Dakotta explains the distribution of his recruitment team across 10 (!!!) different offices, how they use standardized dashboards to track individual performance, and the in-depth analysis he’s conducting within Google Analytics to optimize conversion.
00:00 Rob Stevenson: Hello, hello, Podcast Land, welcome to another classic installment of your favorite recruiting podcast. Coming to you from the cosy, most salubrious confines of Hired HQ in an uncharacteristically sunny San Francisco, California. I’m Rob Stevenson, your humble host, and I am, as ever, chuffed to my giblets to broadcast this podcast, and do my darndest to bring you best in class talent acquisition, inside strategies, guides, and techniques, straight from the mouths of the coolest, smartest, most interesting minds in the space. And today I have a real humdinger for you all. I know I say that a lot, but this time I really mean it, and I know I say that I know I say it a lot and this time I really mean it a lot, but I do really, really mean it this time, and I’m not just whistling Dixie, because today I’m joined by the global lead in recruiting strategy and analytics at Booking.com, Dakotta.
00:47 RS: And Dakotta is running quite the operation. You will tend to see global tossed around in the titles of recruiting leadership, but Dakotta’s role truly is worldwide. He has recruiters stationed, I think he said in 10 different countries. He and I chatted all about the dashboards he’s rolled out to the team to track individual performance, and measure every stage of the recruiting funnel, and then use that insight to revisit the hiring cycle. He is seriously in the weeds with Google Analytics, and he shared what he looks at, specifically, how he interprets the data both for his hiring managers and the greater org as well as his own recruiting teams. This episode is loaded with some pretty advanced approaches to recruitment marketing and AB testing and iteration. So, without further chicanery or jiggery-pokery, I give you Dakotta, Booking.com’s global lead in recruiting strategy and analytics.
02:09 RS: Hey, Dakotta, how are you?
02:16 Dakotta: Hey, great Rob, how are you?
02:17 RS: I’m doing wonderful, thanks for asking. You’re over in Amsterdam, I’m here in San Francisco, so it’s late for you, it’s early for me, but we’re rocking and rolling. I love it. Thanks so much for joining me.
02:26 Dakotta: Yeah, glad to be here.
02:27 RS: How is everything going out at Booking this week?
02:30 Dakotta: Booking is amazing. We’re hiring a ton of people, and we’re just going at it. We implemented a new strategy called Gym, where we’re trying to really blow out our experiences marketplace, and we’re really going full steam with it.
02:44 RS: What does that mean, experience marketplace?
02:46 Dakotta: Yeah, right now a lot of users just see how we work in the accommodation space, we’re the world largest hotel provider. We’re also actually in the home space as well, where we actually provide alternative locations for you to stay. If you wanna stay in other people’s houses, houseboats, just different accommodation types. And then we also now have BookingGo, which actually assists with taxi service, and then we also have the Experience platform, which lets users go in and look for experiences like canoe rides, or museum tickets, and the whole gambit. So now you can just basically, when you wanna book something, you can come to Booking.com. And that’s the strategy we’ve been rolling out since last year, and we’ve been hiring a lot of great people to help us achieve that strategy.
03:28 RS: Okay, got it. So, with each new product, for lack of a better word, I guess new experience, as you said, did they introduce unique hires they need, or is it still pretty standard across the whole breadth of it?
03:44 Dakotta: Yeah, with each of the product plans that we’re offering, it comes down to technology. So for tech, it’s very unique. So, for instance, we’re running our own payment… We’re looking to run our own payment gateway, so we’ve been trying to hire a lot of payment experienced individuals, and it’s a new area for us, so it’s a great opportunity for people to come in, who has already been experienced with payments, that understands blockchains and the payment system, to come in and actually help us build something like that. It’s the same with security as well. We’re rebuilding our security protocols within the org, and for someone to come in with these kind of skill sets that’s worked in the financial area, or distributed area, that understands how systems are set up globally, would be a great fit for us. So they’re definitely unique profiles that we’re hiring for.
