Mike Bailen
Sep 22, 2015 · 5 min read

Building the Briteland is an ongoing series to chronicle my journey as the Head of Recruiting at Eventbrite. Feedback, suggestions, questions, critique, and virtual high fives are welcome. Trolling and negativity, not so much. Let’s do this..

In the last post, I talked about how I believe we as recruiters need to shift the way we approach recruiting to be centered on building relationships. How do we structure a team to be able to successfully drive those relationships, and what kind of people are we looking for to join us?

I started where every new guy on the job starts: with the data. I spent a good chunk of my first 30 days at Eventbrite poring over reports, and I’m starting to think of recruiting funnels as The Gauntlet from one of my favorite childhood shows, American Gladiator (please don’t judge me.) In The Gauntlet, a contestant tries to make a mad dash from one end of a narrow passage to the other, all while being beaten and tackled by “Gladiators” twice his or her size. Unless you’re Wesley “Two Scoops” Berry, you’re probably not going to make it through to the other side.

I’ve seen a lot of funnels in my day, and time after time, they remind me of The Gauntlet. Lots of people enter but only the top 1% make it through successfully. Companies use it as a bragging right and take the side of the gladiator. At Zappos, we used to say it was harder to get into Zappos than Harvard. Personally, I’d prefer to take the side of the contestant. Nothing would make me happier to see100% of applicants make it to an offer; for each contestant to have the smooth and savvy athleticism of Mr. Two Scoops. How can we start making the astronomical shift from 1% to 100%? From siding with the gladiator to siding with the contestant?

The first step is to look above the top of the funnel. I’m a believer in building a more efficient recruiting process and shrinking the funnel that inevitably thwarts so many applicants along the way. To do so, let’s get to know candidates before they are applicants. When I poked my head out of the top of the funnel at Eventbrite, what I saw was tremendous potential: 108 events run by our Recruiting Marketing team, lots of recruiter sourcing, leadership hungry to pipeline, and a pretty sweet story to tell. We can structure the recruiting team to be able to best leverage all the events and marketing we’re organizing and data we’re collecting to build out “warm” talent pipelines ripe for nurturing. From there, we can select the best candidates to enter the funnel, the applicants who have the greatest probability of leaving with an offer.

Here’s how the team is currently structured

This probably looks a lot like your recruiting efforts. We market our brand to people; people apply to reqs on their own doing or through sourcing efforts; those people run down The Gauntlet facing strong guys with clubs along the way (I mean, brilliant interview teams and recruiters who know how to identify exactly what the team is looking for.) Some make it through, most don’t. This is obviously an over-simplified view of the process, but, generally speaking, that’s how it goes. This is how only 1% survive, why the gladiators always win. We are too reactive and req focused. Our resources are heavily focused on requisitions instead of building relationships with and understanding the contestants before they run down The Gauntlet.

Here’s how I imagine our team in the future

The key difference is shifting resources and energy above the funnel in a systematic way. We want to introduce people to Eventbrite, have them meet our teams, and become familiar with our work before they enter our “Gauntlet” (ok, interview process.) As I mentioned before, the Recruiting team ran 108 events last year. One hundred and eight! Talk about resources and energy! However, without the right structure and systems, the relationships established at those events weren’t captured and eventually dissipated. In this new approach, with an assist from the Britelist, the connections made at our events and through our career site will strengthen and materialize over time. We won’t be a req focused team, but rather put the company and our people first.

We’re creating a new role

Once we have engaged the right candidates, leaders at Eventbrite will play a more active role in maintaining long-term relationships rather than only engaging when they have an open req. At the heart of the new team structure I’ve created a new role: Talent Pipeline Manager. This person will sit between our Recruiting Marketing team and our Recruiters and will work directly with managers to get them in the pipelining mindset. Not to be mistaken for a researcher or sourcer, this person will focus on building a platform for our leaders to be plugged in to our pipelines at all times. They will be the catalyst in building relationships between our Britelist built by our Recruiting Marketers, our Recruiters, and Eventbrite Leaders. This person will have a finger on the pulse of our future hiring needs, and when a new position opens, we’ll already have a pipeline built, relationships established, and a short-list of top talent identified. Imagine how much more successful and efficient our recruiting process will be once every candidate is the equivalent of The Gladiators’ Two Scoops.

I’m looking for someone who is passionate about relationship-based recruiting and truly understands the value of long-term connections and strong pipelines. I want someone who can build out a program and inspire the rest of the organization to always be thinking about building their teams. Someone who brings new, bold ideas about engaging with talent to the table and wants to help us shake things up.

I’d love your ideas on how to engage hiring leaders in the pipelining process. Also, hit me up if you’re interested in joining us (hint, hint) (bailen@eventbrite.com). We’re letting whoever steps into the role have the ability to create their own title (you can be a Ninja Guru Growth Hacker if you really want). Now, back to the beach to take in some cosmic rays and sip on some brewskis. Sweet.


Mike Bailen

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Eating KFC double downs, demonstrating fear of the deer, man-crushing on Aaron Rodgers, managing recruiters @Eventbrite. These are a few of my favorite things.

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