Thumbtack's Unique Recruiting Culture

December 4, 2014
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Thumbtack is the Yellow Pages of the modern era. The platform connects over 75,000 service professionals to millions of projects, and over $1 billion worth of jobs, annually. Although Thumbtack is sometimes referred to as "the biggest startup you've never heard of," this is only the beginning for the company, which recently received a $100 million investment from Google Capital.

So, with nearly $150 million in pocket, what's the biggest priority at Thumbtack? Recruiting, of course. 

What really makes the leadership at Thumbtack stand out is its commitment to recruitment. Beyond tapping into their own networks, the founding team has built a recruiting culture from the very beginning. Here's how.

How Thumbtack Is Building A Recruiting Culture

1. Tie Recruiting to Company Success

Thumbtack's company topline goals always include a hiring number, something the team measures and tracks weekly. 

Marco Zappacosta, CEO and Co-Founder says that the team quickly realized that one of the most important drivers for growth was actually the ability to recruit. "So we make sure that we focused on that as a core driver of our success." They added recruiting performance to the executive meeting KPI doc, so the recruiting funnel and pipeline get looked at every week.

After each meeting, they send out summary notes to the entire company, with recruiting metrics at the top of the list. This communicates the importance of recruiting and to what level the executive team values the function. It also holds the company accountable for recruiting objectives.

2. Set and Assign Recruiting Goals

To meet their goals, they communicate that recruiting is everybody's job, sometimes assigning quarterly hiring goals to each department. Last quarter, some open jobs were assigned outside of a department. For example, the marketing team was responsible for helping fill engineering jobs. 

"Recruiting volumes of people is not the goal. Instead, we go through a very rigorous process to determine exactly which of our highest priority hires are going to be for that quarter. And then we turn the entire resources of the company at that list," Co-Founder Sander Daniel tells us. 

3. Create An Effective Referral Program

The best hires come through referrals - so to generate high-quality prospects quickly, Thumbtack launched an impressive referral program. The person who submitted the most referrals was awarded a trip to anywhere in the world. 

Instead of incentivizing each submission with a small bonus, the referral program turned into a fun, company-wide competition, with the winner receiving a large prize. 

4. Improve the Recruiting Process

The team analyzes recruiting data to see where they can improve the process.

"The only way to rigorously and consistently improve anything is to first measure and track it, so you know how you’re doing. We do that with recruiting more than anything else, says Co-Founder Jonathan Swanson. "And having that data at every step of the funnel is very important to improving along the way."

Marissa Huang, the Director of Talent, tracks conversion metrics at each stage of the hiring process. "So anytime there’s something that’s a little off in our conversion metrics, we’ll look more deeply into the data and correct."

Data also helps the team make smart decisions on where to spend money when sourcing candidates. "We’ve been able to track all the different sources of our candidates and how far along they make it in the process. And that’s been really helpful in figuring out where we should invest our resources."

5. Use The Right Tools

The Thumbtack team uses Greenhouse to help support and enable its recruiting culture.

"Greenhouse encourages a great recruiting culture at Thumbtack, it gets everyone involved because the process is so easy, it creates alignment across all the teams, and most importantly it provides the data that you need so that you can present it to the team and make smart decisions moving forward" says Marissa.

Learn more about how Thumbtack uses Greenhouse to build a recruiting culture by watching the video below:

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