Pro tips

Pro tips

How Calendly improves the candidate experience and delights hiring managers

READ TIME: 9 MINUTES

Kelly Minella

Kelly Minella
Nov. 10, 2022

How Calendly improves the candidate experience

This year was evidence that the job market can turn on a dime. In fall 2021, job seekers flooded the market with applications. The Great Resignation was in full force, with one in five U.S. adults leaving their jobs due to dissatisfaction. In 2022, the recruitment market looks entirely different. Rising interest rates, economic uncertainty and resulting layoffs have slowed the job market, creating an environment where recruiting managers can select from their pick of top talent.

83% of candidates say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company.

At Calendly, our recruiting team has weathered these new challenges as they emerge. One thing still holds true: a great candidate experience and seamless hiring process goes a long way. Unfortunately, that’s not the case everywhere. A recent Glassdoor analysis showed that mentions of ghosting, or long periods of silence between interviews, were up 98% since pre-pandemic levels. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our recruiting strategy and workflow, detailed below, can help you build a world-class employer brand, streamline communications with job seekers, and optimize both hiring managers’ and candidates’ time. Using this process, we’ve reduced time to hire to 41 days, while hiring the best talent. Here’s how you can do it, too.

Amplify your employer brand during the application process and beyond

Employer brand is vital to recruiting and retaining employees. That’s why it’s crucial for not only recruiters but also employees to be vocal about company culture and values on social media — particularly channels like LinkedIn. At Calendly, we use every platform possible to drive talent down our recruitment funnel to convert  passive candidates into active ones. 

Calendly's LinkedIn integration

We use our social channels, job ads, and blog to send people to the Calendly careers page. On our career site, they’ll find a culture guide, information about how we hire, multimedia showing what it’s like to work at Calendly, job openings, and more. We strive to make the job application process as seamless as possible.

Like many companies, Calendly is now 100% remote. Unlike in the past, when candidates would travel to our offices for an interview, the process is now completely virtual. Even still, it’s possible to convey your company culture through your digital experience. Our first company value, Start with human, emphasizes (among other things) that we treat each other with respect. That starts with the overall candidate experience.

Streamline the hiring process with automated scheduling

After sourcing and reviewing applications, we shortlist qualified candidates and reach out for a 20–30 minute phone screen. This is a qualifying step for all job candidates, from entry-level to executive, to set shared expectations. We send a Calendly link to schedule the phone screen. This allows us to connect with the entire shortlist at once and keep sourcing without wasting any time!

Multiple event types allow you to schedule different lengths of meetings.

Candidates can schedule at their convenience without any back-and-forth. Calendly automatically enters the interview details into the connected calendar, and the recruiting team never gets double-booked! This process expedites the candidate journey, eliminating five or more touchpoints per candidate — shortening it to a one-step process. Candidates appreciate that scheduling is simple and that we respect their time. Using this method, it generally only takes 1–2 business days from application to the initial conversation with the candidate.

The recruiting team staggers our availability in Calendly with openings before and after business hours. This opens us up to schedule with candidates more immediately, without recruiters having to work longer hours. We opt for a 4-hour minimum scheduling notice (Calendly’s default setting) so candidates can schedule the same day and recruiters still have time to prepare.

A calendar invite is automatically emailed to the candidate confirming the details of their phone screen, and some candidates choose to get text reminders. We include a reschedule link that reduces cancelations and wasted time. During the phone screen, we confirm the candidate and Calendly are a basic fit. We talk about next steps, and explain the full interview process so they’re confident and prepared to excel.  

This automated process isn't only successful for us: See how companies like Bynder and Stanley Steemer use Calendly to talk to more candidates and fill jobs faster. 

Optimizing the hiring manager phone screen

Embed your available times right in the body of an email.

The hiring manager phone screen is the next step and can usually be scheduled within the same week. The recruiter sends out the hiring manager’s Calendly link on their behalf, which they get during the pre-recruitment meeting. Hiring managers love using Calendly, because they don’t have to be as involved in the scheduling process, or open up their entire day for interviews. On the candidate’s side, they receive a robust interview guide via their Calendly confirmation email to help prepare for the interview. 

