Samsara is an innovative leader in the connected operations industry. They provide critical data and actionable insights to thousands of customer organizations that manage their vehicle fleets, equipment, and worksites within Samsara's Connected Operations Cloud. AI safety programs, real-time visibility, and automated workflow reporting for data-driven decision-making are all available for customers on one integrated platform.

At its core, Samsara has a  mission to increase the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of operations that power the global economy. Foundational to that mission is the fusion of award-winning technology with world-class talent, leadership, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

In 2017, Samsara was working to refine its product and roadmap and gearing up for rapid growth. An international expansion soon followed and scaling the team was a necessary next step to continue to reach customers wherever they were. 

The Challenge? Preparing to scale

Kathryn Thane was hired in 2015 and became the first-ever recruiting coordinator at Samsara.  At the beginning of her tenure, she onboarded their ATS (Greenhouse) while managing all of their recruiting systems and vendors. As the single recruiting coordinator at that time in Samsara history, Kathryn was working primarily with recruiting agencies. 

It became clear that as the organization prepared to scale that it would benefit the entire company if all of the recruiting responsibilities transitioned in-house. For that to happen, the recruiting team needed to scale as well. 

As the team grew around her and began to evolve, Kathryn felt grateful for the new candidate experience programs and initiatives she was able to spearhead. But she also felt that one key area of the hiring process, scheduling candidate interviews, was time-consuming and unproductive. 

The coordination team was spending 80-90% of their time simply trying to schedule interviews. Especially tricky onsite interviews that involved multiple individuals. Kathryn described it as playing “Calendar Tetris.” 

“From a recruiting coordinator perspective, it was extremely frustrating because I didn’t feel like I could support my team or the candidates coming onsite as well as I wanted to.”

Training new interviewers

On top of scheduling interviews and all relevant candidate communications, the team also needed to maintain a consistent flow of new interviewers to keep up with the candidate volume. Samsara used spreadsheets to manually track the interviewer training process that employees went through to learn how to conduct a variety of interviews for different roles.

The training programs the team facilitated were robust and time-consuming. They were also critical for recruiting operations to run smoothly. When bandwidth was strained by lengthy interview scheduling the team had less time and bandwidth to devote to interviewer training.

When there was a sudden need to rapidly hire a large number of engineers the team found themself without enough interviewers. They managed to pull off some last-minute training sessions, and the mad-dash to train was ultimately successful.

Still, the team wanted to create a sustainable long-term process that wouldn’t leave anyone feeling burnt-out but wouldn’t sacrifice the quality instruction new interviewers needed to receive.  

New interviewers shadowed two interviews, and then reverse shadowed two more (meaning they led the interviews with an experienced observer). Completing this process with success meant employees were “promoted” to being fully-fledged interviewers.

Each shadow and reverse shadow event had to be meticulously tracked in the shared spreadsheet, and then manually inputted into the ATS.

Recruiting Team Growth And Pitching New Processes

As Samsara scaled, the recruiting team grew within it. They were able to succeed in bringing all recruiting operations in-house to support the overall growth of the organization. Along with this added responsibility came great opportunities for the team to communicate the Samsara brand and engage with candidates to create a superb experience. 

As a recruiting operations leader, Kathryn Thane began to think about ways she could streamline and automate certain parts of the Samsara hiring workflow. Spending less time scheduling interviews would allow the recruiting coordinators more time to tackle other projects and candidate experience efforts. 

She began looking for vendors that could alleviate the pain of the interview scheduling process and learned about Prelude through her Greenhouse customer success manager. Any additional tool in the recruiting tech stack needed to meet with executive approval. 

Ultimately, leadership was swayed once they were shown the projected time and cost savings of Prelude. Kathryn and the team outlined their talent strategy plans, and the projects they hoped to take on if they could relieve the interview scheduling strain.

One other key factor of Samsara’s decision was the strong partnership Prelude offered. A dedicated customer success manager and a regular cadence of giving product input meant Samsara’s team would have an active role in evolving the Prelude platform.

The Solution? Building a new recruiting partnership

Gaining executive buy-in for Prelude and signing on as a partner meant onboarding recruiting coordinators to the platform. The team worked hand-in-hand with Prelude’s customer success and engineering team until the new interview scheduling workflow began to feel second nature.  

