Exclusive: How Airbnb Gave Its Candidate Experience a Makeover

March 27, 2014

Jill Riopelle was ecstatic - Airbnb just called with the job offer she so desperately wanted. Double-fist pump. Happy dance.

But then…

Crickets.

The written offer didn’t arrive the following week as promised.

Nor the week after.

Nor the week after that.

Zip. Nada.

Was it all a mistake? Jill’s excitement gave way to insecurity and confusion.

She eventually received the letter weeks later, and joined as a recruiter in 2011.

That year, Airbnb grew from 50 employees to 500 and the hyper-growth was taking its toll. “Candidates were falling through the cracks,” Jill, now Head of Recruiting, recalls. We knew we had to do something.”

Step 1. Drawing the roadmap of the ideal candidate experience

“First, we reflected on our own hiring experiences,” Jill explains. “We invited employees to share their best and worst hiring moments on the big whiteboard in the lunchroom.”

“Then as a team, with leadership participating, we brainstormed how we wanted it to feel at each point, mapping out the ideal process from both the candidate and hiring team perspectives.”

mapping the candidate experience

Airbnb mapped out the ideal candidate experience from start to finish.

Step 2. Investing in recruiter communication

In order to get into the candidate’s shoes, Jill's team applied to jobs at other companies and discovered Airbnb had the same auto-reply as everyone else – boring and generic enough to make your eyes glaze over.

“We really wanted a warmer first touch so we wrote a more compelling acknowledgement message, one that outlined next steps and suggested what candidates could do in the interim (watch company culture videos, read our FAQs, and more ).”

acknowledgement-email

Some of the Airbnb FAQ for jobseekers