04:26 RS: When you say you’re hiring a ton of people, I often have guests on and they say that, but usually they mean, “Yeah, we have 40 or 50 open roles.” How many people for you is a ton?
04:36 Dakotta: I can’t give you our exact number, but I can just tell you how many open jobs we have on our website this quarter, and this quarter we have over 350 open jobs on the website.
04:44 RS: Wow, just for this quarter?
04:46 Dakotta: Just for this quarter. But I can’t tell you how many are distributed across each department. But you can definitely go online at workingatbooking.com and check it out.
04:53 RS: Anyway, back you into that, sure, sure. So in the interest of filling all those roles, what’s your recruiting team look like?
05:02 Dakotta: Well, we’re broken up into a few teams here, we have customer service, which is actually distributed between four offices. We have tech, which sits in Amsterdam, and we have partner services, which also sit between a few offices as well, so we have about, what is it called? Actually 10 recruiting offices, and then within that, we have different recruiters that’s broken up by function there. But, for the most part, we’re more mainly in Amsterdam and Apac.
05:31 RS: Okay, got it, what was the… You said you have… So you have the tech as a pretty standard recruiting department, what were the other two arms?
05:38 Dakotta: Yeah, we have HQ or commercials, that heads up people, legal, finance, marketing, and then with tech we also have marketing, and then product and tech together, and then partner services, which is more of the account manager side of things. So we have 198 offices… Or 190 offices worldwide, and I think there was… I can’t give you the exact statistic, but we’re in over 100 countries with offices, but we have… Sometimes we have multiple offices in one country. So, for instance, even in Amsterdam or Netherlands, in Amsterdam we have 11 offices here, or in Washington state we have four offices there, so it really depends on that which tabulates the amount that we have over 190 offices, all together.
06:15 RS: Right. And you have global in your title, and it sounds like it’s actually apropo in this case.
06:20 Dakotta: Yeah. I support our global teams from Seattle to Sydney, all time zones. And it’s great ’cause I’m always connected ’cause we have this thing called Workplace, it’s like Facebook for work. And I don’t have to be connected, it’s just that it’s my choice to be connected like this. But it’s great because it’s fun for me ’cause I’m always used to working all these different time zones, and even though I moved here and it’s a very European company, people tend to log off at 5-5:30, and I’m still going just because coming from the Bay Area myself, I like to be really involved and understand what’s happening with our entire recruitment department.
06:53 RS: Yeah, yeah, of course. And that’s what I was curious about is, how do you… With recruiters scattered to the four winds, how are you able to monitor, I guess, or ensure that they’re recruiting the Booking Way, and follow-up, what is the Booking Way?
07:08 Dakotta: The Booking Way, basically we have a good onboarding track when someone starts with our organization, we onboard them with orientation, and that goes about three days, three to four days. And after that orientation with the company, they come and sit with the team, and then they start shadowing someone to understand what kind of questions we look for, what kind of skill sets we look for, and how we assess candidates. And after that, we start on giving them information on how we look at metrics, ’cause booking is very data-driven, all our decisions are data based, but they’re not driven entirely by them. You’re given data solution sets, and then you need to make decisions based on that.
07:44 Dakotta: And so, for example, we have dashboards in place that I set up that goes through the entire pipeline from candidate by source, to cost by source, to rejection reasons, to offer stage ratios, to break down on pipeline forecasting, the whole gambit. And then we also do training on those dashboards with the recruiters that come in, so they can actually make data-driven decisions when they’re sourcing. So they understand if they’re going down a pipeline, in a specific country, or region for a position, that they know when to stop and turn around, and just doing a phase, or if they should just continue on despite some of the challenges and just know it’s just a few challenges that they’ll be encountering before needing to go even further. And a lot of the data that we collect gives our recruiters the ability to see that.
