Figma Rewrote Their Recruiting Playbook With Canvas and Increased Efficiency by Over 60%
Canvas usage results:
- - Saves each recruiter over 5 hours a day
- - Corrects for underrepresentation among minority groups in the pipeline
- - Maximizes recruiting ROI with virtual events all on one platform
- - Promotes and amplifies the Figma brand by reaching 300k+ talent on Canvas
- - Keeps a pulse on the recruiting space with shared insights from other talent professionals
- - Direct line to authentically connect with potential candidates through curated talent communites
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Figma was created in 2012 with a mission to make design accessible to all. Beyond accessibility, Figma strives to improve organizations’ creative processes. This includes enabling businesses to test, ship, and release great designs—faster. Today, cross-functional teams who use Figma include Design, Product, Engineering, Marketing, and more to create the most collaborative and efficient processes.
What makes Figma’s people-first culture special is the emphasis on maintaining personal connections in a remote environment. To do this, Figma intentionally hosts regular virtual events for Figmates (Figma employees). These internal events include bi-weekly “show and tell,” where Figmates introduce and share one thing about themselves to the company. And “three things,” where Figma highlights two employees to share three things that allow others to get to know them for more than their work selves. As Figma has grown to 240+ employees and spread to multiple hubs in San Francisco, New York, and London, its brand and recruiting strategies have also evolved to match the rate at which they’re hiring.
When Kristen Dauler joined Figma as its University Recruiting Manager, she knew right away that she needed Canvas to help hit and exceed hiring goals. Using stats from her previous company that also leverages Canvas, Kristen quickly convinced the Figma’s leadership team to bring Canvas on board. “I began at Figma in June, and my number one priority was to get Canvas for this fall’s recruiting season. I used Canvas at my previous company for three years, and saw how significantly it impacted our recruiting team, especially when compared to the two years that we didn’t have it. Canvas helped us not only hit but exceed our hiring goals. So I knew it was vital to utilize from the beginning at Figma.”
Today, Figma strategically uses the entire Canvas ecosystem to power its recruiting flywheel: inbound filtering, sourcing, virtual event management, analytics, and talent communities.
“Canvas has really made the most stressful times in hiring season both enjoyable and data-driven.”
Before Canvas, most of Kristen’s time in her first month at Figma was spent sifting through resumes and connecting with candidates early to get the pipeline ready for this fall. “I was ramping up at a new company as a team of one and trying to find time to sift through hundreds of resumes—all while taking over our existing summer internship program and prepping a brand new virtual recruiting strategy for this fall.”
On top of all this, Figma’s talent team has very aggressive goals to hit. Their OKRs include:
- 1. Improving diversity metrics: Although Figma’s Engineering and Product teams are already 40% female today, Figma aims to be at 50:50 gender parity and have a higher percentage of new hires from underrepresented minority groups.
- 2. Increasing intern conversions: Figma especially values early-in-career talent which includes interns and new grads. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that the interns hired at Figma are set up for success and return as new grad hires.
Sort through thousands of applications in minutes
Before Figma implemented Canvas, the talent team manually looked through applications in their applicant tracking system, Lever. With an average of 5000 applicants per role, the team would have needed to more than double in order to successfully sift through resumes in their application buckets. And until recently, Kristen was a team of one. “Spending all of my time going through applicants would allow no time for me to actually work with candidates through the interview process, host debriefs, or be strategic to optimize our recruiting strategy.”
With Canvas, Kristen, and her new teammate, Angie Calderon, sync all their inbound applicants from Lever into Canvas for the added diversity data and filtering capabilities. Typically, they filter for attributes like graduation date, major, gender, ethnicity, etc. to sort through the applications faster while shaping a well-represented pipeline. “I’d say that Canvas has easily saved us over 100 hours just within the first month.” What impresses Kristen the most about the filtering feature is the ability to exclude candidates her team has already interacted with within a certain time. This ensures that they’re not seeing the same candidates over and over again to maximize their efforts and reach.
“We spend 90% of our time on Canvas versus our ATS, Lever, as it gives us so much more information to work off of. We also send Canvas's candidate profiles and information to hiring managers, who help assess talent and source directly on Canvas.”
At the top-level, the filtering feature has been able to help with every hiring goal that Figma has, from improving diversity to lowering ROI. “None of the candidate information we need to make the best hiring decisions is tracked or collected in our ATS. So we wouldn’t have that information without Canvas.”
Correct for less-than-diverse pipelines
On the sourcing side, Kristen’s team has weekly goals for how many candidates they want to source per week outside of their applicant pool. They do this through Canvas and use school, gender, and ethnicity as filters to find new talent. “We know what our applicant pool looks like and know what candidates we’re not reaching. So we’re proactively reaching out to candidates from specific geographic locations, genders, and ethnicities through the sourcing tool to make sure our candidate pool is more representative of the population.” After finding new talent through sourcing, Figma’s team directly messages those candidates on Canvas before syncing only active candidates into Lever.
Another way the team sources for new talent is through tags such as Grace Hopper Conference, Code2040, Rewriting the Code, and more. “Filtering for the tags has been an incredible addition and gives us much more information than what a resume does. It's been huge for us.”
