How Eventbrite attracts & hires the best technology talent

Eventbrite, the world’s largest self-service ticketing platform for live experiences, employs a unique approach to talent acquisition in order to attract and hire the best software developers, according to its director of recruiting, Mike Bailen.

This approach is based on establishing and cultivating relationships with talent and is more akin to lead generation marketing, he said.

The first step in this process has been to define the key attributes of what makes employees successful at Eventbrite in terms of skills, culture and values fit, and put this together with where the business is looking to grow in the future.

“We’re looking at what roles are critical to the organisation and what skill sets we need, or might we need six months from now, that we don’t have,” he said. “With that in mind we can start to identify those skills early, as opposed to reactive recruitment.

“This way we don’t have to wait three months for a role to get approved, so we can start to identify where those pockets of skills lie early, what companies have those skills, and how we can strike up conversations with the people with those skills today.”

Eventbrite is also in the process of mapping out software engineers in various markets (with a focus on San Francisco, where its headquarters are located) for inclusion in its candidate database, and each potential candidate is shortlisted based on particular attributes that Eventbrite is seeking from a skill set perspective.

“Maybe they had a certain length of tenure at their past companies, or they’ve done some really interesting projects or work where we could benefit from having them on our team,” said Bailen, who explained that the company then takes a targeted approach to establishing and cultivating relationships with potential employees to develop multiple touchpoints with the right talent before an opening even comes up.

“This way we don’t have to wait three months for a role to get approved, so we can start to identify where those pockets of skills lie early”

Eventbrite runs its own software engineering blog where it talks about unique coding challenges and opportunities associated with some of its work, and sends emails out with the latest news and developments in the company.

These are tracked to look at who is opening the emails and clicking on specific links to learn more about Eventbrite and opting in for more communications in the future, and Bailen said the focus of these emails is not necessarily about jobs, but more about developing touchpoints with potential talent.

Eventbrite then takes a more targeted approach and directly invites developers it has earmarked to company-run events (last year it hosted 108) at its headquarters, or its own engineers (or Britelings, as they’re known internally) might host a game night, hackathon or particular activity that is more interesting to engineers.

This provides the company with an opportunity to strike up more personal conversations with candidates and get a feel for how they might work side by side with other team members.

“We’ll look at who’s registering for the event, who attends and who doesn’t show up, and how the conversations went. So we’re being very thoughtful about these touchpoints before we get to more specific ones such as meeting them one-on-one over lunch or having them in for a chat over coffee,” said Bailen.

“We’ll get them to meet with an engineer or maybe our hiring manager, and have a chat about some of the challenges we’re facing and try and see if they show some behaviours that might signal that they’re in line with our values, mission and our culture, and then we can start sending them more specific content about potential opportunities we might have.

And if it seems like a good match but we don’t have a current opening, we’ll continue to nurture that relationship at the individual level.

“If there happens to be an opening then we can approach them and we get down to the specifics of a potential employment opportunity only then.”

“We’re being very thoughtful about these touchpoints before we get to more specific ones such as meeting them one-on-one over lunch or having them in for a chat over coffee”

In lead generation marketing, it takes about seven to eight touchpoints with a prospect before they become a sales-qualified lead, and Bailen said it’s similar with recruitment in that there will be seven to eight touchpoints with someone before they are brought in as an applicant.

One metric that Bailen measures this approach by is fills per recruiter per quarter, and he says there has been an acceleration in terms of numbers of roles filled – to the point where Eventbrite has appointed a “talent pipeline manager” to help manage individuals along each stage and step of the passive candidate pipeline to assist recruiters with the process.

However, the company is very selective about who it hires into the company (of the 20,000-odd applications it receives every year, roughly 1 per cent are hired), and Bailen said the above process is much more efficient in pulling the right talent through into the company rather than posting job ads, screening resumes and shortlisting potential candidates and hoping the right person has applied for a role.

For the full interview with Bailen and story on how Eventbrite and other companies attract the best software developer talent, see the next issue of Inside HR magazine. Image: supplied