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April 11, 2024

How Hightouch's talent team leverages Paraform to 5x their quality top of funnel

Corey Stein
VP of Engineering @ Hightouch

Hightouch is on a mission to empower everyone to take action on their data through their Reverse ETL platform. Their users include the NBA, Spotify, Ramp, Retool, Plaid, and Betterment. They’re backed by $92M in funding from Y-Combinator, Bain Capital, Amplify Partners, and other leading investors.

Founded in 2018, Hightouch already has a headcount of over 100. This is a hot company with a need for top engineering talent. They recently hired an Engineering Leader for their distributed systems division, thanks to Matt Soper! The new team member, Delaney Mackenzie, was previously an engineering manager at Jellyfish.

We talked to Corey Stein, VP of Engineering about how he uses Paraform to hire the best talent.

How is your experience with Paraform?

Good engineers are few and far between. Hightouch only has one in-house technical recruiter, who is busy screening and interviewing. Corey has been happily using Paraform to boost his company’s quality top of funnel describing Paraform by saying:

“Imagine if agencies actually worked.”

The bottleneck in engineering recruiting often ends up being at the top of the funnel – simply having a base of qualified candidates. When hiring managers are equipped to generate leads themselves, it’s super helpful.

“Expanding the top of the funnel is huge. The incentives on Paraform give it a ton of firepower. I think, now, 20-25% of our top-of-funnel comes from Paraform.”

For any rising company – even one on a meteoric trajectory – generating interest and sourcing are difficult tasks. Getting access to a marketplace full of recruiters specialized in startup talent makes things easier. Not only are they a good fit, but the incentives on our platform keep everyone aligned and moving fast.

Recruiting agency bills have gotten much bigger over the past decade. But their incentive structure isn’t converting those higher costs into better results.

Corey also found that Paraform helps his company respond to changing hiring demands.

“It’s very flexible. Like WeWork – you can flex up and flex down – but even better, because you really pay only if you hire.”

What’s your favorite feature?

Getting on the same page as recruiters is important for Corey. He highlighted the Sync Calls as a particularly useful part of the platform.

This is a key feature because it gives you the ability to communicate your hiring standards to not just one recruiter, or one agency, but a large number of them. Plus, you can record these calls so new recruiters that want to work with you can go back and watch them.

As Corey puts it, our features enable hiring managers to keep “Tight feedback loops, both synchronous and asynchronous.”

Paraform’s slick integrations with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) and messaging tools like Slack makes for a smooth user experience. Almost all hiring managers are using multiple systems – so maximizing our platform’s interoperability saves our users buckets of time and energy.

“The bidirectional sync is seamless, adding no extra effort or complexity.”

Everyone at an early-stage company is pressed for time. And everyone knows that hiring is a critical business activity. We’re on a quest to make it as easy as possible, so – like Corey – you don’t have to choose between being a great hiring manager and a great engineer.

“Paraform is seamlessly integrated into your tech stack with a system that scales.”

What are your best practices for using Paraform?

Corey’s stance is, first of all, that you need to be responding quickly to recruiters. The tighter you keep that communication channel, the faster you’re going to get good candidates. This means letting them know if a sourced candidate meets what you’re looking for, communicating timelines, or responding to questions about the filters you’ve provided to recruiters.

“We want to build a great, lasting company and to do that we’ll need a really strong team.”

If you’re looking to hire great talent, it pays to have great habits baked into your recruiting processes. We make those habits intuitive with things like in-app messaging via Slack. Hightouch does an excellent job using Paraform, and has had matching results.

How do you test for great talent?

For the folks at Hightouch, it’s all about trajectory and passion. Some technical expertise is required, but what’s really important are aptitude for learning and hunger to do so.

These two things are the input to a professional’s slope, and that’s what Hightouch aims to filter for in its hiring process.

One of Corey’s favorite interview questions is inspired by Scale AI:

“When is the time in your career where you were most passionate. Give me a 360 degree view of that time.”

If someone with several years of experience doesn’t have a moment where a light was on, then that’s kind of a red flag. It signals a lack of slope, because hunger is a key input to slope. You can’t afford to hire people that don’t care.

Ideally you want someone that had a time where they felt immersed in their job. Passionate about the product and the customer experience. Then you need to get a sense if they feel that way about your product and customers.

If their lights come on when you talk about your company and its operations, or its impact on the world, that’s a perfect fit.

Paraform continues to help Hightouch expand their funnel and get star candidates in the pipeline. Our platform’s features enable hiring managers to communicate the company’s criteria and story to recruiters, so that the leads that come through are not just qualified, but stoked.

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