We recommend you limit your availability for phone screens to five rolling days or less. This is key to keeping the interview process on a tight schedule and reducing time-to-hire. If you’re an admin in Calendly within the same organization as your hiring manager, you can change the hiring manager’s availability and event type settings for them or clone your phone screen event settings for them.

Improve the interview experience with transparency and urgency

After potential candidates have completed a role-based assignment and they’ve been chosen as a finalist, it’s time to schedule their panel interview. We use Prelude, now a part of Calendly, to make scheduling our virtual panel interviews simpler. Prelude’s interviewer engine helps us build fair and diverse panels accounting for interviewer attributes, load balancing of our hiring managers and team members, time zones, and much more. Prelude also works well with complex interview scenarios outside the typical 1:1 or group interview.

We integrate Prelude and Calendly with our Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Greenhouse, to send the interview confirmation, which also publishes to our Google calendars. (Beyond Greenhouse,  Calendly integrates with other recruiting software platforms, as well as online meeting platforms including Zoom and Microsoft Teams.)

The email confirmation for candidates includes information about the role and how to prepare for the interview. Via Calendly, we collect key information before the interview, asking direct questions during the scheduling process. Hiring managers and panel interviewers can view the candidate’s answers directly from the calendar invitation.

The day of the interview panel, a candidate rotates through one-on-one interviews with panelists for 30–45 minute blocks. We start with an employee from a different department who can break the ice and get to know the candidate on a more personal and informal level. This person assesses what kind of organizational culture the candidate is looking for, whether we are the best work environment for them to thrive in, and what unique skills and perspectives the candidate can add to Calendly. 

The rest of the day continues with interviews between a peer from the prospective team, a leader from a different department, and the hiring manager. When the interviews have wrapped up, we genuinely thank them for their time and give them an estimated time frame in which they’ll hear from us.

Close the loop with candidates

Even when a candidate does not receive an offer, we follow up with them as soon as possible to let them know our decision and give them quality feedback — no ghosting here! We also ask them for candid feedback on their experience with Calendly’s interview process, so we can continue to improve. We close the loop with each and every applicant in a timely fashion. Nothing hurts your reputation faster than letting a candidate languish and wonder if they’ll ever hear back from you.

We empathize with our candidates. Searching for a new job is hard work and anxiety-inducing, especially when you’re striving to land at a top company in a role you’ll love. We respect that our candidates give us a lot of their time, and we do our level best not to let any of this effort go to waste. By treating each and every candidate like a future employee, we build lasting relationships. And instead of building resentment and discouragement, we naturally create a good candidate experience and positivity around our brand.

Craft and expedite winning job offers

Our interview panel submits their feedback within 24 hours, before discussing the candidate with anyone else. The goal is to collect unbiased opinions first. Then they discuss the candidates as a panel and select a gold medalist for the offer. The recruiting team reaches out to the candidate to get references while we draft an offer package. 

Once the offer package is ready, the recruiter always calls to extend a verbal job offer. To keep things even more personal and exciting, we courier an offer box to the candidate as soon as possible. They receive goodies like a gift card for a celebratory dinner, confetti popper, and congratulatory video card from Calendly’s CEO. Depending on the candidate’s personality and preferences, sometimes we’ll also send an email follow-up to them with a GIF from the team, expressing our excitement to welcome them to Calendly, followed by a helpful new employee email.

Create a positive candidate experience and crush your recruiting KPIs

Using this exact process, we’ve reduced Calendly’s time-to-hire to an average of 41 days across our roles. This is less than the 2022 average time to hire. It’s important to note, that while time-to-hire is often thought of exclusively as a metric of speed, we find that it affects our overall quality of hire, as well. By speeding up the process, we retain more candidates throughout the recruiting funnel and make better hires as a result.

With Calendly Analytics, we can track more metrics to analyze the speed of our hiring cycle and improve our hiring managers’ experience. We learn which scheduling tactics are working well, and how to optimize everyone’s time. If you want even more ideas for how to improve your recruiting KPIs, check out our recruiting solutions page and case studies.

Steal our workflow above and you can expedite your recruiting process, give time back to your recruiting team and hiring managers, and acquire great new teammates.

Kelly Minella

Kelly Minella

Kelly is the Head of Recruiting at Calendly. Kelly is a Dog Mom to a corgi pup named Bowser.

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