Cloudflare TV

Recruiting Corner

Presented by Anthony Pickersgill, Isabel Rodrigues, Akef Choudhary
Originally aired on 

In this session you will learn from our recruiters regarding the application process at Cloudflare. This will be a high level panel discussion where one of us will be host asking the other two recruiters about best practices.


Transcript (Beta)

Welcome, everyone. Welcome to our Recruiting Corner. And today we are going to talk about candidates experience.

So starting with the presentations, I can start with myself.

My name is Isabel. I'm a recruiter in the EMEA team. I'm based in Lisbon.

I joined Cloudflare in April this year, and I've been helping mostly with hiring in our teams in Lisbon, helping our Lisbon office to grow.

So I will pass it to my colleagues.

So I will go through the order that I'm seeing you on the screen. So Anthony, can you present yourself?

Yeah. Hi, I'm Anthony. I'm a recruiting coordinator based in London.

And at the moment, I take care of everything that happens across EMEA in terms of scheduling interviews.

So that's interviews that take place in our London office, Munich office, Lisbon office, and then sometimes people that might be based in a couple of other countries that we have folks based in EMEA.

Hey, thank you. Justin, would you go next? Hi, my name is Justin Zuniga. I'm the recruiting coordinator based in Austin, Texas, and I started this past March.

So right at the beginning of the pandemic. So I'm super excited to be on the panel today.

Good. And last but not least, Allie. Hi, everyone. I'm Allie Jamieson.

I'm also on the recruiting team and I'm based in San Francisco. I've been on the recruiting team for almost two years now, and I've been helping out with almost every team from marketing to security to executive roles.

And now I mostly help out with the intern program.

So I'm really excited to talk about Canada experience today.

Okay, great. So now that the presentations are done, we have a few topics that we would like to discuss today.

And first one, well, basically, it's importance of Canada experience itself.

So, Allie, I would love to have some of your thoughts on this.

So, on your opinion, why do you think that this is such a big topic?

Yeah, I think, I think Canada experience is so important because it's really our first opportunity to, you know, show Cloudflare's characteristics and the personality of Cloudflare through the recruiting process.

And so, you know, the head of recruiting, Scott Tomtania, always says that we're really looking for empathetic employees.

So I think Canada experience is really the first time we're able to show that empathy.

And so I think by giving a great empathetic experience and trying to relate to the candidates, that just gives an overall great view of what Cloudflare is like.

And so that's why I think just right off the bat, why Canada experience is really important.

Okay. And about that, Allie, do you think that in the end of the day, it can help, it can make a difference, helping the candidates making a decision if joining a company or not?

Yeah, absolutely. I think that there's so much that happens within Canada experience, especially when things were not remote, especially like when the candidate would come into the office, they, you know, immediately saw you, you showed them around the office and just made them really comfortable.

I think that that enables them to connect with Cloudflare and just kind of relax and just get to know the team in a, you know, in a much more like genuine organic way.

So I think that that has like a strong possibility of swaying a candidate.

I remember when I came in for my interviews, I met with a recruiting coordinator and she showed me all around the office.

She got me M&Ms.

She made sure I was very comfortable and it just, it didn't feel stale.

It felt very organic and it felt very just natural. And I think that just that feeling right off the bat carries into all of your other interviews.

And so I think it even makes you interview better in many cases.

Okay. And Justin, can you share also a bit of your thoughts on this on the subject?

Yeah, definitely. So I think kind of what Ellie was saying when she was mentioning empathy, I think the Cloudflare experience is really, it's really specific because I think the recruiting team curates a really thoughtful and deliberate candidate experience.

Because we want to make sure that candidate feels comfortable and we want to make sure that there's no rushing.

You know, on the employer side, we want to make sure that we're spending a huge amount of time learning about the candidate.

And then on that flip side, we want to make sure that the candidate is really getting to spend a lot of time getting to know the company, getting to know the hiring managers, the interview panelists, and everybody.

One good story that I can share is as a recruiting coordinator, someone who schedules these, I usually get a lot of responses back from the candidate saying, Hey, Justin, I'm super excited.

I really enjoyed meeting the hiring manager and the panelists. When is my next interview?

When is the next step? When can I like hear back? And it's a really good cultivation that we create because we're not rushing.

We're not wasting time.

And it is very thoughtful. We want to get to know the candidates. So when it comes to that decision day, when they're deciding on an offer, they can reflect on all of those experiences and really feel comfortable.

