How Appirio Transformed Their Interview Process to Drive a Better Candidate Experience
Appirio is a global services company that helps customers create next-generation Workday and Customer Experience using the latest cloud technologies. Our free-thinking consultants deliver unmatched customer value by creating actionable strategies, delivering results quickly, and helping organizations adapt to a new experience-driven era. We do this by harnessing the power of one of the world’s largest crowdsourcing communities and thousands of pre-built solution accelerators. Appirio is a trusted partner to some of the world’s largest brands, including YP, Cardinal Health, Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, Home Depot, Sony PlayStation, Moen, and IBM.
This past year, Appirio transformed our interview process to make it more effective and efficient, to ensure we are making the right hiring decisions as well as providing an excellent candidate experience. We did this by providing standardization, a job competency library of behavioral based interview questions, evaluation scoring aligned to an area of the business/role, interview training, and a strong focus on transparency and communication.
WHY WE DID IT
As Appirio evolved from a start-up to a mid-size company, our interview process had not changed to adapt to our growth and transformation. In May of 2014, we implemented a candidate experience survey, which captured our NPS (net promoter score) as well as feedback around areas we could improve on in our hiring process. In analyzing the data, we identified communication and responsiveness as two areas our recruitment team could make an immediate impact in. Our team worked diligently to improve these two areas but realized we could have a more profound impact on the business by analyzing the candidate experience and interview process from end-to-end.
Recruiting is truly a team effort at Appirio, so we could only go so far as a recruiting team to improve our candidate experience. We really needed to partner and provide the rest of our interview teams with the education and information necessary to move the needle.
In order to understand the needs of our internal customers (hiring managers and leaders), we conducted a survey with our interview team to understand what was working and not working for them in the current workflow. In gathering the data, it became clear that our team needed standardization in the interview process as well as detailed training for our interviewers.
WHAT WE DID
We looked at the end-to-end candidate experience and determined how we could make an impact on what our candidates told us was important — communication, timeliness, and being respectful of their time. In addition, we also looked at how we could create standardization and structure around the process and provide detailed training. Over the course of September 2015 to May 2016, we took all of this information and redefined each step of the process; we aligned interview guides (both culture and competency), updated the evaluation in our ATS to match the specific interview, and rolled out training to individual interviewers as well as hiring managers. The training is ongoing to ensure the process is fully adopted by current and new employees.
HOW WE DID IT
In 2015, we put together a project task force that consisted of 5 core global team members and identified a project leader who was responsible for creating the project plan, leading the team, and keeping to the project timeline. The project plan was built in a Google spreadsheet and meetings were held once to twice a week. We started by documenting the current state of our interview process and identifying areas of improvement based on both candidate and hiring manager input.
We looked at each step of the process and identified what interviews were crucial to execute a successful hire for Appirio. Cultural alignment is just as important to Appirio as competency, so we identified up front that we needed both a cultural and competency assessments. We also feel it’s important for our hiring managers to be involved and the candidate to meet a team in-person. We streamlined the process from on average of 10-14 interviews to 8; which consists of a recruiter screen, cultural interview, competency interview, hiring manager, and then in-person interviews (4 interviews are held during the in-person). In order to provide consistency, we clearly defined what makes a thriving “Appirian” (cultural alignment). Additionally, we worked with each team to create competency interview guides to go with their area(s) of the business. As a result, interviewers now have a guide to leverage when conducting cultural and competency interviews versus just asking whatever questions they feel is best. Additionally, we also streamlined our interviewer feedback evaluations in our ATS to match the specific interview and area of business. Prior to this change, we had one evaluation in our ATS that asked our interviewers to evaluate on trust, professionalism, and grey matter for every interview. The implementation of the Thriving Appirian and competency guides also aided in our efforts to reduce unconscious bias as our interviewers are no longer relying on “gut instincts.”
We also evaluated our systems and tools to determine:
- Do we have the right tools?
- Is there anything that would help provide a better experience to our candidates as well as help us make better hiring decisions?