08:25 RS: Okay. So you are a dashboard builder, and then you were able to tell your recruiting teams wherever they may be, “This is your Bible. Look at this every day, this is going to show you the baseline for roles, and this is gonna show you how you compare to that.” And so that sort of sets the standard for the whole team?
08:41 Dakotta: I wouldn’t say for the whole team. I sets up for for the individual. We try not to measure people up to teams, we prefer them to actually look at themselves and seeing how they feel that their performing, and not feel… They can see how they’re performing based on the number based on the number of jobs that we’re posting for them, what the candidate flow looks like. So they are able to take their own assessment and make their own decisions, ’cause it’s not about measuring up to the organization or up to the individual. To the team, it’s about how they can perform for the role that needs to be done based on the given targets for that quarter.
09:13 RS: Okay. So you have maybe a standardized dashboard, but it’s broken down into individual performance. So they’re competing with themselves, or just tracking their own improvement, as opposed to creating some kind of competition, which I have seen it. It’s pretty common in agencies, that recruiters are ranked according to placements.
09:33 Dakotta: Right. And here we don’t do that. The culture is very different in terms of competitiveness. We actually work as a team here. So the dashboards, again, are there for you to manage yourself, and to ensure you’re hitting your own numbers. It’s not about how your teammates are doing, or how well they’re going. There’s a mix on how we actually evaluate our recruiters. It’s not just based on the number of offers you’re making. That is, of course, very important, but it’s also understanding that when you go for the rejection reasons, for instance, if you are hitting the numbers that you’re looking for in terms of sending the right InMails, your quality is great, but it turns out you’re just not attracting the right candidates, then it gives us the ability to say, “Okay, it seems like you tried out a certain number of countries, your response rates seem great, but the candidates themselves weren’t coming over.” And so that gives us the ability to say, “Okay, what is wrong with this position, the job title, the salary, the opportunity that we’re providing, and what can we do to change that?” So it gives us a learning on how we can evolve the position, or the job description itself. So it doesn’t really discredit the recruiter and just believing that they’re not being effective when really they are.
10:36 RS: Okay. So then that would be… You basically encourage people to be tracking every single part of their funnel and candidate pipeline, and then you look for where is the snag, and then you drill into that. And it may not be as simple as, “Oh, your emails you’re sending aren’t compelling,” or whatever. It’s more, you would look inward and say, “Is there an issue with this career space, is there an issue with this specific role?”
10:58 Dakotta: Exactly. And it’s, again, it comes back to the individuals just going out and doing it themselves. They don’t need to actually track any data. Everything is done automatically through our system. That’s because our integration works really well with LinkedIn and all the other job boards. And when we also do create specific tracking sources on Google Analytics and with any third-party job boards, that it’s really seamless for the recruiters, that they can just literally log in and just see their performance and how they’re doing and what they can do to improve themselves. Or how they can give us feedback on how we can improve our side of the business, with job postings or with marketing and things like that. So it’s a two-way street. It doesn’t always come back to the recruiter, ’cause, again, as many recruiters know, that whenever you’re recruiting, it’s just, some markets are extremely difficult, and you don’t have the data to back it up. And this gives them the ammunition to come back, or even us to say, “Okay, we understand that’s a difficult market to crack. And you’ve done all you can do. The rest is us trying to engage and employ your brand to help us with that.” Or even for a specific market, like machine learning, data scientists, it’s how do you reach those individual ’cause there’s a finite number of people in that market. And what can we do better as an organization to attract them?
12:05 RS: So then, for you, as you were to zoom out maybe from individual performance, what are some of the other dashboards, like strategic views, you would look at?
