3 Steps Mozilla Took to Achieve Recruiting Excellence

When Mathew Caldwell first joined Mozilla in August 2012 as Director, Global Talent Acquisition, he was faced with a big challenge. While he had the benefit of working for a company with global brand recognition, the actual recruiting resources he had available to him were weak. Searches were ad hoc and unstructured. Recruiters were getting crushed by excessive workloads. There was a distinct lack of alignment and formalized process in place.
How did Caldwell and his team turn it around? I was lucky enough to attend a session at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect Conference in October in which he shared the steps they took to ramp up Mozilla’s talent acquisition strategy and achieve recruiting excellence.

1) Identify and Address Your Bottlenecks

Problem: Mozilla had a bloated recruiting process with an excessive workload of mostly mid-senior level roles. Their recruiting team had 65 unique roles to fill in the second half of 2012 alone, and at any given time, an individual recruiter would be juggling searches for completely different roles — in sales, marketing, engineering, etc. — all at once. That made it difficult for recruiters to develop their expertise and a deep network in a particular area. They lost productivity switching back and forth between completely unrelated searches.
Solution: Mozilla hired additional recruiters and sourcers and created a group structure of recruiting teams called “Alignment Pods,” each devoted to a particular focus area — sales, marketing, engineering, etc. They also offered training tracks to every Mozilla employee to encourage them to learn more about hiring, interviewing, and how they could help with the hiring workload.

2) Establish Formalized Processes

Problem: There was a lack of uniformity and consistency in both the recruiting and hiring process, resulting in inefficiency and making it very difficult to institute broad improvements.
Solution: One of the first steps Caldwell and his team took was to formalize their intake meetings to ensure they defined the recruiting, interviewing, and decision-making process for every search. In addition, they instituted recruiter-driven de-brief meetings for each search and created a standard form to collect feedback.

3) Always Be Coaching

Problem: The hiring process was tired and sloppy, it lacked enthusiasm and new ideas.
Solution: Mozilla invested in training for the recruiting team and hiring managers. Recruiters took project management courses, Boolean search trainings, and leadership workshops.Hiring managers were coached on how to align with recruiting, and on team management.
As a result, there was a constant flow of new ideas, re-energizing the team overall. There was also more alignment throughout the interview teams, contributing to a cleaner interview process.


  • Improved retention: When Caldwell joined Mozilla retention was trending down in three key areas the company was focusing on — product management, UX, and engineering. By 2013, retention was trending back up.
  • Boost in referrals: Referrals are a sign employees are happy — after all, they want to recommend the company to a friend and they trust the recruiting team will provide them with a good experience. In just three quarters, referrals at Mozilla jumped nearly 25% to account for 41% of their new hires.
  • Internal branding & buy in: After the improvements, 92% of the organization viewed recruiting as a a trusted part of the business that actively contributes to company growth.

Key Takeaway

Whether you are a large, global company like Mozilla or a small startup, weak recruiting practices will slow your growth and damage your brand. Implementing processes to organize and optimize your recruiting function will help you achieve recruiting excellence and grow your company with top talent.
Ready to get started? Download our guide to developing and scaling your hiring function:

Image courtesy of Mozilla.org

Meghan Maher
Meghan Maher
Senior Talent Manager, Engineering

Meghan Maher is Senior Talent Manager, Engineering, actively recruiting top talent for OpenView and its Portfolio Companies. Her tech background has helped OpenView hire for nearly 20 IT and engineering positions. Meghan began her career at AVID Technical Resources, where she was a Technical Recruiter for two years.
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