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TEDxToronto is reducing their recruitment admin time by 80%

TEDxToronto is a unique organization in more ways than one. First, they are Canada’s largest independent TED conference. And second, their workforce is completely volunteer-based.

Kareen Sarhane, TEDxToronto’s (volunteer) Head of Talent, has put a considerable amount of time and energy into understanding what motivates people to join and stay as volunteers. While they can’t offer compensation, they can offer connection to one of the world’s most compelling thought leadership brands. 

Candidates join the team for all kinds of reasons: a strong connection to TEDxToronto’s mission, networking, helping share ideas across communities, or gaining professional experience. With a naturally diverse range of applicants, all striving to join the TEDxToronto team for their own reasons, keeping track of applicants was—in Kareen’s words—”a nightmare.” 

Before she joined up as Head of Talent, TEDxToronto’s recruitment strategy was a side-of-desk responsibility for already-stretched core-team members. Lacking a formal system, they used a few basic tools to track applicants manually. The candidate experience suffered, and hiring took more time and energy than most volunteers were prepared for.

Until they found Pinpoint, that is.

It’s probably cut down our recruitment admin time by 80%. I can’t tell you how immensely valuable that is for a volunteer organization, where time is of the essence because we’re all doing this work in our personal time.

Kareen Sarhane
TEDxToronto Head of Talent

It’s all about sustainability

In a non-profit organization that’s 100% volunteer-run, sustainable workflows are essential. Wasted time is a drain on the precious time and energy volunteers have donated—and before Pinpoint, they donated a lot of hours to tedious administrative tasks in the recruiting process. 

The only tools available were basic and nonspecific, like Gmail and Google Sheets. There was no online application process, just an inbox where applicants could send their resumes. As a result, the TEDxToronto team couldn’t track details about applicant volume, view applicant status, or build a talent pipeline for the future.

As the first-ever Head of Talent at TEDxToronto, Kareen’s focus was on sustainability, reducing administrative efforts, and increasing results. Today, she sees Pinpoint as a partner who can help support the TEDxToronto team for years to come.

“Pinpoint has been great at helping us streamline the application process and basically saved us this year during one of the most complex recruitment pushes we’ve ever made, with four rounds of hiring,” she told us.

The difference is night and day

When we asked how Pinpoint has helped improve the talent acquisition process at TEDxToronto, Kareen didn’t hesitate: “It’s like night and day.”

Candidates can now engage with an online application process, where once there was just an email inbox. Unsurprisingly, the feedback the team has been receiving from candidates is overwhelmingly positive. People talk about how seamless it was to apply—and that goes double for the hiring managers.

With all their applicant information finally in one place, hiring managers can easily see who’s applied to an open position and where each candidate sits in the interview process. “We aren’t using the scorecards effectively yet,” Kareen admits. “It’s nothing to do with Pinpoint. As Head of Talent, I’m focused on how to get people to hire based on our values. That’s been a big learning for me.”

Pinpoint has been massively helpful for coordinating and scheduling interviews and keeping all the information in one place.

Pinpoint is saving TED volunteers time and energy

Our conversation with Kareen returned to the concept of centralized simplicity again and again. “I can’t stress enough the importance of having all the applicant information in one place,” she said. “We’re all volunteers, so we just don’t have time to track all that manually.”

She expected to love the quick win of having an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to lean on. What she didn’t expect was how quickly the team took to it.

It’s such a user-friendly tool, I was able to pop in there and figure almost everything out on my own. It’s also so customizable and easy to configure. I can put up a new posting in about a minute.

Now, people on the core team name-drop Pinpoint as though it’s been part of their lives forever. They’re able to pick it up and start running with just the recruitment toolkit Kareen put together—and if they need more support, our unparalleled customer service team is just a quick chat away.

Spreading ideas and leaving a legacy

Most people can’t volunteer for TEDxToronto indefinitely, but Kareen hopes that Pinpoint is the legacy she’ll leave behind whenever she moves on. 

And that legacy is more than a centralized, scalable workflow that’s cut their admin time down by 80%. (She probably could have stopped there, but TEDxToronto is a team of overachievers.)

There’s now a volunteer directory, easy interview scheduling, and scorecards to sharpen their focus even further for future hires. The talent pool is of particular value; they can find and contact candidates who weren’t a great fit for the original role they interviewed for, but are a great fit for TEDxToronto in general. Because they’ve never had that ability before, many excellent candidates have slipped through the cracks. But that loss of talent is a thing of the past.

Pinpoint is incredibly proud to partner with a brand like TEDxToronto and to play a small role in disseminating ideas worth spreading to the best candidates on the market.

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