How Kabbage Defines Their Ideal Candidate

The standard job description has been around for decades. As a recruiter, the following scenario isn't uncommon: An open role is approved for you and your hiring manager, so you search online for job descriptions that best match what you’re looking for.

Then, you may begin to repurpose a variety of old job descriptions only to find that the end product just looks like a long list of buzzwords with no insight into what the role is and what type of candidate would be successful.

In our latest Hiring Hacks webinar, we spoke with Barrett Gaines and Jeff Eisenberg, two Senior Recruiters at Kabbage, a financial technology startup named a Glassdoor 2017 Best Place to Work

Below, they take us through how they define their ideal candidate and how they’ve revamped the standard job description process. Read on to learn three exercises that will help you get your ideal candidate’s attention.

Identify Your Company Values 

In order to get candidates interested, you need to share why the candidate would want to work at the company in the first place. Jeff goes on to explain that a company’s value is far more than just a generic recruitment poster on the wall. 

The values that you choose for your company should be personal, authentic, and showcase what makes your company special. For the Kabbage team, they’ve identified five core values. 


These values are part of who they are. They want candidates, customers, and investors to understand what their company represents. They’ve done this by making their company visible, for example, it's one of the first tabs on the company’s website

Enable Hiring Manager & Recruiter Alignment

Now, this can be tricky. Time is precious and finding time with your hiring manager isn’t always easy, especially if they aren’t in the same office. Jeff and Barrett explain that this is one of the most important steps. 

It’s your job as a recruiter to play detective. Become an extension of your hiring manager’s team and start by meeting with them for one hour (virtually or in-person) to understand their key questions upfront.

Here are questions you should ask in your next kick-off meeting with your hiring manager:

  1. What’s the team structure currently like?
  2. What are the talent gaps?
  3. What does the ideal candidate look like?
  4. What are the three key projects this candidate will be working on?  
  5. What’s the elevator pitch? Why should they be excited for this role and want to work for you?
  6. What are the three burning questions you’d like to ask the candidate? (With this one, tell the hiring manager that you'll go ahead and ask these questions during the phone screen. This is helpful when assessing if this candidate should move onto the next phase in the interview process.) 

Create Appealing Job Descriptions

At this point, you've a detailed understanding of your company’s core values and you’ve met with your hiring manager to outline the ideal candidate. Now, it’s time to put together a job description.

Again, we can all repurpose old job descriptions, but what’s important here is that your job description is a selling point. It’s a candidate’s first impression. Plus, a clear and concise job description helps you filter out the good candidates from the not-so-great.

From an internal perspective, employees that are asked to be interviewers and aren’t close to the role are also looking at the job description. You want to make sure they have the right information to better assess the candidate.

So, how do you go about doing that? 

Kabbage creates clear sections in the job description and never has more than five bullet points in one section. Here's a template:

  1. The Mission: This allows the candidate to focus on what they’d be trying to solve at your company.
  2. The Outcomes: Outline the goals and objectives here and address the tasks that this applicant would accomplish by day 90.
  3. The Behavioral Fit Competencies: This provides insight around the qualities needed to achieve the outcomes.
  4. The Technical Competencies: This section details what technology experience and expertise is needed for the role.


As you think about the open roles you’re filling, evaluate and audit what your job descriptions look like right now. Have you found it difficult to fill certain roles? If so, start by A/B testing current listings against those that are shorter but clearer. 

As Barrett says, “If you don’t have the right bait, how will you get the right fish?”

Want to dive even deeper and learn what Kabbage is doing to make their employee experience award-winning? Register below to listen! 

Casey Headshot

Casey Marshall is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Greenhouse. She teams up with Greenhouse partners and customers to tell a story and share insights into ways companies can improve their recruiting. She loves that this job allows her to build relationships with thought leaders and showcase how innovative companies are changing their recruiting approach. Connect with Casey on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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