And hopefully this candidate experience, we've helped them kind of make an easier decision when choosing a company to grow with.

Okay, absolutely, absolutely. And Anthony, I would also love to hear a bit more about you.

We have been working a bit more in the EMEA side.

I know some of your stories already, but I was wondering if you could share your opinion and also some of the feedback maybe or some story that you have on your experience with the candidates.

Yeah, for sure. I mean, firstly, I can only echo what Justin and Ellie have said to this point.

I think all of those points are really valid.

We're definitely a thoughtful and empathetic company when it comes to our recruiting process and hiring process.

So I think all those things are massively a part of what we do and also what we put a lot of time into.

In terms of experience, there's a phrase that we use a lot in Cloudflare, which is like, it's just the right thing to do.

And I think it's a really good phrase, applies to lots of different things.

I think just making a really positive, personable hiring process is just the right thing to do.

We're working with people, not numbers.

And I hate to imagine that we'd ever just be trying to get people through the door and like, let's get through this application.

Yeah, this person in, out. I think we're really about getting to know the people.

And, you know, we pride ourselves on the products that we have and, you know, selling the products that we have and creating a really great customer experience with the people that are investing in our tools and our products.

So I think it only makes sense for us to do the same thing in our hiring process, because it kind of becomes one ethos and one way of thinking around all of our external kind of approach to people.

Because essentially, like a good candidate experience, it can make or break, you know, someone's decision on whether they take the job, but also it can make and break how people hear about us.

You're more likely to tell people about a bad experience that you've had than you are about a good experience.

It's just the way we think about things as people.

And so if we give someone a bad experience, they're going to hear about that and tell more about that than they are if they have a good experience.

So at least we know if we've given someone a good experience, we're not putting out stories about how things didn't work out with Cloudflare, for example.

So I think that's really important. And in terms of stories, I'm trying to think, I mean, I had a great onboarding process.

And like when I joined Cloudflare as well, you know, I was brought into the office and shown around.

Lee, who was my recruiter, was like really personable.

We spoke quite a few times on the phone.

And when I had questions, he was happy to pick up the phone, have a quick chat.

And I think just carving out time for candidates is something that I think our recruiting team and our coordination team is also really good at.

There's lots of different things I think we'll probably talk about a bit later that we've had to start doing recently with lockdown and the quarantine situation.

And a lot of that involves doing the extra effort and putting in extra time.

But we think it's really important to do that because it's that effort and that extra time that I think makes people feel really valued.

And that's the kind of value that they'll have placed in them when they join Cloudflare and become an employee.

So we kind of want them to start feeling like that now so that when they do join, that they kind of have already gotten a sense of what it's going to be like working here.

So yeah, I hope that answers the question. Yes, of course. That was such a great answer.

And it made me think of when you were talking about how much time we put into each candidate experience, how we don't do batch days and how larger companies like Facebook and Google, they do batch days.

And I remember when I first started, I thought I could fit two candidates in the same day for one team.

And immediately the feedback from the team is no, no, no.

We need all the time to get to be able to give our best to this one candidate and not worry about rushing into the next interview.

And so I think it was just kind of our, you know, our character not to do batch days in a way.

Yeah. And actually, you just also made me think about, obviously, I've forgotten about this because we haven't been doing it for a few months.

But there are definitely teams that I know that are based in London, especially, that will often go and have a coffee with the candidate or maybe go out and have some lunch with the candidate.

And they'll bring some of the wider team along.

And it's just an opportunity for the candidate to have like a kind of relaxed moment with the team, get to know people, have a chat, ask questions.

And it's like a totally non -voting situation. It's not about measuring the candidate.

Oh, they had chicken, so they're not a vegetarian. Should they join the team?

Not that at all. But I always just thought, what a nice opportunity to be able to go and just have some like downtime that just feels like a really honest way to get to know one another.

Sorry, there's a motorbike. Yes, I completely relate with what you guys are saying.

And I think that overall, one of the things that I feel since I, even before I started at Cloudflare on my own recruiting process, I think that there is a general concern that people feel welcome.

And each one of us, we received feedback from candidates. And one thing that I found impressive here at Cloudflare is the amount of times that I receive positive feedback of candidates who ended up not advancing on the process.

Because it's very easy to give positive feedback when everything is going right, but not so much on those cases, which I think it's a very good feedback to have.

So I think we should be doing something good.

