September 14, 2020

Helping Springbuk Scale Their Engineering Team After Raising $20 Million

By Wes Winham

With health costs rising and companies struggling to keep up with them, every dollar counts. It’s a pain point that’s propelled health intelligence platform Springbuk toward rapid growth and an expanding customer base. The product’s goal: to empower companies to get even more ROI from the resources they spend on health benefits and wellness programs.

“Springbuk’s health intelligence platform helps employers better manage their benefits spend,” explained Steve Caldwell, Springbuk’s Vice President of Data, Infrastructure, and Security. Steve joined the nine-person Springbuk product team in 2017, and turned to his network to find new hires.

In January of 2018, Springbuk raised $20 million in venture capital to scale the business.

The Challenge: Hiring Effectively Without Drowning In Phone Screens

Springbuk’s product has attracted both customers and investors, making it the perfect time to hire, but that also led to a glut of candidates.

“I was not prepared for the onslaught,” Steve said, recalling that Springbuk received more than a thousand applications within three weeks. “The number of candidates at the top of the funnel was absurd,” he said. “One week I was doing five phone screens a day, twenty to thirty in a week, trying to figure out who to bring in.” The volume of applicants turned from windfall to problem quickly; Steve had to sift through dozens of candidates early in the process, and didn’t always do a thorough job of asking the most relevant questions.

Steve spent the first quarter of the year wading through applications, taking phone call after phone call, and neglecting his other duties as a technology leader. “I’m a technologist and I’m a builder,” he said. “I like to dream up the next big thing and bring together great people to build it.”

By the second quarter of the year, Steve felt woefully behind. “Things got done, but some of the bigger, more overarching projects I’d promised would be ready in Q2 weren’t completed on time,” he said. Product development and completion is rarely an exact science, but Steve couldn’t offer a clear roadmap to sales and engineers, which caused serious friction.

“Sales typically wants it yesterday”, Steve said. “We tried to figure out how to give them a realistic timeframe while adding some buffer, but the pressure was on.” In a year that brought a significant fundraise, Steve felt like his job suddenly gotten tougher.

After an introduction to Woven’s evidence-based developer hiring platform, Steve was ready to try a solution that could save him valuable time and provide him with a more effective way to find candidates. “There was a sea of applicants I had to wade through, and we didn’t have a good methodology in place,” he said. “I needed help from someone who did. We called it Operation ‘Save Steve from Phone Screen Hell’.”

The Opportunity: Hitting Hiring Goals On-Time Without Spending Too Much Time On Hiring

Steve’s hiring process was great for smaller teams; but he needed a process that would allow him to scale his team with high-quality engineers quickly and to help him find the hidden gem engineers that seemed hard to find.

“Most hires were word of mouth, so we trusted the technical abilities of those candidates,” he said. “We wanted hires whose applications we weren’t seeing. We didn’t want to miss out on a diamond in the rough. Woven kept checking in and we kept talking about new problems they could help with” Among those problems: no HR team or talent recruiter, and a skeleton crew of support staff.

The Results: A More Refined Hiring Process

But working with Woven immediately turned an overwhelming river of highly-variable candidates into a smooth stream of high-quality candidates. Today, Springbuk has a technology leadership team and a HR talent recruiter who handles their applicant system. In 2018, Steve’s team size nearly tripled, and Springbuk doubled their overall headcount.

“Woven’s tailored approach to recruiting has been a game changer for us. If I could go back and do it again, I would’ve hired Woven earlier in the process.”

The Vision: Better Candidates from Hidden Sources

Woven not only helped Steve refine his job descriptions, but showed him better locations to post them to attract talent. “We posted a senior DevOps engineer job on the monthly Hacker News job board,” he said. “The site led us to hire an exceptional engineer. That never would’ve happened if we hadn’t posted there, and we wouldn’t have posted there if Woven hadn’t told us about it.”

The lesson for Steve: getting it right the first time can do more than just save time. A solid hiring process can help avoid bad hiring outcomes and even more lost development time. “A bad engineering hire could cost $50,000 or more, not to mention the opportunity cost of a product not shipping on time,” he said. “When it comes to recruiting and hiring decisions, Woven helps me sleep better at night knowing that candidates are going through another layer of scrutiny from a team that has experience tackling hiring at scale.”

Springbuk’s future surely includes more growth—and with Woven’s help, Steve feels confident he can keep momentum for as long as he needs to. “The way I see it,” he said, “the peace of mind is worth the investment.”

Interested in learning more about how we can help your engineering team navigate fast growth? Request a demo to chat with our team. We’d love to help you grow your team, without getting stuck in phone screen hell.