12:16 Dakotta: One of the big ones we look at is action by source, and that’s just understanding that whenever we put a job on any job board, we look at the conversion ratio metrics that come in from views, all the way to offers. That even includes from a candidate clicking on the job, or viewing the job, how far they view down, ’cause we also, again, integrated the scroll analytics. So looking at page scrolls, page clicks, conversions, and then we also get demographics as well. So even though we may be posting a job in a specific country, we try doing it more broad so we can actually understand the talent net as well, just because for instance in Brazil you have so much talent everywhere, and just because you post a job in Rio, doesn’t mean that people in Sao Paolo won’t be applying for jobs in Rio as well. So we actually look at where the traffic comes from as well, as we break it up. And then, from there, we’re able to just triangulate that, and it’s updated on a, literally, a minute per minute basis, essentially. So whenever we are looking at job posts, we’re able to see the holistic picture.
13:14 Dakotta: We also look at the cost per source as well, that’s even from anything that’s coming down the pipeline from an applicant of any source of agency, of which we’ve been minimizing on all together. On job posts, on referrals, and all that. So we can actually see how much it’s costing us per hire, per department, and per recruiter as well, when we see if they’re engaging in any other type of job board. So it’s broken up as well. That gives us an overview of our budget very accurately, and then we also have… Well, those are the two big ones that we use primarily, for the action, and then the cost.
13:48 RS: So, it’s pretty common to hear people say, “Recruiting is like sales, recruiting is like marketing.” And typically when people say recruiting is like marketing, they mean, “Oh, your candidates are like leads. Your funnel is like a lead funnel. Employer branding is like inbound marketing.” But you’re taking it to a deeper level with Google Analytics, and a level of that candidly a lot of marketers don’t even go to. More marketing professionals I know than I’m proud to admit don’t get their hands dirty in Google Analytics. So, what are some of the things you’re looking at in Google Analytics and what does that tell you?
14:22 Dakotta: Yeah, so going back to it. When we do ads, we do request our advertisers if possible to keep maps for us, so we know when we’re advertising with them, that our ads are getting seen in the emails, or in the pages itself. So that’s one big request that we have, and if those individuals that do click on those banner ads come on over to our working at booking site, and we end up looking at the views and seeing how long they’re staying on the page. Once they come over, is it a quality view, and is it 30 seconds, 60 seconds, etcetera. And we take an average of our entire site as well. So it’s not just based on the source, we actually look at other sources as well when we’re making that decision that, say, for instance, we’re using a job board, we’ll just call it job board X, and job board X does produce views of only 30 seconds. So that can tell us information of, is it quality traffic that’s coming, or is it bots that’s coming through as well.
15:08 Dakotta: So, after that, we do look at scrolls. So when the candidates come through, how far are they scrolling, based on the positions itself. Are they scrolling 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%. And just because it’s a position of seniority, it doesn’t dictate the amount of scrolling. It really comes down to the attention of the title itself, how much details are in there, and the target audience. And even that target audience is very specific by country. So, when we do job posts, we do specific iterations for that target audience. So it might be South America, if it’s in Brazil, if it’s in Europe, if it’s in Germany, we actually try to target specifically on those demographics that we’re looking to recruit. And, finally, we look at the click ratios, as well.
15:49 Dakotta: When they’re clicking through, are they clicking and are they uploading, or are they clicking and stopping at the upload page? And then, again, we look at mobile, we look at desktop. We see how many of those are happening, is it just page-clicks because they’re on the mobile, or is it page clicks on the desktop, which makes a difference on them uploading their CVs. And then we also can see outage ratios as well. So, if it cycles down, we can obviously see things that happen, so even though we’re clicking there, we’re getting errors. And then, finally, we look at the conversion ratios of when they come through and become an applicant, and when we see the quality of source as well right after they become an applicant. Do they go all the way through from phone screen to business interview, or an offer stage, or do they just stop right there and at the recruiter themselves?