So moving forward to the next topic, I also wanted to ask you, what do you do to ensure a great candidate experience?

So Justin, can you tell us a bit about that?

Yeah, I think as a recruiting coordinator, we do everything we can to make sure that the candidate is as comfortable as possible.

So it's a lot of communication from the early stages, you know, what works best for them, accommodating, lots of details.

And I'm sure that everybody knows because everything's virtual and we're at home, we'll go into this later.

But it's a lot of flexibility and adaptability that goes on to the recruiting side that we're very much happy to do because it enhances that experience.

I think as a coordinator, communication is important on both sides.

I think one thing that we do really well is just create an open channel of transparency.

And, you know, if the candidate is running late that day or they can't make it or they need something switched, they feel very comfortable reaching out to us and vice versa.

Like if the hiring manager or an interviewer needs to move it.

You just reminded me of an example.

We don't like, yeah, we don't like interviewing multiple people on the same day for the same team.

And an interviewer actually reached out to me and said, hey, like, I know this is a 30 minute call, but I love to spend 45 minutes or an hour with this candidate because we just had such a great conversation.

So it is a lot of adaptability and a lot of communication that happens on the coordinator side.

Anthony, can you talk a bit about your point of view also on this?

Yeah, I think firstly, like one of the things that we do as coordinators is, so I guess for people that don't know, recruiting coordinators support the recruiting team and kind of are the midpoint person.

We work with the interviewers, we work with the hiring managers, we work with the candidate and the recruiter and bring all those things together to kind of pull off panel interviews or the general interview schedules for the candidates.

And it just means that we can kind of support the really specific scheduling kind of piece when it comes to candidates.

But then we also really take on the additional extra kind of focus on the candidate experience because we're normally the ones greeting candidates and that kind of thing when they arrive on the site and are there to give them a break if they need to have a break and show them around the office or where to grab a coffee that's nearby.

So I think just having such a focus on candidate experience makes us look at things with a more inquisitive eye.

And like one really great example I can think of is quite often out of a really great want for candidates to meet as many people in the team as possible, we sometimes find that hiring managers will create panels that have got lots of people in them and can end up being quite long panels, quite tiring.

And, you know, sometimes I'll see a panel that's been set up and I might just take time to question the recruiter or the hiring manager about how much we need to have all those people on the panel.

Can, you know, two things we brought together, are we definitely using each interview to get specific knowledge from the candidate and specific insight into their experiences and not doubling up on that kind of look, I guess, in that search because we also want to make sure that the candidate is able to perform at their best.

And I think if someone's doing six, seven, eight interviews in a day, they're going to be totally fatigued, they're not going to perform at their best.

I know even after doing this call, I'm going to be tired and that's only half an hour.

So I think just things like that, which I think we have the capacity and the time to just put in like that extra thought when recruiters are running to make sure that they can get everything happening and they're thinking about things to do with, you know, discussing things like comp and offers and that kind of thing with candidate, it gives us the ability to really focus on thinking about what that candidate is going to have in terms of their experience.

And then I guess the other thing that we kind of share with the recruiting team is just a real commitment to the training of our interviewers, making sure that they understand what they're doing when they go into the room.

I always think about interviews as quite strange things because we spend all this time setting them up and then we shut the door and like leave the candidate there and sometimes I feel like a parent, like leaving a child in a room.

You know, I scheduled this and I worked with this candidate all this time to get it happening and then I just put them in the room and leave them.

Ellie's laughing, she knows what I mean.

Go, good luck. But I think sometimes we don't have exposure to what happens in that room.

And the only way of knowing if a candidate has had a good experience and if an interviewer has interviewed well is how well the feedback is written from the interviewer.

So we definitely make sure that we spend time training our interviewers so that during that time they know firstly what's legal and what's compliant and what they should and shouldn't be asking during that interview because there are loads of protected characteristics, for example, that people shouldn't be asking about.

But also that they're making best use of the time, they're giving the candidate the space to ask questions, they're introducing themselves and explaining how they fit in with the role the candidate's applying for and loads of various other things that come up in the training.

So I think making sure that the candidate comes first is something that we really do.

And that makes a really good experience for the candidate.

Yeah, definitely. And still on this on this topic, Ellie, I would also love to hear you on what do you think that in the end of the day, because as especially on your side, sometimes there are those little details.

That's no one seems to think about, but in the end of the day, they ended up making such a huge difference.

So I would also love to hear your opinion on that on what do you think that's ends up making that difference.