A regular cadence of partnership meetings with Prelude customer success ramped existing coordinators. New hires onboarded with Prelude as part of the new Samsara candidate experience workflow. Above all else, Kathryn and the team felt most excited about how much she and the team felt heard. 

“We knew we weren’t the only Prelude customers but the team was always willing to jump on a call, listen to us, and partner on solutions and strategies that would improve our candidate experience. We were then and are now excited to hear about and partner on the next iterations of the Prelude platform.”

Using Prelude To Support DEI Efforts

Samsara has a goal to build an environment where dedicated people from a diverse range of communities and backgrounds feel welcome. The recruiting team responds to that aspiration by setting specific goals and strategies to diversify the interview process, and in doing so they have a huge role in diversifying the future workforce.

Fair sourcing and hiring practices are cornerstones of the Samsara recruiting strategy. Recruiters and hiring managers are all trained in Inclusive Recruiting Practices and Mitigating Unconscious Bias. 

One of the benefits of Prelude as a candidate experience platform was the load balancing feature Samsara could use to balance interviewer workloads. They also were able to balance scheduling interviews with interviewers using new tags and attributes that ensured equal representation.

Integrating Ongoing Interviewer Training

Training continued to be a high priority for the team. They wanted to avoid bulk-training sessions or being caught in an interview cycle without a diverse selection of interviewers. Tracking interviewer training on a spreadsheet didn’t allow the entire team to see who was on a certain interview stage within their ATS unless that information was continually manually uploaded. 

Bringing the reporting and implementation of the interviewer training program into Prelude allowed everyone who was scheduling easy one-click access to add trainees on any interview. Progress was tracked within Prelude. Once the relevant prerequisites were achieved by an interviewer the recruiting coordinators could easily promote and add them to the interviewer pool. 

Load balancing ensured a constant, steady pipeline of trainees made their way to the promoted interviewer pool. Requests the recruiting team made of Samsara employees to conduct interviews were sustainable and well-balanced with other work responsibilities.

The Results? An Evolved Recruiting Workflow

As a team heavily focused on data, Samsara leans on Prelude reporting to measure the impact the platform has on their time to hire. In 2021 the team scheduled 1840 complex panel interviews. Interviews used to take 30 minutes to schedule and now take less than 10 minutes. The team saved over 600 hours in 2021! 

Saving time and making the interview scheduling process less painful has a positive impact on the experience of the Samsara recruiting coordinators. They feel that key parts of their hiring process have been automated, which allows them time to focus on other projects and their own career development. 

After witnessing a transformation of her team and Samsara’s recruiting process Kathryn Thane is convinced the Prelude platform is an essential part of their HR Tech Stack. 

“For other recruiting teams, I would say: look at your current process and map out your entire candidate journey. What are all of your touchpoints from initially reaching out to a candidate through hiring? Where are you slowing down? Look at your process holistically, and then think about where a tool like Prelude can automate parts of that process to improve candidate experience.”

Candidate Experience of The Future

Samsara is among a group of Prelude customers providing input that helps develop our Prelude Engage candidate portal. They’ve always been valued partners as we build new features, but the potential to customize their candidate journey further is one of particular excitement to Kathryn. 

“During our interview process we have so much information for the candidate: Engage is an opportunity for us to deliver that information in a fun and engaging way. We’re excited to expand our partnership with Prelude as the platform continues to evolve.” 

Samsara’s team is making a lasting impact by helping to build a safer, smarter, and more sustainable world. In 2021 it was listed as one of Forbes's “Best Startup Employers”, and one of the Financial Times' “Fastest Growing Companies in the Americas” Samsara also went public in 2021: a huge achievement for the team and validation for their nearly 13,000 core customers.

As the recruiting team at Samsara stands at the frontlines of even more company growth they’re grateful for the automation Prelude supports during parts of their hiring process. Being empowered with technology that helps them prioritize a ‘white-glove’ candidate experience is a competitive advantage in their mission to bring on top talent to Samsara. 

To learn more about how Prelude’s candidate experience platform can help you automate key parts of your hiring process, please get in touch.