Unity’s offer-accept rates for technical roles nearly 20% above the industry average
August 18, 2022
Who’s Beating the Benchmarks? is a new Gem series in which we spotlight our customers who are outperforming their peers in a given recruiting metric.
This month we’re celebrating Unity for their remarkable offer-accept rates. In Q1, Offer -> Hire passthrough rates in Gem were 71% for tech roles across our customers. Unity, on the other hand, saw an 89% average offer-accept rate for tech roles.
* 94% offer-accept rates for its Data Science and IT/Security roles
* 88% offer-accept rates for its Engineering and Product Management roles
* an 82% offer-accept rate for its Design roles
In other words, Unity’s team is beating offer-accept tech benchmarks across the board, in every role. We sat down with Corin Lane, Global Recruiting Programs Manager, and Jerson Gusterson, Principal Recruiter for Core Engineering and R&D, to discuss the best practices and processes they have in place that are generating such terrific results.
First thing’s first: have Unity’s offer-accept rates always been this strong?
Jerson: Mine have generally hovered around those numbers. One great thing about working for Unity is that, from a technology standpoint, it’s a company people want to work for. We've got a deep history in the gaming industry. Talent knows our brand, they know it's strong, and they also know we’re just at the beginning of an exciting journey. So it's not necessarily a case of should I work for Unity, but rather, when is a good time for me to make that move? I can’t speak for the whole of the business, but R&D is very much where people want to be. So brand awareness certainly makes things easier.
That said, I’m a huge proponent of doing due diligence throughout the process. Typically by the time I move candidates through to offer, I have a strong sense that they’re going to say “yes.” It’s important to have a good idea of candidates’ investment—perhaps especially when you get to the later stages of the process. I’m constantly checking in to see where they stand; and how the role, our organization, and our offering compares to what else they’re seeing on the market. How will they respond to counter-offers from their current companies? These are the kinds of points that give me a good sense of how likely a candidate is to accept.
Doing that due diligence before we start an approval process not only means a better offer-to-hire ratio; it’s also an efficiency play. Extending an offer is labor-intensive, so we won’t do it if it’s not the best offer for that candidate or the one they’re likely to accept. The more certain I am of a “yes,” the less time I lose—and that time goes to even more meaningful interactions with the candidates who are currently in process.
You’ve got a strong talent brand that’s aiding those offer-accept numbers. What else do you think helps?
Corin: I think a lot of our success has to do with the fact that we lead with transparency. We’re very clear about what candidates can expect from our interview process from the beginning. What this ultimately means is fewer surprises along the way, and the candidates who do make it through to offer have a great deal of clarity about what, exactly, they’re saying “yes” to.
We also use a candidate feedback tool called Talenthub that collects feedback from every candidate who interviews with us; so we’re steadily accumulating detailed sentiment about our process. Every candidate who moves beyond the application review stage is sent a survey that’s specific to the stage they get to—so there’s a recruiter phone screen survey, an onsite-specific survey, etc. We have a massive pool of data that we can slice by recruiter, hiring manager, role, and more, to really iterate on our process with the help of nuanced feedback. How is a certain hiring manager performing in interviews? Or broadly, how are we doing as a company?
That’s insightful information that sometimes means quick pivots and sometimes means slow optimizations as we go. The better the process feels for candidates, and the more positive their experience is, the more likely they are to want to get on board with us.
Is there anything Unity does toward the bottom of the funnel that helps candidates cross that finish line?
Jerson: There are a couple of things I can think of. One is that, from the very beginning of the process, I’m extracting the key motivators of every candidate and really trying to understand what they want next in their career. It’s the only way I can be certain that what motivates them is what we can offer them; that their ambitions, aspirations, and values align with what Unity is already doing and moving towards. These are the talking points I lead with most often in conversations—especially in the conversations that happen just before the offer goes out.
During the process, I’d point to team culture. As simple as it sounds, Unity’s team—all the way up to senior leadership—are some of the friendliest folks you’ll meet. I met with some of our leaders last week, and every time I held out my hand for a handshake, they greeted me with a hug instead. It’s a warmth that aligns with our values, our leadership principles, and our emphasis on inclusion. I watch it happen with candidates all the time: I talk about team culture and it sounds to them like a selling point; but then they actually meet the team, and it’s like, Oh, that warmth and friendliness is actually in your company’s DNA.
Finally, I’m very thoughtful about who I include in candidates’ interviews. Yes, it’s important to include interviewers who know that area of the business well and will come away with intelligent insights about the candidate, their skills, and what they’ll add to the team. But interviews are ultimately for the candidate to buy into the business as a whole. So I ensure they meet with folks from different areas of the business—ones they won’t necessarily have day-to-day touchpoints with. The interview is a microcosm of the culture candidates can expect if they accept our offer; and if they’re interviewing with cross-departmental folks, they get to see great teamwork, great support systems, and a real focus on collaboration and camaraderie.
There are cons, of course, to the fact that the hiring process takes time. It can take over a month from a recruiter phone screen to an offer-extend. But the pro is: That's enough time for candidates to really be invested by the time they receive their offer letter. So those are the two elements I’d underscore: understanding what candidates’ motivators are, and highlighting and celebrating the culture they'd be joining while including them in it. People love meeting with prospective teammates. I'll always say, Oh, you're not sure about Unity yet? Here's another person to meet with! The team is really willing to give up their time for that. I've got a collection of people with whom I'm like, I just need you to sell us to this candidate. And they're always happy to show up as their fullest selves and share their stories.