16:28 RS: So, I’m thinking of a theme, Dakotta, which is that you are able to just very incisively track every stage of a candidate’s journey, in the interest of knowing where they fall off, knowing where there is some sort of dip, and not just candidate journey, and in also recruiter performance, individual performance. Because then you actually know where the problem is. You know where the bottle neck is, to use a cliche. So for this specifically, with taking… Even in the case of running ads for roles, do you have, or unpacking this insight, do you have specific recruiters who are recruitment marketers whose job it is to solely look at that, or is this kind of on individuals in your talent team to roll up their sleeves and take an interest in this kind of thing?
17:15 Dakotta: No, we have an employer brand team, which does a phenomenal job on actually putting out how we are as an organization. But in terms of talent marketing, that’s something we don’t do just because talent marketing itself is actually part of what we deal with in terms of posting ads and actually getting sponsored ads to relay back to the website itself. So we have a different funnel for that. So we have… My team is actually also responsible for having the job ads posted, and also the generations, or the iterations of job post that convert the candidates over. So, that’s one part of the puzzle, and then also the other part is, ’cause when they come over, they see, “working at Booking,” and they also see all the amazing videos, photographs, interviews that our employer brand team puts out there to help sell the candidate experience.
17:58 RS: So talent marketing, does that fall under you as its own team? Sorry, I’m just trying to see how this all hangs together.
18:05 RS: It’s a position we don’t really have. We don’t actually go on LinkedIn and say, “Work as this individual and click here to apply,” for instance. I guess we can all say that we all do a little bit of talent marketing. If you go to my LinkedIn and look at my wall, I put specific positions up there, and I take photos internally that push specific roles, for instance. Talent marketing is very different than what an employer brand team would do. So for us, recruiters when they’re posting their job saying, “I’m looking for an individual that does this.” That’s definitely a talent marketing spot basically, but definitely recruiters can do a better job with doing that, because many people just take a job, and they post it, and they don’t put much idea or effort into how they’re marketing that role itself.
18:49 RS: Right, right. So, yeah. So it would be on… The onus is on the recruiter then to just be thinking in a more strategic fashion, instead of just set it and forget it?
18:58 Dakotta: Exactly, ’cause a lot of people in employer brand, they’re not recruiters. So they don’t really understand what it… Some of them are, I’m no saying all of them. Let me back up here. Some of the recruiters… Some of the people in employer brand have worked in recruitment. Some people haven’t. So if you haven’t been a recruiter, then you don’t really understand what it takes to go through and take a position, and really tailor it for an audience, just because your job is to sell the culture, not the job itself. And it’s a recruiter’s job to sell the culture… I mean to sell the job itself, and a recruiter would know how to do it best. And so it would be a burden upon the recruiter to come up with great creative marketing strategies on what they can do to individually sell that position. I would highly recommend, if the user has time to check out our site, Working at Booking. I’m sorry to drop it in there so much, but I’m very much impressed with how our brand team has put a lot of this together. And if you look at the collage of videos, photos, everything, just how everything weaves in, inter-combined, it’s a spectacular work of art, and when you see how recruitment and employer brand works together.
19:57 RS: Yes, yes. I can feel the jealousy, as people listening to that, knowing that you have your own employer brand team, ’cause I think it’s a task that falls to recruiters often. It’s up to them to go to their marketing department and ask for resources, or to come up with campaigns on their own. And, in some cases, at Booking too, with being able to look at GA and taking sights out of that. I guess at a more, I don’t know, ideological view of a recruiter, do you think, in a dream world, that you would have teams responsible for all these different arms of talent? Or would… Is it just the nature of the beast that recruiters need to have this multi-disciplinary approach?
