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Providing a memorable candidate experience, attracting the right candidates, and building a strong employer brand has become even more difficult in the age of remote hiring.
Erika Thorson-Garay from LiveRamp has experience solving some of the biggest tech recruitment challenges in the current environment so we spoke with her to learn more about how LiveRamp has solved some of these problems.
Previously working for such companies as Bank of American and Target, Erika is currently the Head of Global Talent Acquisition at LiveRamp – a San Francisco-based SaaS company offering a leading data connectivity platform. During her career, the team at LiveRamp grew from 450 employees based in the US to 1,200 globally. “We went through a few acquisitions and we expanded into two separate regions in APAC and EMEA. I’m really proud of how much the entire team grew and how much my teammates contributed to that growth,” she says.
We asked Erika about her experience with transitioning from an employee-driven market to a pandemic-driven recruitment process and challenges associated with that transformation. Here’s what we’ve learned!
Competition Over Tech Talent
As Head of Global Talent Acquisition at LiveRamp, Erika manages a team of 20 people. A big part of that team supports the engineering side of the house. ”We have 4 recruiters and 4 sourcers dedicated only to our engineering department,” says Erika. “It’s because hiring a developer is usually a much longer and complicated process than hiring any other employee.” But the market in San Francisco is particularly saturated with tech companies fighting over the right talent.
How does LiveRamp make sure to stand out and attract top tech candidates? “We like to think that we’re different,” says Erika. “Our employees get to come in, create and leave their legacy in our organization. If you go to a big tech company, you will be one of the thousands of people doing the same job,” she adds.
Hiring developers takes numerous phone calls, a lot of networking, and multiple interviews. As a result, the entire hiring process may get extended, which not only generates costs but also increases the chances your candidate will accept an offer from a different company. “This is why Codility makes it much easier,” admits Erika. “Our candidates have a phone screen, then they take the test, come on-site for an interview with a hiring manager and they’re done. As soon as we find the right person, we hire that person to increase our chances of getting the best talent on the market.”
Recruiting Tech Talent Today
As remote hiring became the new normal, many companies needed to change not only internal processes but also people’s attitudes. “We had to change our hiring managers’ philosophy. Ten days before the official lockdown in San Francisco, we decided not to allow visitors or candidates in the office. We needed to convince our managers that it’s for the safety of all of us,” says Erika. “Three months ago our engineers required people to be in the office, so they could whiteboard and brainstorm things. And they had the biggest challenge to change that thinking,” she adds.
As much as the Talent Acquisition team expected the pushback, not one person did. “They understood the greatness of it,” says Erika. So now the Talent Acquisition started to adapt the entire recruiting process into a virtual standard, without compromising the candidate experience.
First of all, the tools they use became the key components of every recruitment process. In order to make sure this process is as smooth as possible, the team prepared a set of guidelines for their hiring managers. “We ask them to show-up on time, don’t cut off the candidates, and present themselves well during the interview,” says Erika. “We also prepared tips for our candidates prior to the interview. We ask they make sure the necessary tools are downloaded, their camera and microphone are working, be on time and most of all – try not to be nervous,” she adds.
If you’re a recruiter, you might want to get on a video conference 15 minutes before the interview to ensure that everything is working. If the candidate has to make a presentation, make sure he or she knows how to present it. Have a virtual greeting to calm their nerves and make sure they are ready to jump in. Pick up the phone instead of sending emails. These little things make a difference, can improve the candidate experience, and help avoid stressful situations.
“Candidate experience is really what drives me and my team,” says Erika. “Our candidates deserve respect and we want them to be excited about LiveRamp, impressed with our company, even if they don’t get the job. We get a lot of thank you notes for all that extra effort because our candidates didn’t know how to log into BlueJeans. If one person is saying that, probably 12 more are thinking that and that’s the sign you have to do something about it,” she adds.
Employer Branding in Remote Environment
Even if a company has a great product, it’s the people that really make it different. In a remote working environment, some of the companies may lose candidates if they don’t get to see the office and meet the team. LiveRamp tries to make that experience as personal and human as possible.
“One thing we realized is that we have a cool office space. So we decided to make the video walking around it – a virtual office tour,” says Erika. The team created a set of videos showing different amenities in San Francisco, New York, Arkansas, and Seattle. “It’s a simple presentation but it encourages our candidates to go and explore themselves,” she adds.
In order to improve the employer branding, even more, the team also makes sure to take time for informal meetings with potential candidates. “We can’t do coffee chats anymore, but we get on Zoom or Hangouts to do something casual in addition to the formal interviews,” says Erika. As a part of the recruitment process, everyone gets together on a happy hour to get to know each other and make sure that it’s a cultural fit.
Finally, let’s not forget about the onboarding. LiveRamp organizes 2 virtual days of online classes, sharing the history of the company, company values, benefits, and making sure everyone is set-up. “We ship the laptops the Friday before to make sure our new employees have time to familiarize themselves with the equipment, ask any questions, and just be prepared,” says Erika.
The Future of Tech Hiring
So what is the future of remote work and remote hiring? Are these trends here to stay?
“I think remote hiring is going to be a driving factor for changing how we live,” says Erika.
She predicts the trend will cut down the travel the candidates did before and cut down the commuting time. “College candidates who flew to the interview – now we can do it virtually so we cut down on emissions and have huge cost savings,” says Erika. “Most of all, the qualifications and skills will be more important than ever. We will be hiring based on evidence and hard data rather than individual impressions,” she adds.
If you’d like to learn more about LiveRamp’s approach to remote hiring, click here to access our webinar with Erika Thorson-Garay, the Head of Global Talent Acquisition at LiveRamp. In this webinar, you’ll learn the power of employer branding in the age of remote work and best practices on improving the candidate’s experience.