We looked at a wide variety of video platforms that would provide both one-way and two-way video interviews, but due to the inability to integrate with our ATS, and the experience level of candidates we are interviewing, we determined that one-way interview interviewing was not a current fit, but something we will continue to evaluate. At the time, two-way video interviews were part of our process using Google Hangouts, however, we would run into a significant amount of technical issues as there was not one direct link for both the candidate and interviewer to click on and bring them into the interview. This was causing an array of issues often resulting in rescheduling the interview. After much research and working with our IT team, we were able to implement a new Google Hangout process, which allows anyone to join by directly clicking on the link. This resolution saves time and resolves the technical issues.
While we were finishing up the core project, we put together an additional team to focus on the training to ensure adoption and that all team members understood the process from beginning to end. This team developed and rolled out a variety of training sessions to over 500 employees (41% of our employee base) consisting of in-person, virtual, with supplemental user guides. The training sessions were all conducted by our recruiting team members across our global locations. The training is ongoing and now we are working with our academy team to see how we can create drip campaigns and continuous training for those who first join Appirio as their career may evolve to a hiring manager. The training includes an overview of our process changes, how to use the new tools, and also a section on unconscious bias.
Through this implementation we have seen the following transformation and impact:
- Increased Global Net Promoter Score (NPS) to 35% YTD, compared to 27% in 2015.
- Streamlined our interview process which decreased the average days our candidates are in process by 9.5 days. In 2015, our candidates were in process on average for 43 days versus 33.5 days YTD globally out of 400 hires (including internals).
- When asked what we can improve in our process "No improvements" has increased to 29% of candidates selecting versus 22% in 2015.
- Decreased those selecting timeliness as an area of improvement to 20% YTD from 27% in 2015.
- Decreased those selecting communication as an area of improvement to 14% YTD from 18% in 2015.
- Have standardized culture and competency guides that allow our team to fairly and accurately assess talent which shifts focus to evaluate each candidate against the job and culture fit.
- Training on the new process allowed us to get in front of our interview teams to discuss unconscious biases to help reduce their unconscious biases going into the interview (educated them on unconscious biases that can creep into the interview process).
- Due to the unconscious bias training, we increased diversity in both gender and race/ethnicity year over year by 5% for our female employees and 4% for our non-white employees.
- Decreased the number of technical issues regarding video interviews allowing interviews to go the full allocated time and our Recruiting Coordinators to spend less time answering questions.
Feedback from our training sessions:
WHAT WE MISSED
Our interview revamp initiative and the processes embedded within are an evolution. While we have had great results in our implementation of the new process, there are some areas we could have had more focused on.
- Estimating the scope of the project. Truly understanding how large of an initiative transforming the entire interview process from beginning to end and breaking down all the components was could have helped us streamline the initiative further.
- Getting the right folks in the room. Ensuring we included all the right stakeholders and making sure that each global location was involved to ensure there is alignment across all teams could have helped us reduce time to launch.
- Deeper systems knowledge. Making sure we were working closely with our recruiting systems analyst to understand the limitations upfront of our technologies and what we could/could not update in the system.
- Getting in front of training. Thinking about training earlier in the project and getting help from our training department around timelines and delivery support. Our team did a great job with the training effort but to ensure you get complete buy-in from the greater team that training for this is a critical part of moving the interview philosophy at your company forward, especially when anyone at the organization could be considered an interviewer.
- Interviewer adoption and enablement. Our recruitment team worked with teams across Appirio to create guides and resources but we don’t believe they are being fully leveraged. We could have spent more time upfront understanding what they will use and how to enable tools that are easy resources for the interviewers.
Make sure you have the right team in place and the project lead as the bandwidth and ability to lead this large scale effort. There are many dynamics that you will come across you may not realize when you kick-off the project so making sure you buffer time into the project timeline for additional items that may arise. Ensuring you have clear and defined goals and expectations set at the beginning of the project is crucial to the project team understanding the overall focus and where they should be spending their time. Thinking through all that will need to happen if you are updating your technology.
Google Hangouts, Google Docs, HireRight, employeereferrals.com