20:43 Dakotta: Having the marketing background for a recruiter is a nice-to-have, because it’s… The number one source of candidates that come through the pipeline tend to be referrals, but referrals tend to be a better culture fit than anything else. We also have to weed through the quantity ’cause a lot of people end up sending a lot of referrals because they don’t activate or engage the referral program correctly. So, for instance, people will just post under a LinkedIn or their college networks, which is the same that any recruiter could do as well, taking that, posting it in different networks and on LinkedIn. So, if done appropriately, effectively, then, sure, referrals would be great, but a lot of times those aren’t managed correctly. So the best source would be direct source, which is when a recruiter just goes on LinkedIn, or another job board, or searches for… Does boolean searching and finds people on Twitter and etcetera, and reaches out directly because they see the skill sets that they’re looking for. So, ultimately, that would be number one. Number two would be training the individuals in your company how to do proper referrals. Number three would be the marketing part, which gives the recruiter the creative ability to actually express themselves much more than sending InMails and doing five hours of InMails, three hours of calls every day, and help break the monotony up there.
21:52 RS: Right, right. That’s interesting that you said that there’s a lot of these cases of when, if you’re getting a lot of referrals that probably means that… Or either means that your employees are really actively engaged and want everyone they know to work there, or you implanted it incorrectly, and they’re just spamming out to their networks.
22:10 Dakotta: Exactly.
22:12 RS: And maybe if you’re a recruiter at a small company, you’re okay with that, ’cause you’re like, “It’s still inbound, and I need people”. So in that second case where a referral program has been rolled out incorrectly, and you’re getting a lot of spam, and people are like, “Oh, there’s a $5,000 bonus. And if I post it to my Facebook who knows what’ll come through,” and that’s good enough. What can recruiters do and leaders do in that case to make sure that their program is rolled out correctly and you’re not just gonna get spam applicants?
22:38 Dakotta: Sure. So there’s two areas they can go with this. You can go with training, and just roll out quarterly training, ’cause people do forget what a good referral is, and then you can actually make the rewards much more enticing and such so you can say, if you refer one person they end up getting a certain dollar amount, they do a quality referral, and then you can actually cap the amount of referrals they can give as well, for the individual, the instance. A second would be that there’re software out there, now, that actually does great referral tracking, that will let the individual, number one, know what’s happening with the referrals. ‘Cause that’s also one of the things that occur when people send referrals, they don’t know what happens. But number two, also has them verify the candidates information when they’re submitting it. There’s a number of companies that do that right now. I don’t have any off the top of my head I would recommend, but I definitely suggest that doing some research on good referral software companies.
23:24 RS: And then, in the case of training, does that look like “Here are the roles we have open, here’s what the bonus is, here’s what a good referral looks like”. Is there an elementary amount of education that has to take place for roles, or how do you train people to know what a good referral looks like?
23:45 Dakotta: It really depends on your audience, for instance, if you’re working with a global team or a global company, it’s more difficult to roll out training like that for every individual, for instance for 17,000 people to do that and go through. When we do onboarding and orientation, we definitely stress the need for referrals. We have flyers everywhere. However, it doesn’t discount the fact that we still need to manually process a lot of these candidates. And, again, the software that we’re working on, or we’re looking to use is yet to be rolled-out. So, in other organizations I’ve worked for we’ve had literally three, four offices, and it was so much easier to sit down one-on-one and say, “We love your referrals, but it’s taking more time to go through, because we have to personally reject each individual.”
24:30 Dakotta: ‘Cause, with a referral, you wanna be much more white-gloved with the candidates itself, as opposed to say… So that’s the one thing to drive home to the referrals understanding… Giving them context on how much time it takes to disposition someone. Even for us, when we get all these inbound applicants, it sometimes does take a few days to get through, because we personally disposition all these candidates that are coming through the pipeline, because it gives us the data that we need. So a lot of times people don’t understand that concept, they feel that we’re just going through and doing a blind search within our database. And then anyone who does that think that we’re doing a mass reject, and that doesn’t happen. And it’s the same with employee referrals, as well. Since each person has to be manually rejected.
25:10 RS: Okay. Right. But you are still looking at a one-to-one level, at rejection reasons, no?
25:17 Dakotta: Yes.
25:18 RS: Okay. So what does that process look like of being able to… Is that in either case, of like, either the recruiter rejected or the candidate pulled out, or how is that broken down? Is that done by the recruiter on the role, at a one-to-one level?
