Rollbar Goes Remote - Recruiting From Home

March 23rd, 2020 • By Alex Moraca

In the face of the coronavirus outbreak and sudden shift to working from home, Rollbar moved our entire recruiting process to function in a remote capacity in two days. Here's how we did it.

Starting Point: Assessing Current Tools and Processes

We prioritize in-person meetings for our final interview stage when possible, so most of our processes in place were set up for face to face meetings. For a fully remote panel, with a candidate, interviewers, and recruiting team all in different locations, we were concerned about glitches and confusion. Our strategy focused on anticipating the needs of both parties and be proactive in our communication so that both parties felt prepared for the interview.

Here are some of the main gaps we found in our process when moving to fully remote panels:

  • Candidate instructions and process: did not address unique situations for virtual interviews i.e. what to do when glitches occur, how to ask for breaks, how we use Zoom for panel interviews
  • Team member panel instructions and process: did not address unique situations for virtual interviews i.e. ensuring panel knows the full lineup on the day of, how to handle a smooth virtual handoff, how to communicate with the team
  • Tools and technology: no virtual whiteboard for coding interview

Filling the Gaps

In addressing these issues, our overarching goal was to ensure a continued positive experience and ensure that the panels were as effective as they would otherwise be as face to face meetings for both candidate and interviewer. Day 1 of remote work was a busy day for our talent team. Some of our immediate interventions were:

  • Updating candidates previously scheduled to come onsite regarding the changes
  • Creating Zoom links in calendar invites with a single ID for the entire length of the panel
  • Creating new guidelines and instructions for interviewers and candidates
  • Initiating Slack channels to form open lines of communication
  • Setting up a company Coderpad account and integrating it with our Applicant Tracking System
  • Hosting a company training for Coderpad for the engineering team

Making The Process Easy For Interviewers

On the interviewer's side, our guidelines helped ensure interviewers were aware of the need to coordinate with the full team and focus more on the candidate experience. The instructions now sent out before each interview include the following -

  • Be sure to take note of where you are in the lineup - i.e., who is before you and after you in the schedule, so that you know who to coordinate with when joining/leaving.
  • Please be ready to join at your start time, but please wait for the previous interviewer to ping you on slack before joining so as not to interrupt if they are a few minutes over.
  • For the handoff to the next interviewer: ask the candidate if they are ready for the next meeting or if they need a break to get water/use the restroom etc. If they are ready, ping the next interviewer in the slack channel

Improving the Candidate Experience

On the candidate side, we hoped that these smooth transitions and being mindful of candidate's needs would help them feel at ease. Many candidates were understanding and very grateful for the change to remote, to avoid additional exposure to COVID-19 and did not have to delay the interviewing process either. Our core guidelines for candidates -

  • You will use the same meeting ID for all of your calls on Friday, you can remain in the meeting room, and your interviewers will join in succession.
  • If the call is dropped or ends unexpectedly, you can rejoin by clicking the same link.
  • If you need a break in between any of the panel members in order to get water, use the restroom/etc. please let them know! They will give the next panelist a head's up and let them know when to join.

Outcomes and What's Next?

Our first remote panel was on Day 2 of remote work - and the team was pleased with the outcome. Regarding our stats: we completed 5 interview panels for 4 separate roles and made 2 offers during the first work week. As of now, one of these offers has been accepted, and the new hire candidate is scheduled to join next week!

Rollbar is now fully remote across all teams and locations. We’re continuing to leverage our new virtual interview format as COVID-19 continues to spread globally. With input from our team and candidates, we're constantly refining our processes efforts to continue hiring the best staff across the world.

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