I was going to ask how invested the team is in hiring, broadly speaking.
Jerson: We've got a warm line of folks who are always willing to jump in. At the beginning of the process, one of my first questions always is: Who can I go to that's senior enough that the candidate will be amazed to get that person’s time? I personally interviewed with one of the SVPs of engineering when I was in process at Unity; and I was like, Oh my God, why is he interviewing me? But I also felt quite honored by his willingness to spend the time. So the interview part of our process is really set up to get folks invested in that way.
Corin: I’d add that, as we’ve grown so quickly, we’ve had to quickly scale the interview process itself. It started a couple of years ago with interview training sessions rolling out on everything from questions interviewers can and can’t ask, to how to deal with difficult inquiries or scenarios, to how to think about inclusion, to how to bring our core values into the conversation. It’s a very thorough training that interviewers receive, and a lot of time and effort has gone into making this training meaningful. We think of interviewing as a critical art, and as a practice.
Is there anything else you could speak to about the candidate experience at Unity?
Corin: To return to transparency, we’ve published details about our hiring process so candidates know exactly what they’re in for. It includes everything from the types of questions we ask to tips on how to answer questions during the interview process. The hiring process is very much an open book; no one is trying to catch talent unaware and see how they respond under that kind of pressure. We’re truly just looking for alignment.
Jerson: I’d add that giving candidates the time and space they need in the process has been invaluable. In an ideal world, we’d hire really quickly, but no one is pushing that here. That breathing space has been particularly meaningful for underrepresented groups. I speak to a lot of female engineers, and I’m always asking: How can I, as a white man, encourage more women to come work at a company couched in a male-dominated industry… and it’s all about giving them space. They want certainty that a move to Unity is what will best serve them. So again, the time it takes often works in our favor.
How often do you communicate with candidates in process?
Jerson: Generally speaking there should be one touchpoint per week minimum, and typically it’s to move the candidate to the next stage. Because we have tools like Talenthub and Gem to keep us accountable, it’s easy for us to track candidates. As a best practice, I have time blocked out on my calendar a couple of times a week specifically to follow up with candidates, even if it’s just: I’m sending a note to say there’s no update this week, but I’ll reach out again early next week. Instances like that are rare because folks should be moving through the funnel, but the point is to stay consistent in your communication.
I’d add that it’s not just about being quick and honest with feedback, but also about being decisive. If it looks like someone isn’t going to progress, the best thing I can say to them is: We have all these other open roles; can we be flexible about where you might like to land with us?
What would you say is the most exciting part of your process for candidates?
Jerson: Meeting everyone and getting a real feel for the team. That tends to be what sells people. Unity has a product people already believe in. So getting to meet some of the people who have brought it to life is a really enjoyable part of the process.
Corin: When I was on the recruitment side, what was most exciting for me—and by extension, for the candidate—was really coming to understand what a given candidate was looking for. A lot of times candidates are in like-for-like roles. So the question becomes: How are they making an impact in this role? What’s the impact they want to be making? And then matching them with the opportunity at Unity that fulfills that desire for meaningfulness in their careers. Understanding their needs and then offering them a role that checks their boxes is deeply fulfilling for both sides.
Jerson: Absolutely. And because there are so many unique roles at Unity, we're pretty good at scanning the landscape of open reqs and spotting the role that’s right. We take a lot of people out of the games industry and bring them into technology. And talent often describes it as a kind of giving-back: they’ve already made games, and now they get to build the platform that allows others to do the same. Candidates tend to say: I’m looking for a bigger impact than working on a specific title. When we can name the impact they want to have out loud, that’s a beautiful moment of recognition.
What about internal teamwork? What role does that play in Unity’s candidate experience?
Corin: Jerson spoke to teamwork and collaboration earlier, and emphasizing that in process makes a huge difference. There’s no sense that anyone is “poaching” anyone’s candidates here. In fact, people celebrate each other's wins. We have a variety of shout-out channels in Slack that celebrate individual wins, and everyone takes part in that because each individual win is ultimately a team win. There’s a strong interest across the entire team in simply finding the right fits, collectively. The result is that candidates feel their best interest is in everyone’s hands.
Jerson: Recruiters are generally aligned to business units at Unity. And when you're aligned like that, you get an acute understanding of the team, how they work together, what their dynamic is, how individuals are growing in their roles, what additions would complement those things. So when you’re selling the team, you know exactly what kind of environment you're moving people into, rather than: Here's a job opening, can you fill it?
It sounds a little philosophical, but a vacancy for me is not a vacancy. It's a problem that needs solving. So to add to what Corin said, we're not just finding a body to put in a role. We’re thinking: Here's a problem. Here's someone who wants to solve that problem, and who can gain something from the experience while we benefit from their knowledge. It’s symbiotic. And that’s a big part of what I love about hiring at Unity. No one is saying: Here's a list of skills. Can you go and find them? We’re creatively fitting solutions to needs.
How early do you align on salary?
Jerson: As early as we can. It’s a bit trickier with passive candidates because they sometimes need more time to think about it, and we need to give them the space to know what’s right for them. For me, the question throughout the process is: What is going to work for you? I extract that information through a variety of questions, and sometimes it takes a few conversations. But ultimately, if somebody's in another job and they’re happy there, we need to meet their expectations rather than saying: Here's our salary banding, do you want it or not?
By the time candidates come to the offer stage, they’ve relayed to me what salary feels right for them and we cross-reference that internally to make sure we’re paying them fairly, in line with others in the same role. This gives us the confidence that we’re aligned when we move to offer.
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