’s interesting. We were attempting one for Q1. Sourcing gets pretty challenging around the quarter one time frame mainly because bonuses are being paid out in that quarter while coming off from holiday, and that’s really, really challenging when people have a mix of travel plans in January. What we’re learning now is just understanding how far in advance to reach out, and not trying to keep people in process for longer than a month. If they’re waiting a whole month to come on site for a batch day, that’s generally not a great candidate experience in our eyes. We’d like to move really quickly with our candidates, so what we’re trying to learn is probably about three weeks prior, if people are getting within the telephone screen phase, that’s a really good indicator for us to bring people on site for the batch day.

18:44 Rob: Got it. It makes sense. Alright, so Batch Day, recruiters out there, know it, live it, practice it, use it once a quarter. Supplement your recruiter strategy with it. I love it. So what else is going on at Sonder for you? We’ve talked about Batch Day a lot. What’s going on for you personally? What’s keeping you up at night, Cassie?

19:02 Cassie: Wanting to hire a lot for my team. That’s actually a really big one where I think that head count was created without me being a part of it, which was challenging. Having to partner with whoever is creating head count goals is extremely important. And being new on the leadership side of things in recruiting, I now see why it’s so important.

19:26 Rob: Yeah.

19:27 Cassie: So having the time frame to be able to build out your own organization to help structure what each recruiter’s expectations are and forecasting that, that has actually been something that’s been really, really top of mind for me. That’s what keeps me up at night, thinking through how many recruiters I need on my team, what does recruiter productivity look like, and building that out.

19:52 Rob: Yes, and what do you mean like kind of as a factor of other team growth expectations, right? Because you can say, “Oh, yeah, I’d like to hire X Y Z, but it sort of has to relate to the open roles you’re gonna expect to have to fill on the rest of the team.”

20:08 Cassie: Absolutely. And so even with my team, I have a sourcer on my team who’s really eager to be a recruiter. We’re already getting him and he’s been here for three months, and we’re already getting him set up to be a recruiter. So now I have to kind of shift my scope, okay, I need another sourcer to backfill, right? But then who is that sourcer going to support? It’s a lot of moving parts and it’s the first time I’m really engaging in this, so it’s been really interesting and a lot for me to learn, really exciting, but I always wanna make sure that we have the head count goal in mind but also setting the expectations of our clients and stakeholders in terms of, “Hey, I can’t hit your head count goal without prioritizing my team first.” So that has been a really big piece of my job currently is just building up our organization on recruiting.

20:58 Rob: Yeah, yeah, and having the data, like being armed with the data and going into those meetings, and being like, “Hey, here are our conversion rates,” like, “this is, with the current resources, this is how many roles we can expect to fill,” or even, I think that might even be a little risky giving conversion rates because an answer to that might be, “We’ll just convert better.” But you could also put it in terms of engineering hours or team interviewing hours. It’s like, “Hey, you have this many people interviewing. To hire, they’re gonna need to interview 80 hours a week in addition to their regular job.” So putting it in terms of… I found that’s more successful too, putting it in terms of like the tax it’s gonna take on the rest of the team and the resources that the interviewing team on the hiring managers actual team has can be really effective too.

21:45 Cassie: Yeah, data has been powering a lot of good decisions that we’ve been making here. A lot has to do with the forecasting of what do we expect our conversions to be, like what do we want to focus on. A big piece is closing. How do we continue to improve upon that? If we are to improve upon that, what do we expect each recruiter’s output to be, right? And then do I need 50 more recruiters?

22:09 Rob: Yeah.

22:09 Cassie: Probably not at that point in time.

22:11 Rob: Right.

22:11 Cassie: But being really strategic about it, how do we best utilize the recruiters and sourcers that we currently have and then also help support them. Is it tooling to help them make them more productive? How do we utilize our hiring managers to assist with parts of the interview process? There’s a lot of different strategies to go about that, but number one is still to be able to arm my team with more members to support the hiring teams.

22:39 Rob: Yes, yes, and just to set them up for success, right? Like if… It’s sort of this general organizational shift from recruiting being order takers to recruiting being consultative partners and having a seat at the table where it’s like, “Okay, you don’t just get to hand us a job description or hand us, fill these 10 roles,” like we’re going to push back and say, “Hey, here’s how many we can reasonably effect to fill,” and if you give me two times that, it’s just not gonna happen not without more resources.

23:09 Rob: And I definitely had that conversation as of a couple of weeks ago, so…

23:14 Rob: Yeah, good.