25:34 Dakotta: When we’re looking at rejection reasons, we look at it from a few factors, and when the applicant comes through the whole process and they’re sending in their requisition so the recruiter can do it based on geography, based on visa requirements, based on language, based on skill sets. And we have personally I think 15 different options on why we reject a candidate, and then also when they’re going through the pipeline is when they’re going through the process when the recruiter does the phone screen, that’s the initial part, when they go through phone screening, there’s another subset of rejection reasons, when they go to face-to-face, there’s another subset. So we were pretty thorough on how we’re rejecting candidates themselves, ’cause we’d like to make sure that we’re making the… We’re making, again, data-driven decisions, so when we’re going through the process, it’s not just a generic that’s just not a fit.
26:14 Dakotta: If it’s not a fit, why are they’re not a fit? Is it based on current programming, is it based on years of experience? Is it based on education? So when we break it up more, it gives us a better story to tell our hiring managers and the business of why [26:27] ____ or it gives the recruiter a better story to say, the roles that we had advertised, they’re pulling in candidates that are just not qualified based on spoken English language, for instance, and that’s been the case on some instances as well.
26:43 RS: These rejection reasons, they provide opportunities to revisit the interview process, right? If there’s… You’re seeing a lot of people aren’t making it through for one reason or other, you can’t just throw your hands up and shrug, and say, “Well, yeah, they weren’t good enough.” There’s an opportunity to change it, look into the interview process, and see if there’s… Maybe they weren’t getting a fair shake.
27:06 Dakotta: Exactly. Overall, it gives us a holistic picture to understand if that entire regional area or candidates pipeline we’re looking at just wasn’t calibrated properly.
27:18 RS: Right, right. And especially in your case, you might have an interview process that you roll out for… That might work really well for one role, in one area, but then you interview on the other side of the planet, and even though it’s a good means of assessing someone in one country, then it could be completely not culturally salient in another. Does that happen?
27:38 Dakotta: Absolutely, all the time, when you’re trying to look at the calibration ratios of the sum.
27:43 RS: Okay. So when you say calibration ratio, what does that mean?
27:46 Dakotta: Well, we make sure that we have the right process in place for those candidates. So that goes more into assessments and how we’re looking at cultures overall, so seeing that the cultures do better whenever they’re coming through the process of just sitting, just putting… For instance, we have HackerRank jobs and we have our jobs posted on there, so we have candidates that come through the pipeline via HackerRank jobs and we also have candidates that come through and supply via workingatbooking.com. Both people have the opportunity to go through the whole process, but the people that come through HackerRank jobs actually does the assessment first versus the people that come through the normal pipeline, they don’t do that assessment first. They talk to a recruit first then go to assessment, but during that process, they also have the ability to talk to the recruiter and actually let the recruiter know that they don’t do well in assessments, or they do better with whiteboarding versus a HackerRank assessment, so they have that… We have that option for candidates to go through that way.
28:37 RS: Okay, well, that’s also really important. That kinda takes place on the call after the on-site that recruiters often make, which is to say, “How do you think you did?” And hopefully you get the candidate being honest and saying, “Oh you know I feel like I could’ve done better, or I didn’t represent myself as well as I could, because I got nervous in this particular dyad or this means of assessment,” and I think you can track region to region too, right?
29:06 Dakotta: Exactly. And we actually have… HackerRank has helped us a lot with this too when we did assessments, where we’re now tracking participation ratios, completion ratios, attempt ratios, and then we actually understand the distribution of scores to understand the assessments behind that as well, to make sure that we are not… Our tests aren’t just one sided, that we’re actually looking at the big picture, and we have a whole bell curve there that says, “Okay, we’re in a sweet spot right now based on assessments and looking at each region or country, and it helps us to identify if our assessments are working well, or aren’t working well, or if we need to go back and redo these assessments. And we do these meetings with HackerRank to understand where we sit all together.
