The Squarespace Formula for a Successful Recruiting Campaign

May 12, 2015

In 2014, Greenhouse customer Squarespace had 200 staff members and was looking to more than double its workforce -- no small undertaking. The team now counts almost 500 employees.

Hiring great engineers is especially tough, as Squarespace competes for applicants with very large and established software companies who employ an army of sourcers and recruiters. Compare this to the Squarespace technical recruiting team, which is only three people strong.

Last year, the company launched “Be a Part of It,” allowing engineers to experience NYC when they interviewed with Squarespace. Hugely successful, the recruiting campaign drew over 2000 applicants, five of whom were ultimately hired. This year the program was expanded, and now operates under the name NYCommit. In this post, we dive into the Squarespace formula for launching a successful recruiting campaign.

Align the campaign with your company’s story

“Centered in vibrant SoHo, we have our roots firmly planted in the style, character, and imagination of New York. We wanted to both celebrate and showcase the city that has made Squarespace possible." - Joris Luijke, VP of People

squarespace1Each company has a different story to tell. This campaign sought to highlight Squarespace’s roots and its alignment with its home base. A great campaign captures part of the culture, the humor and the story of the company.

Squarespace encourages candidates to really experience and immerse themselves in the activities and culture of NYC. Instead of flying the candidate in and out within a 24-hour timeframe for an interview, Squarespace invites potential new hires for a long weekend in New York, complete with a stay in one of the city’s best hotels and Squarespace curated places and events. 

Another example of such alignment is Ikea’s Career Assembly Instructions, which reaches potential candidates through their own customers. Their campaign perfectly matched the DIY culture

Include a ‘Remarkable’ Message

Seth Godin explains that many organizations have great ideas. If you get your idea to spread, you will win (even if your idea is similar to your competitors’). Hiring is no different. Talent hunting through search is inevitably constrained by the size of your team or their search capability and experience. But it doesn’t have to be a handicap. Even a smaller recruitment team can get their message to spread, and thereby beat out the competition.

Your campaign should grab the attention of a talented engineer who may be outside your network, your town, your state or even outside your country.

Besides providing a great long-weekend experience, Squarespace cleverly invites the spouse or partner of the candidate to come along:

“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 in 2013. When I was considering moving for a new job, it wasn’t only me making the decision, it was just as much my wife." - Joris Luijke, VP of People

Another great example of a ‘remarkable’ message was Redgate's 10 geeks in 5 weeks campaign. In 2010 Redgate gave a free iPad to anyone who was invited for an interview. The campaign got a lot of attention resulting in a fantastic outcome.

Prepare for Scale

To manage the large influx of applications, Squarespace switched applicant tracking systems from Jobvite to Greenhouse to boost effectiveness measurement and allow for better candidate prospecting.  

The team also developed an online coding test to quickly assess coding skills on the front end of the process.

Create a Landing Page

No campaign is complete without a landing page to explain the program and relay your key messages. The Squarespace recruiting team used one of their own templates to whip up a great looking site.

Another example of an effective landing page was the successful Europe, We’re Coming to Steal your Geeks campaign page launched in 2012 by Atlassian.

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