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Case study: The Tale Behind Tails.com

When every candidate wants the job and an intensive, resource-heavy interview process is involved, Tails.com needs to make sure every candidate is worth it

Tails.com is a smart service that creates and delivers bespoke meals for dogs, fulfilling 11,000 orders a day. They have a diverse team of 26 nationalities across 200 people, and 20 pooch helpers on any given day. With a rapidly expanding engineering team and the backing of the biggest food company in the world, attracting and retaining the best talent is critical. With pressures like this, a highly structured hiring process exists, in which almost every permanent member of staff plays a role. So for Head of Engineering, Mario Behrendt, getting it right is key.

The Challenge:

With an intensive, resource-heavy hiring process, Tails needs to ensure that plenty of pre-qualified candidates come through the top of the funnel.

“Our interview funnel involves a lot of face-to-face interviews. You meet a lot of people from various teams and different kinds of engineers. And so you have a very good understanding as to who you'd be working with or what kind of person they are. We've never had a single offer rejected because people are very clear on what to expect in the role.” With zero candidate rejection, Tails put the time into ensuring that they really get to know everyone they meet. And this takes time.

“We've used basically everything that exists in the recruitment world, and they're all a couple of years behind Stack Overflow if you compare the Stack Overflow Candidate Search with other CV searches.”

After moving away from traditional recruitment platforms that didn’t offer the same quality or specificity of candidates, Stack Overflow became their go-to. “We've used basically everything that exists in the recruitment world, and they're all a couple of years behind Stack Overflow if you compare the Stack Overflow Candidate Search with other CV searches.”

The Solution:

A funnel of quality candidates to cut down on hiring time and costs.

With a high-performing Stack Overflow presence, Mario builds the flow of candidates into their HR screening and hiring process. And when he needs to actively search and conduct outreach, the whole job becomes a lot easier: “It's simple enough to use, but it also gives you all the tools to filter. For example, you can look specifically for active Python engineers in a particular area, and then you can drill down to the people you want to have access to.”

When listing jobs, he finds the backend powerful and easy to use. Mario says he tweaks and plays around with listings and learns from statistics to make sure the right candidates are continually coming through. “It just about gives you all the right tools you need to be really successful without overloading the experience and making it hard to use,” which can only be a good thing for such a robust hiring process.

The culture at Tails is part of how they hire, and this is something that Mario and his team are able to communicate on their Stack Overflow Company Page. “We have a unique culture in terms of what we're looking for in our candidates. And so we're looking for people that want to achieve something and want to drive something forward.”

This culture comes across clearly in their Benefits section, and Mario feels that their company page performs well for them: “We have a lot of pictures on there and videos to show our company culture, and I think that really helps.”

The Result:

Knowing the investment that goes into each hire, Mario feels these results are impressive. And the team is on the up, busy into a new year and looking to add more developers: “We’re growing as a company, but in engineering specifically, the current forecast for this year is another 18 engineers.”

"Last year, at least one-quarter of our hires were from Stack Overflow." 

Mario and his team are always learning and testing the way they hire and feel that Stack Overflow is helping to keep a very strong funnel of candidates: “We've spent so much time on getting to a point where we have a very strong funnel with a lot of candidates coming in every single day, but also building this interview process in a very precise way to make sure we are hiring only the best people possible rather than just adding people to the team and then regretting it. We want to maintain our company culture. We want to maintain the high bar we set in the beginning.”

Learn more about Tails.com in the interview with Mario Behrendt, Head of Engineering.

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