29:48 RS: Right, right. So in the event that you get that takeaway where, okay, this means of assessment is not appropriate for this region, how do you ensure… And so you decide to change it, how do you ensure that an equal means of assessment is taking place when you have differing means of interviewing?
30:09 Dakotta: It comes up to the recruiter, actually, so when the candidate’s speaking to the recruiter these issues and situations come up. It’s not after the test is done, it’s before the test is done, ’cause it’s after the fact it’s a bit too late to change the process, but when you’re… If you’re getting into the process initially, that’s when candidates should speak up and say they have a hard time with this, with this type of assessment.
30:29 RS: Okay. So that’s not like a after, how do you think it went, kind of situation that’s like a… You would encourage that to take place, even during the whole process?
30:40 Dakotta: Exactly. Just because we wanna make sure everyone feels comfortable with the interview process, and how they’re being assessed, since not everyone thinks the same way. And that’s one great thing that… In my building I think we have over 80 nationalities in our headquarters buildings, and it’s phenomenal because everyone thinks, looks, and acts differently, and that’s one thing that we really capitalize on, is our diversity inside Booking itself.
31:04 RS: Right, right. Also, just not being married to your own process, I think is so important, and it’s… You can spend a lot of time and effort designing an interview process and be proud of it, but having the adaptability to abandon it, or to tweak it, even mid-stream, I think that’s how you’re able to eliminate unconscious bias, give people their opportunity to put their best foot forward and end up with a really diverse workforce like you have at Booking, right?
31:33 Dakotta: Exactly. Exactly.
31:35 RS: Cool. Dakotta this… Every question I ask you just rattle off just all this amazing information and then I feel like I could keep doing it, but we are inching ever closer to optimal podcast length here. So I guess I would just thank you again for coming on. This has been a really fantastic episode. And we have to do a round two. Maybe I can swing Hired shoving me out your way one of these days.
31:58 Dakotta: That’d be great. We use Hired quite a bit here, because we actually also were able to work with our account managers and set up specific SLAs in place, so we understand our sweet spot on how many people we need to reach out to in order to make an offer here at Booking, and that was our account rep. Dave did a lot of work when we first signed on with you guys and it did… It’s amazing, ’cause we’ve actually been making a lot of senior hires based on that.
32:21 Dakotta: And I’m not saying that because I’m on a podcast, but it’s actually a fact that we set up at numbers and we’re able to go back and understand how our hiring numbers looked on different platforms and we went back to Hired and said, “This is what we need, this is what needs to happen,” and it’s been happening. So, yeah, I can totally do a whole podcast on how we actually work with Hired, get the hires that we needed from you guys.
32:40 RS: I would love that, and I’m sure my boss would love that.
32:43 RS: But, yeah, it’s wonderful to hear. It sounds like it was able to fit into your recruiting culture, being able to measure at every stage, and be able to make projections, and say, “Here’s where… Here’s how much outreach we need to make, that means we can back our way down the funnel, we can identify parts of the funnel that are broken, or that are different than others, and optimize that way, and build a process that works beginning to end.”
33:09 Dakotta: Exactly.
33:10 RS: Well, thank you so much Dakotta for joining me. Thank you for that plug for Hired, I’m sure someone will email you and ask if we can use that for the website or something. [chuckle] But, yeah, this was a blast. So great to meet you, and thanks again for joining me.
33:22 Dakotta: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
33:27 RS: Well, everyone, there you have it. Dakotta really knows his stuff, huh? I really enjoyed this one, and I hope you have gleaned a ton of stuff to take back to your organizations, and help you on your never-ending journey to find, source, screen, interview, hire, and retain, great talent. I’ve been Rob Stevenson, Dakotta’s been Dakotta, you’ve all been wonderful, amazing, talented recruiting pros. Have a spectacular week, and happy hunting.
34:01 RS: 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 hired.com/employers, and we’ll get started.