Tony T, People Analytics & Insights, San Francisco

 Our “DocuSign Innovates” blog series places the spotlight on employees and teams who create and innovate in many different and unexpected ways. Some build cool tools, analyze data or and write code in new ways. Others may redesign product and processes or create clever marketing campaigns. Still others may figure out a way to make a positive impact on the communities in which we live and work. We’d like to celebrate those individuals and teams here. This week we sat down with Tony Truong, People Analytics & Insights in San Francisco to learn more about how he innovates in his role.

What are the challenges of recruiting for a hyper-growth company like DocuSign?

We can be so focused on hitting our gross hiring and headcount goals that we forget to recognize the other wins and quantifiable efforts that lead up to hitting those numbers.

In 2015, you got some feedback from the recruiting team. Can you tell us more about that?

If I were to boil it down to three words I’d say: feedback, development and recognition. Recruiters told us they were only getting feedback during the annual performance reviews. The team wanted to continue to grow and develop, but they weren’t getting enough feedback to know how they were doing. And the team felt we were so focused on hitting our numbers in recruiting that we didn’t recognize the efforts behind the results enough.

After receiving that feedback, what did you do?

We decided to rethink how we define success and measure it. Before, we’d look at all the recruiters and how many hires they’d done. But in today’s recruiting, we know all jobs aren’t the same — an engineering hire is different from a sales hire is different from an HR hire. We created a new approach with points based on the level of difficulty and on the source of hire.

What specifically does the recruiter scorecard measure?

There are three components of the scorecard: First, there’s the leaderboard which measures the recruiter’s ability to deliver results and hit a target number. Second, the candidate experience score which measures the recruiter’s ability to deliver a great candidate experience. And finally, the hiring manager experience which measures the recruiter’s ability to serve his or her client – the hiring manager. We apply equal weight to each of these component scores to get to the total “Recruiter Love Score.” We decided to brand this metric the “Love Score” because it aligns with our philosophy to “Make the recruiter better.”

How did you come up with the name “Recruiter Love Score”?

We didn’t want people to feel like a number, and we wanted to change the philosophy that this is not something to measure you or penalize you. It’s more positive — an area for development. So if you have a low score, how can we work on certain areas to help you develop? How can we show you love?

The first component—the leaderboard — what does it measure?

A leaderboard is a scoreboard showing the rank order of competitors or salespeople;  in this case, it ranks our recruiters based on jobs filled. In most firms, recruiters are rewarded for the number of job openings they fill regardless of the difficulty of hire and source of hires. But intuitively we know that all hires are not equal, right? The recruiters liked it because it reassured them that we’re considering the nuances for each role.

Tell us about the second component – the candidate experience – how does it measure that?

First, we needed to define what a good candidate experience was to us. We decided it was a combination of the candidate receiving a great company overview, a thorough explanation of the position and interview process, as well as a timely follow-up by the recruiter. It’s also important that the recruiter and all interviewers treat the candidate with respect throughout the process no matter the outcome, so that ultimately, the candidate would recommend DocuSign as a place to work. We then developed a quick six-question survey to send to all onsite interview candidates. We use a five-point scale and also ask qualitative questions to get feedback on what the recruiter does well or could do better.

Have they found that useful?

Yes, they learn a lot. For instance, we hear that candidates really appreciate being walked around the office and introduced to people they might not even be interviewing with. They appreciate when the recruiter checks in to see if they need anything or a bite to eat if the day is going on longer than anticipated. Recruiters also hear how candidates almost gave up and took another job because the recruiter “went dark” for a week. It’s a good reminder to recruiters that they need to keep candidates informed even when our teams are travelling or getting offers ready.

That’s feedback from candidates. What about the hiring manager experience – how do you measure that final component in your scorecard?

Similar to the candidate experience, we first defined what a good hiring manager experience was to us. We decided it was a combination of the recruiter having a solid understanding of the role, providing timely follow-up, serving up quality candidates and screening them as well as filling the position in an acceptable timeframe.

And has that feedback from hiring managers been useful?

Recruiters received feedback from hiring managers in the past. But this new scorecard measures it both quantitatively and qualitatively. We find the feedback from hiring managers is more thoughtful and helps the recruiter focus on areas of development when they see patterns from a range of hiring managers. And recruiters get to see improvement over time and that makes them feel more successful and helps build relationships with hiring teams.

What has the overall response been?

It’s been very well received. The recruiters love it: They like being measured, they like the structured approach, and they like the feedback on each part of the scorecard and what they can do about it. And because it’s quarterly, it forces managers to have an ongoing feedback process with their employees, backed up by data. That’s the beauty of the whole thing. 

Has there been a variation in the scores since this has been introduced?

When we started out, I would say the scores were at their lowest. Then they gradually progressed upward throughout the year. Now that we have the data and we’re having conversations with recruiters and making adjustments, creating development plans on a quarterly basis, the scores have improved. Overall, there’s been a steady increase. The recruiters are just more diligent and more mindful. The data doesn’t make decisions, the people do.

And how does this help the company manage your large team of recruiters?

It’s nice to have a mechanism that helps us provide feedback in a consistent manner. What’s also fun is that recruiters who are exceptional in some areas can be tapped to mentor their colleagues or share their approach so that we can all get better faster. It stimulates great collaborative learning.

Is there something that you can identify in your team or at DocuSign that encourages this type of innovation?

We’re at an organization where feedback is valuable. People want to give feedback and they want to receive it. Our culture really encourages that level of transparency, and we do also have a culture of innovation — innovation of products and technology, but also experimenting with doing things differently. We have autonomy to think of new ideas, to test, and to experiment.