Why structured hiring is key to Datadog’s successful global expansion

Happy team meeting

4 mins, 2 secs read time

Greenhouse recently held a webinar exploring how our customer Datadog uses consistent, structured hiring to fuel their global expansion, hosted in partnership with Crosschq and Starred. The event featured Rosa Gandler, Senior Operations Manager at Greenhouse, alongside Marissa Parillo, Senior Director of Business Recruiting at Datadog.

Climbing the Hiring Maturity curve

The webinar began with Rosa’s overview of Greenhouse Hiring Maturity™️, our framework for great hiring. Rosa explained that, in our work with thousands of companies across the globe, we’ve noticed that they climb a maturity curve as they improve their hiring performance over time. Using four stages of Hiring Maturity – chaotic, inconsistent, systematic and strategic – Greenhouse helps companies at every stage of the curve enhance their recruiting practices and workflows to get to a place of consistent excellence, where they’re ready to hire for whatever’s next for their business. (Find out how effective your company’s hiring process is and identify areas of opportunity for improvement, even when you’re not actively hiring, by taking the Hiring Maturity assessment.)

Datadog’s hiring journey

Using this model, the webinar looked at how Marissa’s team at Datadog climbed the Hiring Maturity curve while doubling their global headcount. Marissa is passionate about building scalable recruiting programs, hiring high-performing teams and navigating through challenges of hypergrowth stage organizations. Marissa is proud to have built a recruiting team that has contributed to more than 17x growth – from 120 people to over 2,200 people worldwide.

“I joined Datadog back in 2015 as our first recruiter on the ground. I was our Senior Recruiter dedicated mostly to Sales and Marketing – at that time, we had really big growth goals, which took off pretty immediately,” said Marissa. She explained that over the first four years, Datadog grew at about 100% year over year, which is challenging to keep up with in terms of being proactive. “I was fortunate enough to be able to grow the team so that by 2018, we were close to a 25-person business recruiting team. Today, we're close to a 45-person team, so we've grown a lot. I've been really fortunate to be able to work hard, build a great team and execute our aggressive growth goals."

As Rosa explained, that kind of exponential growth really tests a TA team’s ability to stay consistent. That’s where structured hiring can really play a key role in establishing alignment and efficiency at scale.

“When I started, we were using agencies and the hiring manager and doing a lot of hiring through referrals,” said Marissa. “And while we were on Jazz, which is a different applicant tracking system (ATS), nobody was truly using it. It was challenging because I was pulling together candidates on spreadsheets.” Marissa explained that over the next couple of months, her team selected Greenhouse as their new ATS. There was data available to bring over from Jazz so the implementation was quick – but there wasn't a lot of process to bring over, which meant Marissa’s team would need to build from scratch.

A new, structured hiring process

“Greenhouse was the new reality for us and we really wanted it to be successful. So we knew we had to establish that with the leadership team before launch,” said Marissa. “I remember sitting down with folks and saying, ‘Hey, this is coming and here's how we want to use it and here's why.’ And so there was a little bit of change management early on. And then once we did launch, we did a training with the leaders to get everyone familiar in Greenhouse.”

After launching Greenhouse in 2016, Marissa and the team made it a goal to drive greater scorecard adoption and early role-based interviewing by incorporating company values into each interview and establishing a consistent, structured hiring process. By 2018, Datadog had fully fleshed out a role-based interview process for their largest departments, Sales and Engineering. And by 2019, there was major acceleration as the Datadog team had more significant adoption of scorecards – “to the point where our C-level execs were asking for them,” said Marissa.

As far as lessons learned, Marissa explained that even when building an entirely new process, you have more control than you think – and for her team, it starts with operational excellence. “We started really deep-diving into data cleanliness, revisiting the way role requirements were set up using templates for consistency and truly building reporting capabilities.” With a consistent, structured hiring approach, Marissa and team have taken Datadog to the strategic level of hiring. By continually optimizing and maintaining their hiring process, Datadog is set up for success now and into the future.

To gain even more insights into improving your hiring strategy now, visit the full webinar plus live Q&A, available on demand.

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