Zoom’s head of talent shares tips for how to get hired, as the company is set to double its employee headcount this year (ZM)

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Zoom founder Eric Yuan speaks before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City.

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  • Given its exponential growth this year, Zoom is hiring quickly and is on track to double its total headcount by the end of this year. 
  • Business Insider spoke to Zoom’s head of global talent acquisition, Phil Haynes, about how the firm has adjusted its hiring practices to support its rapid growth and what recruiters look for in job candidates. 
  • “We’re just running fast and furiously and moving at warp speed,” Haynes said. “Across the board, we have to have people that can operate in that kind of fast-paced environment at the scale we are.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Zoom’s business is growing extremely quickly as the pandemic has made video conferencing an essential tool for work and social activities alike. To support that growth Zoom is on a hiring binge: It’s on track to double its headcount this year and is targeting 2,000 new employees globally by the end of the year. 

There’s now more Zoom employees on staff who have never been in a Zoom office than those that worked out of an office before the pandemic. The firm more than doubled its hiring target since January. 

“We basically said, okay, well, the original plan is now the first half of the plan,” Zoom’s head of global talent acquisition, Phil Haynes, told Business Insider. He had to triple his own team in order to support that many new hires, and in some cases build new teams from scratch. 

Zoom is hiring across the company, though the focus has shifted throughout the year. When the pandemic began in the spring, Zoom focused on customer-facing, revenue-generating roles, followed by a push to hire engineers to make sure the company could meet its new level of demand. Now the focus is on roles to support all those new teams, like recruiters, people experience workers, legal and compliance people, and more. 

Haynes describes Zoom’s hiring spree as a collective effort between the talent acquisition team and the rest of the company: “We’re just running fast and furiously and moving at warp speed,” he said.

Business Insider spoke to Haynes about how Zoom has been able to ramp up hiring so quickly, and also what makes prospective candidates stand out during the interview process right now. 

How Zoom plans to double its headcount by the end of the year

Before the pandemic Zoom’s talent acquisition team focused mainly on revenue and customer-facing roles, like sales and marketing, whereas technical recruiting for jobs in engineering were done by hiring managers themselves. But because the firm wanted to hire so many new employees, Haynes had to build an engineering recruiting team from scratch.

Also, Zoom’s applicant pool has widened significantly because employees no longer need to be centered around office locations. While Zoom said earlier this year that it plans to build offices in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Bangalore, India, it’s not only focusing on those regions, since right now all new hires are working remotely anyway.

How to get noticed by a Zoom recruiter

Prior to the pandemic, Zoom’s applicant pool was a mix of inbound interest and its own sourcing. It’s now receiving many more inbound applications than it used to, increasing the overall number of applicants. 

The first step to getting noticed for a position at Zoom right now is to make sure to apply to any new job openings as soon as you see them listed, Haynes said.

“Try and be one of those early applicants, so that you’re being reviewed quickly and efficiently,” he said. “If you’re late to the party, chances are, you may be buried.”

Another important factor is making sure you have the right skills for the job you’re applying for and can show you’ve been successful at that role before, Haynes said. Given how fast Zoom is growing, it’s looking for people who can hit the ground running, because there isn’t much time for training, he added. The more your skill-set matches the job description, the better your chances of getting in front of a recruiter. 

The way Haynes describes it, Zoom is looking for people who ask the right questions, can absorb information quickly, and not get bogged down by ambiguity or uncertainty caused by rapid growth.

“Across the board, we have to have people that can operate in that kind of fast-paced environment at the scale we are,” Haynes.

The next step is an interview with a recruiter who is trying to determine if someone is a good fit with Zoom’s values, which include caring for the customers, community, team, and yourself. So the interview will include questions like “How do you care for your community?” and “How have you cared for your teams?” Haynes said.

After applicants pass that step, they meet with a hiring manager, and the process starts to differ depending on the role. 

For customer-facing roles like sales, hiring managers value past success, so talking about how you’ve met quotas in the past helps. But more important than that is how customers are treated, so having examples of steps you’ve taken to delight or help customers goes a long way. 

As for engineering, now that an engineering recruiting team is in place, Zoom is creating a more formalized process for hiring. That includes building an automated coding test all applicants have to pass before getting an interview. 

Ultimately, Zoom is looking for people who can come in and get the job done. 

“We’re a relatively flat organization for a company of our size. And so even when we hire C-level executives, we find out, ‘Can you roll up your sleeves and do the heavy lifting,'” Haynes said. “We need executives that can dive deep, and we need individual contributors that can bring great ideas and be creative and bubble those ideas up.”

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