Achievement First + VidCruiter
We had the pleasure of working with Achievement First in 2017 to help them manage their high volume of applications. After a brief hiatus, Achievement First came back to VidCruiter in 2021 for assistance with their reference checking. To learn more about their story, we sat down with Nibette Aning, Achievement First’s Director of Recruitment Data and Operations. Nibette has been working with Achievement First for 11 years and she oversees the full recruitment process, making sure it’s streamlined and equitable for all candidates.
About Achievement First
Achievement First is a network of charter schools, operating in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, USA. The non-profit network started out with a single middle school. Two decades later, Achievement First has 41 schools serving over 15,000 students—and this number continues to grow.
The ChallengeA small team manually interviewing and evaluating a growing number of applicants
Due in part to their continuing growth, Achievement First recruits a high number of school leaders, teachers, teachers-in-residence, and operations staff. “We typically place upwards of 500 new hires in our schools, every year,” Nibette explains. And for 500 new hires, the recruiting team has to manage approximately 5000 applications.
For the thousands of applicants that need to be screened each year, there are just 11 team members talking to the candidates. “It was time-consuming to talk to all of those people and a challenge to find times that worked for both our team and the applicants,” Nibette adds. The situation was even more challenging during COVID-19 when many team members (and applicants) were juggling with kids at home or a disrupted schedule.
Nibette recalls that phone screenings had limitations. “There wasn’t always enough information that we could collect in those 30-minute phone calls, and inevitably we’d schedule live interviews with anyone that showed promise.”
Additionally, Nibette tells us that there wasn’t a clearly defined standard on how to evaluate each individual, so the evaluations risked being inconsistent. “We only had notes from the recruiter for each applicant, and they weren’t in a centralized location. It was onerous to get the data to begin with, and impossible to be able to finetune an evaluation process.”
Achievement First also had challenges with their reference checking process. Their previous solution wasn’t able to integrate with their new applicant tracking system (ATS), Greenhouse. Nibette explains how, for a short while, her team had to manually reach out to hundreds of references. “We were sending a form to our recruiters, who had to go in and call all of those references which was a huge drain on our time.”
The SolutionVidCruiter’s pre-recorded interviewing and automated reference checking
When Achievement First opened an additional four schools last year, Nibette knew it was time for a better hiring solution. “We realized that it won’t be feasible to serve 50+ schools with 11 people doing this volume of phone screening. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day,” Nibette summarizes.
With pre-recorded interviewing, Nibette’s team is able to allow all candidates applying for specific roles to record themselves answering pre-set questions, eliminating the need to conduct interviews themselves. “For our teacher-in-residence and operations candidates, everyone starts with an application, and then everyone moves to the pre-recorded interview,” Nibette tells us.
Achievement First also uses a structured rating system which is built into the pre-recorded interview process. The rating system helps to ensure that all recruiters are evaluating to the same standard. The pre-recorded interviews allow Achievement First to re-watch and share video interviews for insightful evaluations. “The video interviews are recorded so we can have another teammate weigh in, too.”
The automated reference checking allows Achievement First to collect references without the need for recruiters to contact the referees. “
The ResultsA reduced number of manual processes and an equitable way to evaluate candidates
The pre-recorded videos have helped Achievement First get a clearer insight into their candidates. “I think the pre-recorded interview gives candidates the opportunity to gather their thoughts before they answer questions. There’s a pressure when you’re on the phone with someone to start talking right away before you’re ready with an answer.” Nibette also tells us how eliminating scheduling has saved a lot of time for Achievement First, “Looking at the data, we’ve saved 12 minutes per interview on scheduling alone using VidCruiter.”
A structured rating process allows Achievement First’s program managers to perform quality checks by looking at any one interview and its scores, allowing for a more consistent evaluation process. “The ratings give us a record of what happened. If the managers aren’t aligned with scores that the recruiter gave, we can give training so that all recruiters are evaluating to the same bar.” It’s now much easier to double-check interviews due to the automated organization of all videos. “We have a bank of all of our videos, organized by position – it’s super easy for the managers to go in and see what they’re looking for.”
Achievement First frees up a lot of time with automated referencing. “People love it – our team loves it. Especially after they had to manually make the phone calls themselves. Everyone is very happy to say goodbye to that process”, Nibette tells us.
The referencing tool is also fully integrated into their ATS, Greenhouse, allowing the team to work from the platform they use regularly. Nibette explains how helpful this integration is for her team. “Information is flowing back into Greenhouse, they don’t have to go into VidCruiter to use it, because everything connected. Everything is in one place where they’re going to spend most of their day anyway, is just music to everyone’s ears.”
Automation has really helped to manage Achievement First’s volume of applicants, and ensure they’re being consistently evaluated. “We’ve checked the boxes on those issues,” Nibette says.
Nibette summarizes her experience with VidCruiter by telling us about the value and service she’s received, “The value-to-cost ratio is through the roof, we’ve been so happy with everybody that we’ve worked with from the implementation through to the work we’ve done with Sneha’s team [at VidCruiter]. The experience has been so responsive and accommodating, it really took the pressure off of us.”
Achievement First + VidCruiter = A great partnership
Integrated hiring process
Eliminated phone screening
Consistent evaluation process
Time back for other tasks