How Agoda made me a better recruiter

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A short tale about how Agoda made me a better recruiter. Spoiler alert – it’s all about Product.

Agoda Product shapes recruitment culture

We are a product centric organization, and product frameworks translate into hiring strategies.

What do I mean? Here’s an example – during my first week at Agoda I had an Intake meeting with a key hiring manager, a Director of Product. When I asked what the areas of improvement are in recruitment, he said he wished we had more experiments. “Experiments?” I said.

He carried on, “Yes, for example your InMail campaigns. You start by doing research, then formulate a hypothesis, design an A/B test, figure out attributes that influence your response rate and ensure homogenous population in your outreach, execute and measure experiment, and let’s keep in mind the minimum detectable effect”.

I smiled, and I nodded, but honestly, I had no idea what he was talking about. This was my Agoda initiation during week 1.

Recruiting at Agoda is different than at any other large tech company I’ve ever worked for, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way define my leadership and execution style. Just like in Product – experiments reinvented the way we hire people; it has totally reimagined the recruiting approach as a real holistic data-driven vision, which allows for true business partnering rather than a transactional, administrative approach to recruiting.

By doing analysis we increase the reach of job ads and tailor employer branding content, by executing experiments we improve conversion rates, and by innovating we improve processes.

Automation hacks recruitment

Recruitment at Agoda utilizes a growth hacking technique. In my last company we used only one recruitment-related software — ATS (applicant tracking system).

When I joined Agoda, I was introduced at least to six new productive apps: a scheduling bot (instead of an actual coordinator), a resume screening automation tool (to pass on only relevant CVs), an app which lets you add snippets as you type, a sourcing AI for LinkedIn, reminder tools, live-dashboards etc.

All these apps have one goal and one goal only, to create space for recruiters so we can build real consultative partnerships with our hiring managers by speaking in their language – data!

Recruitment here is unique because we have the infrastructure, scale and agility which allows us to get rid of admin burdens and ensures space for independent innovation. Every day we look for ways to improve efficiency and optimize processes, reduce costs, and get rid of bureaucracy.

What inspires me about our leadership is a true bottom-up work environment. Twice a year we have a brainstorming session, where all recruiters come up with project ideas. We start by defining a problem, measuring impact on the company, estimating time to complete, and allocating resources.

I love it – basically leadership asks us what needs to be improved and then gives us full ownership to project-manage the execution.

Move fast. I mean really fast. Like “Run, Forrest, Run” fast!

We move fast, fail fast, learn, and pivot. Here, we are self-starters, and we are not waiting for our managers to define what needs to be done. I as recruiter aim to make an impact, and it’s better to get things done fast with less perfection than wait for a perfect model.

Processes here might not be perfect, but execution speed is key, even if there were missteps along the way. “What’s chewing up your valuable time? What can be automated? What needs to be prioritized?” It’s these questions that allow us recruiters to focus on the right things and Do Less, Get More.


Viktoriya Gridneva is Talent Acquisition Partner at Agoda. Explore open roles in the People Team here.

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