23:15 Cassie: And it’s something you have to have, and learning, you can say yes to everything, but if you’re setting expectations extremely high and under-delivering, you’re not doing any favors to yourself, your recruiting team or your hiring team, but just helping them understand, “Hey, we have a brand new recruiter onboarding. This is what we expect.” Ramp up time to look like what does Q2 look like for their goals overall. We’re probably not going to hit the head count that you requested. Our goal is to add X, Y, Z recruiters to our team and by Q3 we’re gonna be on target if we are able to either hold steady of our conversion rates or help improve them.

23:58 Rob: Right, right. And so does that look like individual, like one-on-ones with individual hiring managers or how do you make sure that is communicated effectively in your org?

24:07 Cassie: Yeah. So I actually have staff meetings with all of the leadership on tech every Thursday, and this is exactly what I go over with them and letting them know. So it looks like our close rate is trending like X. How do we want to improve it, or what do you think actually happened last quarter? And I like to do reflectives with them every quarter just to see, “How are we trending?” We did an amazing Q4. That’s how we are able to hit our head count with one person, with…

24:34 Rob: Right.

24:35 Cassie: Obviously, some support with agencies was a big one, but how are we gonna be able to replicate that ourselves in building out an organization, right? How much manpower went into Q4? What happened in Q1? And let’s talk about that together. So managing expectations with staff members on engineering leadership is all about reflection. How did we do in Q1? Are you thinking about this? How heavily are you relying on recruiting as opposed to partnering with them? And pushing back to that, it is everybody’s job, especially at a Series E start-up to be hiring for their teams. Just because one, two, three recruiters step in, doesn’t mean that your job is done in helping to close candidates or helping to add referrals, getting your team pumped up, about adding or sourcing candidates to the pipeline.

25:29 Rob: Yes, absolutely. And I just wanted to add how important it is to do that reflective and like look back critically at how you got to your goals previously because in marketing… This is the world I know, so this is how I like… How I try and relate. But if we set some goal for leads or for reviews or whatever it is and we base it based on previous months or quarters, like, “Well, hey, maybe we had this huge outline piece of data,” right? Like we didn’t expect that this one post would explode or that this… We had this campaign running and we have only this many campaigns running for next quarter, so it’s like we can temper our expectations based on our output. And so in the same way, you could look at, okay, so we hit our goal for last quarter what we had this or last month, maybe. Yeah, we had a batch day, which is an outlined piece of data. We’re not gonna have that every single month, right? That’s a more rare thing. So we can temper expectations or set expectations, anyway, around the org just based on the campaigns we’re doing and what can be expected from that, right?

26:30 Cassie: Yep, exactly. And so, we always wanna be looking at the data surrounding it, and you’ll see the uptick with the batch day. But Q1, we didn’t have a batch day. So what else was affected? Was it the close rate? Was it sourcing? There’s a lot of different areas that we can take a look at, but my goal with my hiring managers is, “How do we tackle just two of these, and see what kind of difference we can make moving forward in the next few weeks?” If it’s the close rate specifically, what are we doing to actually affect the close rate? What are we doing wrong now or not doing that we can continue to work and improve upon for the next few candidates that are receiving offers from us? And that’s the big piece that we’re pushing on for Q2 right now and it’s actually part of my own OKRs. How do we continue to improve upon close rate and how do we continue to think about each candidate’s motivations and optimize their motivations of why they wanna come here? And there’s a lot of reasons why a candidate would or would not want to join, but did we educate and inform them enough about us and did we do our best on that part for them to make that informed decision?

27:42 Rob: How are those two related, the candidate motivations and offer acceptance rate really, or are they?

27:50 Cassie: They are absolutely related. I think you’ll hear from every single recruiter that the close happens at the beginning, at the very first time you reach out to them and have engaged them and now hop on a call with them as recruiters, or now even my hiring managers who are getting on these initial calls, I’ve trained them that you should be trying to capture as much signal as you possibly can to be able to sell them throughout the entire process, not just on the first and last call. Every interviewer should understand, and this information we like to share with our interviewers now is, “What is the candidate’s motivation? Is it team culture? Is it collaboration? Why don’t you share upon some of those experiences during your interview sessions with them?” So it is probably the highest fees other than comp. Comp is always up and down depending on what people’s expectations are.

28:44 Rob: Right.

28:44 Cassie: But outside of comp, it is, “Are they mission-driven?” Right? “Are they working in a culture that they want to be in?” If they don’t feel this, they’re not going to sign. So these are things that we wanna make sure that we’re pushing through every step of the process. We’ve understood it from the first call. Are we capturing more signal through the rest of the interview and how are we informing our candidates and ultimately selling them each step of the way on things that matter to them?