Yeah, absolutely.

Um, well, first of all, I think that a great RC is someone sorry RC is recruiting coordinator is someone who has strong intuition, and they can anticipate well and so it all ties in with like just strong foundational skills for being a people centric person.

And so I think giving someone a great candidate experience is anticipating all those little things.

If you put your yourself in their shoes, and you walk into a company and you're interviewing like what would you need, what would you want.

And so for the little things that would be, you know, having, you know, water bottles in the interview rooms, having someone friendly greet you make you, you know, ease you because everyone shows up to interviews nervous.

I mean, you can do 1000 interviews and you will still be nervous. And so I think just having someone to quickly like chat with you about your day chat with you about the weather, it can be anything but it just automatically calms those nerves a bit and I think that's so helpful.

And then I think, you know, it can be as like detailed as like the temperature in the room, making sure it's not too hot and sure it's not too cold, things like that all make a great candidate candidate experience.

And so, you know, I think it's just constantly putting yourself in other people's shoes.

Definitely. So, moving to towards to to to another to another topic, I think that one of the challenges that Cloudflare such as some other companies also had was to pass to a completely remote environment with this current situation.

And here at Cloudflare, we have this this culture of being at office at receiving candidates at the office.

So in terms of interview process, this actually changed drastically.

So, Anthony, on your own experience, can you tell me a bit more about the changes that had to be made?

Yeah, for sure.

And we really pride ourselves on writing great emails to our candidates and prepping them from the recruiting side and being really personable and chatting to them from the recruiting coordinator side, but sometimes moving to a remote process means that everything has to be over email and everything is text based and you're sending, you know, reams and reams of words to people.

And I think sometimes it can be a bit daunting for candidates to see all of this kind of information written out.

And one of the things that kind of came to mind for me was trying to find a way of giving candidates some of the information that they need to know around, like connecting to the various video calls that they're going to have.

And also just kind of like the familiar face that they would have gotten on the day that they arrive into the office, they get to meet us and see what we look like and sound like.

And so I thought it'd be a good idea to put together like a short good luck video that we can send out to candidates on the morning of their interviews.

And that just kind of sets them up for success, tells them, oh, this is how you'll join.

You know, our video links are internal only, so you click onto the link and just hold and someone will let you into the call.

And then also it was just a chance to say like, I want to wish you all the best of luck, please reach out to me, my phone number's in my email, sign off, like feel free just to give me a call if you need anything.

And after doing that and sending those out to people on like their interview day when they have like a full panel, for example, I started seeing more and more candidates replying and being like, oh my goodness, thanks so much.

This is such a nice touch. Oh, you put me at ease.

Oh, it's great to see you. And every single person talks about the bike in the background.

Like I can't ever move this bike now because it's become like such a talking point in like Zoom calls.

It's literally a staple. Someone was like, oh, wow, that's a cool piece of artwork.

And I was like, oh, it's just a bike and it's the only place I can keep it where it's going to be safe and not get rusty in what is always rainy in London.

So yeah, so I think like putting in this, like Ellie said, anticipating that candidates might really enjoy having a moment to just stop, listen, get that information and not have to read through it all.

And also just get to see us and another face that they'll meet and a friendly hello, I guess.

So that's something that I thought would be a really great thing to build in and most of us in the RC team now have built that into our process and have seen like loads of responses and great results from people saying it was a nice thing to hear.

It really was. Yeah, I think the good luck video in a way, excuse me, takes like place of someone greeting you at the door.

And it's just like, it's kind of like that one extra touch.

And so, sorry, I think it's super helpful as well.

From my perspective, just making things smooth, moving to remote, I think it really is simple.

You know, it's just what the candidate needs.

So the candidate needs the connection to work, obviously, which we can't control.

But we can make sure that people on our end are checking their Wi-Fi beforehand, making sure that every Google Hangouts link is the same so that the candidate doesn't need like five different links to join, making sure who they're talking to, what positions those people are.

And so just giving them, you know, even more information than before, I think has been really good for this transition.

And I think we'll, you know, we'll be creative and come up with even more ways to make it somehow less, you know, like video and more in person.

But I think we've done a really good job so far.

Justin, what do you think? Because Justin also started when everything was moving to remote anyways.

So I think, you know, this has been your entire experience.

Yeah, I've only known remote. I've never met another like Cloudflare human.

So yeah, I think, all jokes aside, I think the whole theme of like this episode is candidate experience.

