Leveraging data to drive decision-making has benefited hundreds of industries, companies and teams over the last decade. But what about those areas of business where data has traditionally been hard to come by – such as within talent teams? Can businesses really measure the human element of hiring?
The answer is a strong yes. Being a data-driven talent team really comes down to embracing a structured hiring process. With structured hiring in place, companies gain recruitment analytics – valuable, data-driven feedback that allows them to iterate and improve on what works (and reduce what doesn’t). This consistent data feedback loop serves as the foundation for great hiring practices, driving better business outcomes and setting companies up for success year after year.
One such company, Greenhouse customer Tray.io, has been leading the charge in structured hiring and seeing their success pay off in a big way. We sat down with Michael Kieran, Head of Talent at Tray.io, to discuss what structured hiring means to his team – and how data-driven decision-making via recruitment analytics elevates the human side of hiring.
To start, can you give us a bit of background on Tray.io?
Michael: We're in the enterprise automation space – in other words, we help cloud apps talk to each other. It’s a pretty exciting time for us as an industry because there are more cloud apps now than ever before, providing us with more opportunities to help the businesses we serve. Ultimately, our goal at Tray.io is to make people’s lives easier and make a positive impact on the world through tech.
For example, we recently had an organic food distributor in the UK that needed help keeping up with demand, so we used our product to create an entirely different supply chain that works really well for them and their existing systems. That’s just one recent example, but there are so many opportunities right now for us to make a real difference. We’re ready to do that because we have the people to make it all happen.
Let’s dive deeper into the people element of your business. As Head of Talent, what’s your team’s philosophy when it comes to hiring?
Michael: I think the number one reason people love getting up and going to work at Tray.io is the people that they're going to work with. We've got the best people in the world and the best team in the world, and that powers everything we do for our customers. We make people's lives easier and enable the creation of workplace superheroes – in essence, we empower people to think bigger and achieve more at work. That’s why great hiring is vital to the success of our business.
When we bring new hires on board at Tray.io, unanimous but indifferent is not what we are looking for – in other words, we want a strong yes! To get that strong yes, we use Greenhouse scorecards and the data from those scorecards to drive our decision-making and reduce bias. Does the candidate display empathy? How does the candidate approach problem-solving? Do they think collaboratively? We look to our Greenhouse scorecards to measure the human element of every hire and use data to back up our decisions. Once we get those strong yes scores across the board, we can get excited about the candidate and really advocate for them to become a part of our team.
"We look to our Greenhouse scorecards to measure the human element of every hire."
Michael Kieran, Head of Talent at Tray.io
Has 2020 impacted the way you think about hiring at all?
Michael: This year has been a challenging one for many businesses, ours included. Our hiring plans match our growing business landscape, our customers' success – and empowering our customers to succeed is within our control. We strategically decided to continue hiring throughout this year so that we don’t lose our momentum – we’re keeping our foot on the gas. Ultimately, the uncertainty of 2020 is an opportunity to emphasize one of our key priorities: hiring quality. It’s made us think even more critically about how we build the team, using data to drive our decisions while maintaining the human experience of hiring.
Can you expand on that? Let’s explore some specific ways in which you structure your hiring at Tray.io in 2020.
Michael: We started by rethinking the typical interview process and building out candidate cohorts; in other words, we began moving candidates through the hiring process within the same timeline, rather than starting each candidate out on separate timelines (which could range from two to four weeks of difference in some cases).
Then, based on our structured hiring scorecards from Greenhouse, we evaluate the candidates and move the top 25% of the cohort to the next hiring stage. Yes, waiting until we can get all candidates into the same timeline adds a bit more time to the process – but by slowing it down and having the ability to look at the data in an unbiased way, it’s easier to evaluate which candidate would be our top choice for the role. Each cohort round ends with a debrief for us to discuss the top candidates all in the same day and really address the diversity and strengths of each individual. We also use calibration reports to weigh our scoring after every interview, benefitting our candidates.
How do you get leadership alignment on these new hiring processes?
Michael: Our senior leadership at Tray.io has fully embraced Greenhouse scorecards to make hiring a data-driven process. When we're only putting forward a small number of people for a final stage, it becomes very easy for them to dive a little bit deeper and read every single scorecard to understand why each candidate would be a good fit. It’s important to have these really thoughtful conversations with leaders and be able to say with certainty, “This is somebody who we know, based on our structured hiring processes, is the best person available.”
We want to be able to go to bat for each and every hire. All our hires should have a strong yes from the recruiting team – powered by the data – and confirmed with another strong yes from our leadership team. By taking bias out of the equation and really looking at the results of our processes, we’re able to get the best of both worlds: a data-driven process powered by the human element.
It’s great to hear that your team is seeing these positive results from structured hiring. Have you seen any benefits when it comes to candidate experience?
Michael:Absolutely. It’s been especially beneficial for us when it comes to expectation-setting with candidates. Yes, we’re slowing down our processes at this time, but we don’t want to create a situation that goes on for longer than the candidate expects. We’ve gotten really good at communicating the timeline up front. That allows candidates to manage their options properly, as well as do the research they need to be confident when choosing us.
What has been the key to your hiring success?
Michael: We’re able to make data-driven decisions on what excellence means to us when it comes to hiring. That has really accelerated this year. We’re leaning into the structured hiring process and using all the tools available through Greenhouse in order to make that happen.
Scorecard responses have been better and more complete than ever before. Our employees now know that when they want to champion someone, they need to document it exceptionally well. The quality of our scorecard notes, details, attributes and more has gone up substantially over time. Executives especially are really looking to understand what's happening with candidates and how they move through our process. Ultimately, that’s how we’re using data to put people first.
Learn how to improve leadership alignment, optimize the candidate experience and reduce bias in your hiring process with Greenhouse recruiting and structured hiring.
Michael Kieran is the Head of Talent at Tray.io, a hypergrowth enterprise automation platform that helps people do more, faster by connecting cloud applications. Prior to Tray.io, Michael lead Recruiting for Duo Security, a company that many credit to democratizing security by focusing on user-friendly, intuitive experiences while ushering in the era of zero trust networks.