29:12 Rob: Yes, yes, and another one of those might be, “How many companies are you interviewing with right now?” ‘Cause if it’s like 15, then okay, you probably don’t know what exactly it is you want. Why don’t you reach out with… You narrow it down to a few and we’re still one of them. Or like, “How can we be one of the ones you narrow it down?” As like, “What are you kind of critically looking at?” I am curious though, let’s say you have a candidate who is really, really gifted or just like the perfect fit in terms of their ability and experience, but you’re not really feeling the candidate’s motivations. It’s kinda… They’re kinda giving you those signals that they’re one of those candidates that might make it all the way to the offer stage and then turn it down. How do you service that or let them down easy?

29:56 Cassie: So we definitely had those conversations a handful of times since I’ve been here, and it’s challenging because there are definitely candidates who don’t know what they want and you can just hear it in their tone, “Oh, I wanna live in X, Y, Z country in Europe, but I’m not actually interviewing there,” so you’re just like, “Well, what is your purpose for chatting with us?” Like, “What really caught your attention that I can really dive down deeper with you about?” If they’re not able to say that, you just have to tell them upfront, like, “I wanna make sure this is the right opportunity for you. Is there anything that I can describe more about our business that you’re curious about?” But if they’re not interested in asking any questions, that’s generally a red flag for us that, okay, no matter what I say, if they don’t know what they want, we’re probably not going to be able to close them in the end. If they start having a little bit more interest, sometimes I like to put the candidate on another sell. It’s not just a recruiter phone screen getting to know them better, it’s more what can we tell them from the tech perspective then that maybe captures their attention to work on this industry that they say they’re interested in, right?

31:08 Rob: Yeah.

31:08 Cassie: Then I’ll get them on a call with one of our hiring managers or an engineer that’s working on consumer-facing products that we’re building out, if that’s what they say they’re interested in, and seeing if that works for them. And then after that call, we’ll follow up as recruiters and say, “Is this something you’re interested in moving forward with?” And generally, they’ll let us know at that point in time.

31:29 Rob: Got it, got it. So it’s less of a process of being like, “Hey, I don’t think you’re a good fit for this role based on X, Y Z,” but more describing the opportunity in a lot more detail. I mean, is this something that you really think is important to the next step in your career and trying to get an honest answer out of them there?

31:49 Cassie: Yeah. I mean it’s always going to be a work in progress with individuals who don’t exactly know what they’re looking for, so I try and best sell what our business is working on. If they have that second call, then it’s more of what the tech and the growth opportunities that they have are, and if they’re still not sure, then yes, you might have to just cut it off there and say like, “Hey, why don’t we revisit when you have more of an interest in our product or you’ve decided on what you want to work on?” But if someone’s like, “Yeah, I really love the travel industry, really like the tech that you’re working on, I’d love to move forward,” I don’t cut it off there. I’ll let them self-select out later on in the process if that’s the case. But sometimes, they learn a lot more just during the on-site and meeting a lot more people that can get them pumped up, and I would hate to cut them out of the process too early on.

32:41 Rob: Got it, got it. That makes sense. Well, Cassie, this has been really, really fascinating. I love hearing about Batch Day and I love hearing about assessing candidate motivations and I could stand to hear more, but we are creeping up on optimal podcast length, so I suppose I should wrap things up now.

32:55 Cassie: Yeah, well thank you so much for having me. It’s definitely been an exciting journey being at another start-up again and being able to build out process and learn through the experience that I have here at Sonder, and if anyone’s interested in the travel industry, we are hiring across the board. So, just a shameless plug over there but…

33:13 Rob: Yeah, no, no, no shame. It’s… Definitely encouraged to plug it. And yeah, if you’re… You’re hiring for your team too. So, recruiters who are listening out there, if this sounds like something you like and you wanna join a travel-friendly company and be Cassie’s best friend, slide into those LinkedIn DMs and let her know.

33:31 Cassie: Yes, thank you.

33:32 Rob: And Cassie, you’ve been awesome. Thank you so much for calling in. This has been a blast, and I would love to have you back any time.

33:38 Cassie: Thank you so much, Rob. I really, really appreciate it.

33:41 Rob: And to all of you out there in podcast land, that just about does it for us here at Talk Talent To Me. Once more, I have been Rob Stevenson. Cassie Chao has been Cassie Chao, and you’ve all been amazing, wonderful, darling recruiting pros. Have a spectacular week and happy hunting.


34:07 Rob: Talk Talent To Me is brought to you by Hired, a double opt-in global marketplace connecting the best fit active talent to the most exciting recruiting organizations. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next great hire, head to and we’ll get started.