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Peloton’s 3 Strategies to Win the Race for Tech Talent

For a small startup in New York in 2016, growth meant competing for top tech talent against big names like Bloomberg, Google, and Yahoo. Over the last two years, Peloton has not only been able to overcome this obstacle, but swiftly as well.

Peloton’s products are quickly becoming hot commodities. Their stationary bikes give users a world-class cycling experience all within the comfort of their own homes. The company has experienced explosive growth in the last two years--going from 200 employees to 1100 and with over 40 retail stores around the country.

We got the chance to host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Peloton’s Senior Technical Recruiter, Will Blaze, where he addressed one of the biggest challenges in the tech recruiting space today: the dreaded talent shortage. Will shared three strategies that helped his team quickly find the best candidates in a shrinking talent pool:

1) Focus on Active, Not Passive Candidates

When looking for top-performers, most companies focus on snagging passive candidates instead of active candidates. Peloton does the opposite. Often hot companies find they're inundated with irrelevant, low-quality applicants by candidates who apply to every job online. Focusing on finding available candidates with the right skills allows Peloton to tap into a pool of quality candidates that may have been overlooked by other companies. There’s no talent shortage if you’re dipping into the current pool and finding candidates with the skills you need.

Candidates who are actively seeking work are also more inclined to come onboard sooner than those who are still working for their current employers. Peloton has been able to move faster with these candidates, shortening the typical long hiring process.


2) Skills over Resumes

Since Will joined Peloton in 2016 his team has helped scale the engineering organization from a team of 20 to 110. They credit their swift growth to an optimized screening process. Instead of poring over a high volume of resumes, the team uses CodeScreen to send automated coding challenges to narrow down candidates with the skills they need.

For more experienced developers, the team uses a video coding interview tool called CodePair. Previously, administering a technical interview required manually creating an individual Google Doc for each candidate they were interested in. This wasn’t the best candidate experience.

Now they have a robust question library the engineers can refer to, they can run and test the code in interviews, and candidates have a more natural pair programming environment. With HackerRank’s integration with Greenhouse (their applicant tracking system), the process of sending the challenge is just one quick click after they’ve confirmed an interview.


3) Non-traditional Candidates and Sources

Another approach to winning top-tier talent from the neighboring tech giants was finding candidates in places others weren’t looking. During their university recruiting season the team visited the usual big name schools but also targeted events like the female-developer focused conference Grace Hopper. There they were able to hire a few entry-level developers.

But it's not enough to just find talent in uncommon places. Peloton also welcomes candidates with non-traditional backgrounds. One of their newest top performers is a financial analyst turned developer, with the help of a coding bootcamp, who aced their coding challenge right off the bat. His proven technical skills reflected that he could get the job done--having a background in finance didn’t matter. Will believes that being inclusive of these types of candidates helps the company become more diverse.

The tech talent shortage remains a hotly debated topic in recruiting. It seems to be all a matter of perspective. For Peloton, overcoming it means leaving no stone unturned and shifting focus to one key idea: do they have the skills to get the job done?

For more about how Peloton recruits tech candidates watch the full webinar below:

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