5 Insights into Modern Recruiting with Greenhouse and eBay

Searchlight’s CEO Kerry Wang sat down with Rick Iversen, Head of Global Recruitment at eBay and Jon Stross, co-Founder of Greenhouse, as they shared actionable tactics and insights on how technology can help organizations be better at the people, process, and culture powering their recruiting process.

In today’s market, the best talent and people teams focus their efforts on building efficient, structured, and technology-enabled recruiting organizations. What’s striking is that when we speak to leaders in recruiting, we find that the purpose of all of this technology is to help organizations build relationships with passive candidates and develop a strong corporate culture.

Main Takeaways:

  • While recruiting is more technologically-driven than ever, the best teams still prioritize relationships. The main value of such an approach is a pre-established pipeline of candidates, so that each new search doesn’t start from scratch, but rather by a review of passive candidates your organization already knows. Teams must be thoughtful in proactively developing relationships with diverse talent pools.
  • Delivering a high-quality candidate experience is key. This is true to not only the interviewing process, but also to onboarding. Creating an on-brand on-boarding experience across your organization, so that every hire gets to see the best of your company culture no matter what team they join or where in the world they are, has always been important. Now with remote work, it’s elevated to be a first-order priority required for organizational success.
  • Employee churn is a natural part of any organization's employee lifecycle. It’s important to understand why people leave your organization, and to not be positive, not upset, when employees are leaving to pursue new and exciting opportunities that might not have been available to them otherwise. If so, you’ll succeed in building your employer brand as a business that grows and helps your employees build their careers.

Relationship-Driven Recruiting

Our panelists agreed that relationship-driven recruiting leads to higher quality hires and a smoother recruiting experience. While other recruiting methods like agencies and job postings can lead to faster results, they are expensive, time consuming, and may leave recruiters missing large parts of the potential market. Conversely, the time and effort in cultivating meaningful relationships results in building candidates’ trust when making significant career changes.

“If you have to start from scratch for every role, you’re going to spend more time and money on sources like job boards, agencies, and cold outreach. If you can pre-build and nurture relationships, it gives you a big head start especially in competitive markets or for highly competitive roles.” - Jon Stross

A Standardized Candidate Experience Starts with a Strong Intake Process

“I think it’s really important right now to have a single source of truth for the whole organization about how outreach, interviewing, and on-boarding happens. If you don’t, then every team that’s doing hiring is doing it differently. There’s no line-of-sight into what’s happening, there’s no insight into the funnel, and most critically, the candidate experience is completely hit or miss”. - Rick Iverson

It’s imperative for hiring managers, recruiters and other talent stakeholders to plan and strategize the candidate experience prior to starting the recruiting process.

“Start with a kickoff meeting. Get together and say ‘What are we trying to hire for? Why? What’s the business need? How will we know we have found the person? Where are we likely to find that person? How are we going to interview them?’ ”- Jon Stross

If hiring managers aren’t open to having a meeting that addresses those questions, Jon advocates for recruiters to stress the importance of aligning on a plan. Once that alignment is in place, the onus is on recruiters to provide transparency and updates throughout the process to hiring managers. For hiring managers, organizing ahead of time sets a cadence that relieves the urgency felt to fill seats within a compressed span of time.

At Searchlight, we know that a strong Intake process enables recruiters to show up as strategic partners to hiring managers. You can learn more about how Searchlight’s software works with a personalized demo.

Onboarding in Remote Work Environment - Know Your Culture Well

Rick and Jon shared that in the past, it was assumed that company culture would be learned through osmosis in the physical office. In the absence of that, a clearly defined culture is critical to onboarding success.

To onboard new hires successfully, companies need to be clear about the specific components that define their company culture, i.e. communication norms, and the ways in which they will share that culture with new hires. Reciprocally, recruiters need to be thoughtful in on-boarding hiring managers onto ways to set their new hires up for success. The hiring process yields a wealth of information on a person’s working styles and strengths.

The silver lining of remote work is there are more opportunities to optimize surprise and create moments of delight, like sending company swag to a remote new hire.

The Challenge, And Unexpected Opportunity, Of Attrition

Like many companies, losing great talent at Greenhouse is tough. However, Jon described the unexpected long term gain that could result from a short term talent loss:

“Some attrition is short term bad and long term good. There are parts of our org, where people grow up, they become managers, and they become leaders at other companies...in the long term we are showing [that] this is a place where you can build your career, and Greenhouse is a really great place to be from”. - Jon Stross

Rick noted that attrition can occur for many reasons, but being clear about why you are hiring to begin with - during the intake process - can help lower attrition by making sure the right people are put into the right roles. Companies should keep top of mind why they are hiring a person and ask, “Is this the right role for them, and how long can they stay in it?” You should always be open to the idea that there might be another place in the organization where they might fit better.  

A Defined Talent System Enables Data-Driven Recruiting

A centralized, tech-enabled system for recruiting has become mission critical. Rick shared that the entrance to hiring should be through the system, and if it’s not happening in the system, “it’s not real”. Jon added, “If you don’t have [a system] and everyone is working outside of your toolset, then you’re functionally in the dark and just guessing.”

While it may be difficult to align everyone on the expectations around recruiting tools and their use, the benefits are obvious. High quality data is the natural by product of everyone following a defined process and using the tools as intended. Once you have that, you can start to learn and iterate. The areas of challenge become clear and can be focused on.

"This is information, metrics, and details that the business needs. With a centralized system, you become not just the center of truth for recruiting, but also one sought after by the business.” - Rick Iversen

As for what metrics to track, it depends on what it is you want to improve. If it’s Candidate Experience, you should track Offer-Acceptance Rate. If it’s Hiring Predictability, you should track # of Hires Made. If it’s Sourcing Effectiveness, you should track % of Applicants Eligible for a Phone Screen.

A common pitfall is that talent leaders obsess over the right metric to choose. It’s actually far more important that you have a regular cadence with your stakeholders regardless of the specific metrics. With recruiters, it’s every week. With hiring managers, it’s every other week. With the exec team, it’s at least every quarter. With the Board, it’s for every board meeting. It’s only by regularly refreshing the numbers that you have the visibility to answer questions around the health of your recruiting function, adapt your strategy, and choose new metrics if need be.


Preparation and dialogue are key components for hiring success between recruiters and managers. Structuring an upfront, data-informed Intake process results in a more efficient partnership. Defining an intentional corporate culture helps make onboarding smoother for new hires and most importantly allows organizations to deliver a consistent employee experience. Overall, a cohesive recruiting system can elevate talent to that of a strategic driver within the business.

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"A centralized, tech-enabled system for recruiting has become mission critical. This is information, metrics, and details that the business needs."

Rick Iversen, Head of Global Recruitment, eBay

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