Hiring Hacks: How Sift Science Tackled University Recruiting


The Hiring Hacks series continues to take off! In our latest webinar, Lynda Phan, Recruiter at Sift Science, explained how her team tackled university recruiting and provided helpful tips for companies looking to bring in the young talent that so many offices are fighting for. Here’s where you can begin.

The Sift Science Intern Program

Before Sift Science launched its university recruiting strategy, all interns came in from word of mouth, personal referrals, or agencies. The Sift Science recruiting team wanted a new and robust system that would bring them the same high caliber students they’ve had in the past. To do this on a larger scale, they launched Piazza, which helped them focus on machine learning interns. Sift Science now screens candidates quickly and effectively by looking at student profiles and examining what classes they are currently enrolled in.

When Lynda joined the Sift Science team, Greenhouse was already being used. She shared that they continue to use Greenhouse because of its ease of use and robust data. Integrated with Piazza, the recruiting team just clicks one button and the chosen candidates from Piazza go into the Greenhouse system. From there, she can see where the interns are getting stuck in the process, how successful the coding challenges are, as well learn why an intern declined an offer -  all yielding great insights into what types of interns are successful in Sift Science’s campus recruiting programs.

The Campus Recruiting Strategy

With the implementation of two robust systems in place, Sift Science wanted to focus on a strategy to effectively market themselves. To do this, they needed to get their name out there. In an ideal world, they would have gone to all career fairs and hand out swag to anyone and everyone.

Unfortunately that plan isn’t too realistic.

Being mindful of costs and your interviewer's time is key. Sift Science decided to look into the top 25 CS schools, and from there, they brought in the rest of the company to see who had ties to each University.

Another tip: make sure you’re taking into account which Universities are close to you. Leverage all of your resources!

Putting the Plan in Action

Once Sift Science narrowed down the campuses they were attending, they began to reach out to students and inform them when the team would be on campus, urging students to set up interviews well in advance. This type of strategy will help you be even more efficient and effective at University recruiting. It’s important to note while you’re on campuses, ask yourself what is working and what need to be improved upon. Sift Science had their own debrief and noticed that their engineering team was exhausted after these visits. Like any travel opportunity, you want to get the most out of each day. But it’s also important to have a good experience for your interviewing team. Make sure they are aware of the process, what the days will look like, and how many candidates they will be speaking to.

The same goes for the candidates. Providing an insightful and positive candidate experience for your potential interns is crucial. Make sure you’re asking them what they are looking for. Is it a startup or a large, more widely-known company? Most likely, when you find the candidate you want, five other companies will want her too. Set yourself apart and tell the intern what type of projects they will be working on in their first week. Explain what this internship will bring to them and what they can expect during their time there.

The Outcome

Sift Science has brought on great interns that really fit their team! This year they are bringing in six interns, two of which are returning, as well as four new grads, two of whom interned during the previous year. The good news is that whether it’s your first year launching your university recruiting initiative or you're a seasoned veteran, there is always room for improvement and each year will change. The key value to remember is to deep dive what worked well in the past. Who are the interns that show the most success at your company? Where are they coming from? What programs are you using to source them? Start early, and set goals and expectations not just for the recruiting team, but for your engineers as well. And have fun with it! As Lynda shared, campus recruiting is so very different than regular recruiting; it only happens once or twice a year, so make each visit count!

Want to hear more about Sift Science’s University Recruiting program? Listen to the recorded webinar here.

Greenhouse + FirstJob Webinar

 Image courtesy of The Furnace

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Recruiter Tips