Manage all virtual event needs with an end-to-end solution
Beyond sourcing and filtering on Canvas, Figma also manages and runs all its virtual recruiting events on the platform. The talent team already has 5 events planned between September and October, with more on the way for November. The events are a mix of more traditional Tech Talks and very casual trivia to help break up the stressful recruiting season. “We’re aiming to be more creative in the types of events that we host than if we were to go on campus.” Another added benefit of hosting online events is that Kristen’s team has been able to invite more people from other parts of the company to be involved in various events since there’s no longer a need to travel this fall.
Other key functions of Canvas's event management tool that Figma relies on are the sourcing and analytics. With Canvas, Kristen’s team can not only source for event attendees in a shared talent pool of over 300,000 candidates, but they can also get a complete understanding of the talent who register for their events through analytics. Before the event even starts, the Figma team analyzes event respondents’ distribution to optimize their reach. “For candidates who are selecting self-interest, we use the analytics feature to see what type of candidates we’re attracting. And then see how we need to change our marketing strategy to attract a broader set of candidates. For example, suppose we aren’t reaching a subset of universities (i.e. HBCUs). In that case, we consider what we may be missing and figure out how we put out a more diligent strategy to make sure we’re attracting all types of backgrounds and talent.”
Post-event, the team dives into who actually came to the event. Specifically, they try to understand which schools are represented and how attendees self-identify in terms of gender, ethnicity, etc. “Using the analytics tool has been huge, and it’s been vital in telling the story and our success to leadership.”
Make data-driven decisions to maximize hiring strategies
Outside of virtual events, analytics is a critical part of Figma’s entire recruiting playbook. The leadership team at Figma has been very on board and supportive of recruiting efforts since the beginning. And Canvas has helped fill the prior gaps in data by unveiling full-funnel insights that enable Figma to make data-driven decisions. Now, Kristen’s team reports on hiring analytics and results weekly to the leadership team.
“Canvas is able to give us accurate and updated data around all channels of our strategy–from candidates breakdown to pipeline conversion to events ROI, which is the most helpful when telling a story to leadership.”
Here are some high-level insights that Kristen’s team shares with leadership:
- - Full representation of pipeline and hires: Past university classes that Figma has had were typically from similar schools. So, they’re trying to broaden their brand awareness and track their progress to build a more diverse workplace.
- - Candidate demographic: The team likes to understand who they’re currently attracting with their recruiting strategy. And then make data-driven decisions on what they need to do next to reach a broader pool of talent.
- - Event ROI: Since events are a big part of the recruiting strategy, Kristen and Angie make sure they report on insights such as how many more applicants they’re getting from events, whether their events are successful, and if they are selling candidates to get them to apply if they haven’t already.
Develop trust and loyalty with strategic branding
Figma is a Series D start-up that’s strengthening its brand awareness to attract top talent. The main tactics that the talent team uses to promote a stellar brand on Canvas include customizing their company marketing page and sharing content with candidates through the messaging platform. As they’re sourcing, Kristen’s team adds articles about Figma in the messages to candidates. The articles include topics like their last series D funding round or pieces recently published by Figmates. “Since we’re competing with lots of big brands for the best talent, we’re trying to add in as much relevant information as we can when we're reaching out to candidates. That way, we can pique and maintain their interest to work at Figma.”
For the company marketing page, the Figma team customized it to include resources that they built for candidates to see what their interview process is, how to prepare for interviews, and “who” Figma is on a more personal level. Figma also posts all their open roles on Canvas so they can reach more candidates and brand every role more efficiently. “What I appreciate about Canvas's company marketing page is that it’s essentially creating your own career page but for a segmented audience. It’s a lot of effort to make a subpage on an existing career page, so this is an amazing place for us to easily create and keep up-to-date for talent to see who Figma really is.”
“I love the amount of information that we can post on our company page in Canvas. I also love that it’s basically free range for companies to add exactly they want. There’s no specific structure—there’s nothing we can’t add. So the freedom of information that we can share and update to make sure it’s current is the most helpful to us.”
Build authentic connections with both recruiters and candidates
One silver lining of COVID-19 has been that recruiters have a new-found sense of community. Through Canvas, Figma uses communities to keep a pulse on what’s going on in the recruiting space with both talent professionals and talent.
For Kristen and Angie, Canvas's recruiter communities are a resource to connect and chat with other talent professionals to brainstorm ideas and share knowledge. “We ask questions around strategies, how their fall campus recruiting has changed, what they’re doing for swag, etc. It’s been really awesome connecting with others in the industry and helping each other out.”
In curated talent communities, the team at Figma gets many direct questions from candidates, which has helped influence hiring strategies, tactical plans, and content. “One candidate asked us a question right after a virtual event. And that made us rethink and update our presentation to proactively address the follow-up questions to get ahead of them. It also helps us present better and show up better for candidates.” With the new ability to create both public and private talent communities on Canvas, Kristen plans to further incorporate communities into Figma’s recruiting playbook so that her team can break down barriers and foster authentic relationships with candidates all year round.
“The cherry-on-top for me when it comes to partnering with Canvas is the level of support they provide. As you see companies grow, you start to get less support, which is normal. But I have felt the same level of personalized support from day one to where I am now, 3-4 years later. Canvas also moves fast and iterates in this space to make sure that the product is current and up-to-date in the recruiting world. It's truly one of the most important tools I use and I can't imagine working without Canvas.”
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