Vivint’s Strategies for Hiring 1,943 Employees in a YearFebruary 27, 2014 by Erin Osterhaus
In 2013, Utah headed the list of the top ten states contributing to job growth in the US. Spearheading that growth was Vivint, a company that creates and installs home automation software (which allows users to do everything from control the temperature to unlock the doors of their home through their mobile device).
In 2013 alone, Vivint created 1,943 new jobs in a range of departments, including sales, customer care, account creation, software development and corporate. In order to fill all these new roles, Vivint had to hire, on average, five new employees every day—an impressive feat that sent the company to the top of the list on Inc’s Top 100 Job Creators in 2013.
But how did they do it? I sat down with Sean McKeehan, Vivint’s Director of Talent Acquisition, to identify key strategies the company has used to source and hire nearly 2,000 new employees.
Reward Employees for Referrals
Vivint’s rapid growth is the result of its recent purchase by Blackstone for approximately $2.2 billion. As McKeehan noted in our interview, that kind of capital “opens up a lot of growth opportunities in a lot of different areas.”
One of those areas has been Vivint’s call centers. These centers are home to a variety of roles, including inside sales, customer care and account creation. Employee referrals have been Vivint’s best source for these positions, McKeehan notes, comprising 40 percent of all new call center hires.
Overall, roughly 650 of Vivint’s 1,943 hires last year came from employee referrals. In order to achieve—and maintain—these high numbers, Vivint instituted a formal referral program, McKeehan says. The program compensates employees for each referral they bring in, and the rewards they get are based on the company’s current needs.
For instance, at the moment, “We have a little bit greater need for a few call center positions,” McKeehan explains. “So for the next 300 new call center hires, we’ve made it known that referrers will receive twice the amount of the usual referral award.”
In order to ensure that as many employees make referrals as possible, McKeehan’s team sends a quarterly internal email to all staff to remind them of the current incentives. Television monitors around Vivint’s campus advertise the referral rewards program. Flyers are even distributed in the company cafeteria.
But McKeehan doesn’t stop there. In order to make sure ALL employees are aware of the program, he and his team often visit new-hire orientation classes—reminding even freshly-minted Vivint staff that the company wants to meet, and potentially hire, their friends.
According to McKeehan, the program has been resoundingly successful, even though rewards for referrals are typically only $100-$200. As he says, “That’s why culture is so important to us, and why we want our people to love working for Vivint: so they will want to refer friends and family to work for us, regardless of the referral fee. And they do.”
Host Regular Hiring Events
While employee referrals can be used to target specific positions, Vivint employs another strategy that has dramatically helped increase its volume of new hires for all open positions: it holds a regular on-site hiring event.
Vivint’s Corporate Campus
Once every quarter, Vivint opens up its corporate campus in Provo, Utah to people in the community who are interested in what the company has to offer. In order to get the word out and encourage attendance, McKeehan sends his recruiters to local universities, places Facebook ads and even arranges a live broadcast of the event itself on a local radio station.
The result of these efforts: Vivint’s most recent campus recruiting event had 300-400 attendees, a pool from which the recruiting team hired 153 new employees in one night. This sort of rapid recruitment requires everyone’s full participation: McKeehan and his team of 18 recruiters held 20-minute onsite interviews for each and every attendee during the three-hour event.
During these interviews, says McKeehan, the recruiting team informs applicants about Vivint’s culture, atmosphere, salary and benefits. They provide a background of the company’s vision and mission, as well as what McKeehan calls “the exciting things employees are looking for.”
Among these exciting perks: free lunch to every employee every day; an onsite health clinic that’s free of charge for all employees; a full-length basketball court; ping pong tables; and a workout gym.
Vivint’s Corporate Basketball Court
These perks and Vivint’s company culture—which McKeehan describes as ever-changing, fun and challenging—are strong selling points for a broad range of people. Highlighting these at on-site events (where applicants can also witness them firsthand) helps attract a large number of potential candidates, and results in a high volume of new recruits.
Keep Your Recruiters Well-Informed
While McKeehan and his staff work well as a team, recruiters also have to make informed decisions on their own—which means they need to be, well, informed. To ensure a free flow of information, McKeehan emphasizes the importance of having a solid relationship and open communication with every single hiring manager his team works with. This means holding monthly informational meetings between recruiters and the leadership teams that they’re supporting within the organization.
In these meetings, recruiters glean the information they need to do their jobs most effectively. By speaking directly to hiring managers on a regular basis, Vivint’s recruiters are able to prepare interview scripts with specific questions tailored for each role they’re looking to fill.
As a result of this practice, McKeehan and his team are able to save the management team quite a bit of time by doing most of the pre-screening and interviewing beforehand—ensuring that hiring managers see only the best candidates the first time around.
If you need to hire a high volume of new employees in a rather short period of time, Vivint’s methods can serve you well. Leverage your current employees’ contacts, reach out to the community with regular hiring events and make sure your recruiting team has open communication with the hiring managers they work with. You might not need to hire 1,943 employees in a year—but using these tactics, you can get closer to achieving your goals.
Images provided by Vivint.