And we keep saying the phrase candidate experience.

And I think for me, really what that comes down to in my line of work as a recruiting coordinator is treating other people like humans and treating other people like how you would want to be treated.

And kind of like Ellie said, I started at the beginning of March, right when everything was making the shift to virtual onsites.

So I think it's just really having that empathy and compassion for other people.

We're all stuck at home. Everybody's interviewing from home. That means that people, you know, have their families at home.

They don't have an office.

They don't have a real space to connect, an interview and set a strict time.

So a lot of the time it's me connecting with candidates and saying, hey, you know, like I have to pick up my kid from this or I have this responsibility or have life, you know, like I have dogs, pets.

Everything is, it's the new normal, you know.

So I think really as a recruiting coordinator, I just have those conversations of transparency with the candidates and being like, hey, you know what, we have a four hour interview panel scheduled.

I get it. We're all living life right now.

Let's break that up over the course of maybe two or three days.

And it's really having that flexibility that I take pride in and I really carry with me when I think about candidate experience.

So that's why I'm navigating working from home and working virtually.

Yeah, I'm sorry. I just have one example.

I know we're close on time. But one thing that stood out to me when this all happened, I work a lot with the product design team and we had a candidate who had a small child.

And of course, like needed to be attended to during the interview.

And so our product design hiring manager was like, just take your child, put them on your lap and do the interview.

And he did the entire interview.

And he sent us a note after and was like, thank you so much for being, you know, cool about that.

And it made me relax a lot more. So I think that that's helpful too.

And that's actually, Ali, bring us closer to our next and final topic.

We only have a few minutes to talk about it. But yeah, time flies when we are talking.

But let's go to our final topic. And I would like to hear this from each one of you.

So maybe starting with with you, Ali, on your opinion, what do you think that makes Cloudflare stand out?

Yeah, I think I mean, there, there are many reasons that I think Cloudflare stands out.

But within the recruiting process, I think we do.

So every full time employee, you go through a normal round of interviews.

And then at the very end, when most companies would give you, you know, the thumbs up or the thumbs down.

This is the opportunity that Cloudflare takes for someone from the executive team to get to know you.

And so what we call that as a final call.

And so either our CEO, our COO, our head of people, our CTO will call you personally, and just talk to you for 20 to 30 minutes.

And I always say that this is less of an interview, and just more of a time to connect with these people and get to know their vision.

And that is just so unique. Talking from a personal experience, I was interviewing for Cloudflare, as well as another company.

And you know, I loved it here, but I was kind of leaning towards the other opportunity.

And I had that final call, and it just sealed the deal for me. I was like Cloudflare all the way 100%.

And so I think that really is something different.

And it attracts also, I think, you know, the strongest and most qualified candidates.

So I think it's a really good opportunity for us. What about you, Justin?

What do you what do you think? Yeah, I think there's a lot of things that stick out.

For me, I think whether you're an employee or a candidate, Cloudflare is really good at transparency and not keeping information from people.

You know, I think Cloudflare really values learning and continuous learning.

So I think from a candidate standpoint, one of the great things we have is our Cloudflare blog.

So you can always go on there.

And if you want to learn things, there's always things to learn.

There's updates. And we also have Cloudflare TV. So what you're watching right now at home, this whole idea of innovation, it's something that we're bringing to, you know, candidates, people around the world, current employees, people who aren't in the office anymore.

I think Cloudflare does a really good job of bridging that gap of connectivity when we're all stuck at home with either the blog or Cloudflare TV.

So we are just about to end. But Anthony, can you give us your opinion in one minute?

I guess for me, like the one thing that ends a recruiting process is the beginning of your time with that company.

And I think we can all of us will have experienced this, like the onboarding experience at Cloudflare for me is like second to none.

And so many people come out of their first week saying that. You get some real like authentic time with senior members of the team who will talk to you about all the different kind of areas of Cloudflare.

You learn so much. And like the idea is that you leave that week and you could tell someone about Cloudflare in a lift in a minute.

And you'd be able to explain what we do, how we do it and why we do it.

OK, so I think that we are all aligned in our opinions. From what I see, we are coming to an end.

So thank you for everyone who joined us today.

Thank you all. Always a pleasure. A pleasure talking with you and see everybody in our next recruiting corner.

Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you. Bye.

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Recruiting Corner
Join Cloudflare's global Recruiting team as they discuss our open roles and company culture, while helping prospective employees put their best applications forward.
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