How we received 2000+ quality applications, in 4 weeks.
My title is somewhat misleading, I wouldn't necessarily consider all 2000 applicants to be 'high quality,’ but at least 150 were very strong engineers and designers. We only needed five new employees, so the number of applicants enabled us to be extremely selective.
In February, we launched our "Be A Part Of It" recruitment campaign which introduced four significant changes to our recruiting process with amazing results!
COMPETING WITH LARGE RECRUITING TEAMS
Squarespace was tasked with doubling our workforce this calendar year, a massive undertaking that would make any recruitment team excited and nervous. Engineering hiring is especially tough, as we are competing for applicants with very large and established software companies who employ an army of sourcers and recruiters (our own technical recruiting team is only two strong).
By the end of January, we were still a few hires short of the targets we had set for ourselves. That's when we started to think creatively about ways to get our message out there.
SQUARESPACE - A PART OF NYC
Squarespace is lucky to have its home in New York City, and our employees’ values are often aligned with the merits of this city. We attract the type of person who feels very comfortable and engaged by living in NYC: creative, design oriented, and imaginative.
We have our company roots firmly planted in the style, character, and imagination of New York. We wanted our campaign to emphasize that close relationship.
CHANGING THINGS UP - A FEW RADICAL RECRUITMENT CHANGES:
1. We started by targeting people outside our normal candidate pool. Instead of focusing primarily on New York based candidates, we shifted our focus to candidates from other cities, designing a campaign just for them that highlighted the merits of Squarespace’s relationship to New York City. Anyone outside of the NYC Metro Area was encouraged to participate.
2. We encouraged candidates to really experience NYC, not just Squarespace. Instead of flying the candidate in and out for the interview, we invited them to be New Yorkers for a long weekend. We booked them a stay at one of the city’s best hotels and invited them to check out some of our favorite places—compliments of Squarespace. Interviewees and their partners ate from the menu of celebrity chef Wylie Dufresne, enjoyed an evening at Smalls Jazz Club, visited The New Museum, and stayed at the SoHo Grand. We wanted to give candidates a taste of the city that made Squarespace possible.
3. We invited the spouse or partner of the candidate to come along! We paid for the spouses/partners of candidates we interviewed to join them on their trip to NYC. We wanted to acknowledge that candidates don’t make these important decisions on their own, partnerships and families are a big part of the process. I know this first-hand, having been recruited from Australia just a few months ago. When I was looking for a job, it wasn’t only me making the decision, it was just as much my wife.
4. We also encouraged external people to refer a friend, furthering excitement and the campaign’s momentum. This referral process spread our message to a wider audience via connections and social media. A lot of people found out about the campaign through friends.
BIG RESULTS: HIGH QUALITY CANDIDATES FROM ACROSS THE STATES AND BEYOND.
The campaign proved a massive success. Within four weeks we had over 2000 applications and referrals from candidates from all across the US and from countries like Australia, the UK, and Canada. Many of the applicants worked at well-known companies in Silicon Valley, Seattle, LA and Chicago.
We filled our additional five positions with relative ease and we're looking forward to next quarter.