The Ultimate Coda Handbook for Recruiting Teams

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The Ultimate Coda Handbook for Recruiting Teams

What I've learned from hundreds of teams about exceptional hiring.
I’m Kenny Mendes, and I lead the People & Operations team at Coda. I’m obsessed with building exceptional startups and believe that talent is one of the biggest success drivers.
Prior to Coda, I scaled Box from 40 to 1,200 employees. While there, I ran a comprehensive People Analytics research initiative to understand the factors that predict top performance in hiring. I also regularly advise founders on team building and lead , an exclusive cohort-based course for CEOs wanting to build world-class teams.
Through interviewing and working with hundreds of executives and recruiting teams over the years, I’ve learned what sets exceptional hiring practices apart from the rest—and seen wildly different ways of solving a common set of problems.
I’m sharing the most insightful approaches in this handbook, which I designed to be a definitive guide to help you significantly improve your recruiting team’s rituals. Here you’ll find best practices, useful tips, and customizable templates you can quickly get started with. These strategies have helped companies like Pinterest, Uber, Spotify, Square, and more stand out in highly competitive markets—and I hope they’ll do the same for you.

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Four recruiting team rituals & how Coda transforms them.

Ritual #1: & consolidate scattered context into a centralized source of truth.

Problem: Scattered context and too many tools slows down the hiring process.

Most recruiting teams have accumulated a long list of specialized tools; one for sourcing, one for scheduling, candidate tracking, feedback tracking—the list goes on. As a result, important context ends up being buried across multiple different places. When a recruiting team shows us their current setup, almost every time they pull up a collection of docs, sheets, and standalone software.
Navigating ten tabs for one hiring process might be the norm, but it’s extremely inefficient. Recruiters and coordinators end up with repetitive manual tasks to keep hiring teams updated on progress for every role search. As a recruiting leader from a major tech company shared:
“We’re creating candidate updates, sourcing reports, interview schedules, feedback trackers. We’re constantly coordinating with multiple departments. These details become outdated the moment they're distributed.”
The other downside of this tool sprawl is that it creates silos of crucial data. Recruiters often find themselves wasting time transferring data between tools or filling out the same templates across multiple platforms. This redundant effort, though often unnoticed at the organizational level, burdens the already-swamped recruiter. One recruiter I spoke to mentioned that before Coda, almost 50% of their time was consumed in such tedious work.

Solution: Centralized hubs as your source of truth.

Recruiting leaders are used to running lean, so it’s important to have processes that are organized, efficient, and automated. These centralized hubs bring everything together, rather than key information being scattered across giant spreadsheets, docs, and recruiting tools.

Recruiting team hubs.

Hiring manager hubs.

Ritual #2: Effective helps you stand out from the competition.

Problem: Recruiting is sales—but without the right tools and rigor, you struggle to close the strongest talent.

When candidates are flooded by opportunities, you can’t wait for top talent to come knocking. Without the right set of activities, hiring managers are faced with paltry pipeline and have to pick between candidates that don’t meet their criteria. And when competition is fierce, recruiting teams need to stand out from start to finish. Otherwise, you work hard to convince passive candidates to interview, only to see them withdraw after poor experiences during the interview loop.

Solution: Stand out by being disciplined, organized, and incredibly compelling from start to finish.

The best recruiting teams are both aggressive and consistent about building a strong pipeline, with an emphasis on passive candidate outreach. They collaborate closely with hiring managers to research and map out the talent market, identify leading candidates, reach out, and passionately pitch them.
Imagine a recruiting process where a candidate is blown away by every single touch point they have with the company. A process like that doesn’t happen naturally. Rather, the recruiting team works to build a sales-oriented hiring culture, methodically training every recruiter, hiring manager, and interviewer to be phenomenal representatives of the company. After all, it’s that group’s job to convince these candidates that they’d be crazy not to consider joining this company.

Ritual #3: drive stronger hiring outcomes through principled decision-making.

Problem: Slow or wrong decisions lead to painful hiring mistakes.

Decision-making, particularly around candidate selection, is a topic I frequently discuss with other recruiting leaders. Concerns often range from “decisions taking too long” to “hasty or gut-based decisions leading to wrong and costly hires.”
In these scenarios, I usually ask them to showcase the thought process or describe the forums (meetings, documents, etc.) where these decisions happen. Many teams point to important data points scattered across applications, docs, interviewing platforms, candidate submissions, and Slack. Teams regularly miss the opportunity to review the complete set of data in aggregate, and often make hiring decisions based on just the most recent part of the interview process, like the onsite.
When it comes to making a final call, you’re left with 30+ data points and a mountain of feedback to parse through. It’s easy to misinterpret which signals matter when they’re fragmented like this.

Solution: Systematic, valid, and predictive processes that guide the right hiring outcomes.

To start, you need to build an interview process that will give you the most accurate read of a candidate’s potential in your team. Begin with a proper with key stakeholders, and draft a clear rubric for what is needed in the role and how to best measure those traits.
Next, thoughtfully construct an evaluation system that covers everything from how resumes are scored, to what interview questions are asked, and how they will be graded. And remember one-to-one interviews are some of the least predictive and accurate methods of assessment. To get a better signal, create work sample tests that simulate the type of work the candidate will be doing in the role. It’s also important to carefully audit each interview prompt and make efforts to verify its accuracy. Is it a true indicator of a candidate’s ability? Are you seeing patterns of false positives (saying yes to poor candidates) or false negatives (rejecting good candidates)?
And don’t forget about effective references too. References are usually left as a final, check-the-box step in the recruiting process. But, when run properly, they can be the most predictive and useful part of your interview loop.

Ritual #4: help seal the deal and close the best candidates.

Problem: Losing candidates at the finish line due to inconsistent and disorganized closing.

When a candidate is near the end of the process, you never want to leave anything to chance. Recruiting teams have to master the art of the close, and use every tool at their disposal to win the candidate. When this isn’t the case, it’s easy to invest time and effort into the recruiting process, yet lose candidates before they get over the finish line. The best organizations realize closing is a team sport, and leverage multiple well-planned touch points to keep momentum high and win over talent.

Solution: Standardize your closing strategy.

When it comes to closing, there’s a long list of useful activities, such as encouraging emails from team members, reach outs from leadership, phone calls with peers, thoughtful gifts, and more. Leading organizations made sure to lay out a clear plan for what could be done, and execute against that plan using closing checklists.
The most basic starting point is to create a so the full recruiting and leadership team know which candidates are getting offers and how they can help close. During the closing process, the team can log a probability/confidence score so everyone knows how the offer is trending and what to emphasize on the next call.
Here are some other key steps for an effective closing strategy:
1. Master the sell. It’s important to remember that closing starts from the very first conversation with a candidate, so you need to ensure every person in the hiring process is well-versed on the company pitch. See more on that in .
3. Stand out on an emotional level.
Candidates need to feel safe, wanted, and appreciated by their prospective home. Though it’s rarely explicitly stated, this factor often matters much more than elements like compensation and title.

Explore the handbook.

Depending on the needs of your recruiting organization, get started with any of these rituals:

Check out the Ultimate Coda Handbook for People Teams

For best practices spanning the full people life-cycle, check out the People Handbook
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