Case Study

How Karat helped Deliveroo accelerate hiring ahead of their IPO

A customer story with Deliveroo

Challenge

Deliveroo’s growth accelerated their plans to go public. They partnered with Karat to balance rapidly hiring developers and preparing for the IPO.

Solution

Karat conducts technical interviews on behalf of Deliveroo. It provides analytics, insights, and detailed recommendations to increase hiring yield across all roles.

Results

40% faster time to technical interview recommendation

 2x improvement in onsite-to-offer ratio

3,000+ engineering hours reclaimed from first 1,500 technical interviews alone

Challenge

In autumn 2020, roughly six months into the UK’s Covid-19 shutdown, London-based Deliveroo was experiencing unprecedented demand. The sudden shift in consumer behavior had accelerated adoption of online food delivery apps. Deliveroo was seeing incredible growth on all fronts — new customers signing up, existing customers ordering more often with average transaction sizes increasing, and ordering a wider range of products.

Deliveroo scaled up grocery deliveries from major UK chains, and grew it’s grocery segment to 10% of the company’s UK revenues by the end of 2020. And it was during this time that Deliveroo achieved sustained profitability at the operating level, a significant achievement that foretold even more growth ahead. Their leadership team set a target to go public during the spring of 2021.

For Deliveroo’s engineering team, this presented a significant challenge. Already hiring aggressively to stay ahead of customer needs, they were now detailing plans to meet the engineering requirements for the IPO. CTO Dan Winn and his leaders knew that their engineers were key to both sustained growth and IPO readiness, “but with so many hires to make in such a short time,” Winn said, “we were feeling the pain of losing productive engineering hours to doing so many technical interviews. And we worried that balancing IPO prep with that many interviews so quickly, frankly, would make it much harder to do either of those things well. We’re passionate about our product and we’re passionate about our people, and we didn’t want to take shortcuts on either.”

Winn had previously met with the Karat team, and as he thought about the trade-offs his team was about to start making, he saw a detail from that meeting in a new way. “I knew that Karat operated 24/7 so candidates could pick the best time for them, and that was intriguing. And then when I saw the number of weeks we had to hit our hiring goals, and thought about how long each hire was taking, I realized that 24/7 interviews meant much faster hires. We could never interview around the clock, but Karat could. And I knew they would do it consistently without cutting corners.” Winn reached out to Karat immediately.

I knew that Karat operated 24/7 so candidates could pick the best time for them, and that was intriguing. And then when I saw the number of weeks we had to hit our hiring goals, and thought about how long each hire was taking, I realized that 24/7 interviews meant much faster hires.

Dan Winn
CTO

Solution

Before Karat could begin conducting interviews for Deliveroo, their teams worked closely together to identify the competencies and skill levels that Winn and his team required, along with Deliveroo’s technical hiring bar for each role. This process, called Alignment Engineering, ensured the best possible onsite-to-offer ratios because it calibrated Karat’s recommendations to Deliveroo’s specific criteria. Doing this up front gave Deliveroo confidence they were advancing the right candidates to the next round. Karat’s capacity and consistency meant their engineers could easily balance their core work with interviewing strong on-site candidates, which led to faster, higher-quality hires.

Karat also took the time from the start to deeply understand Deliveroo’s hiring funnel and their goals for key metrics. With remote work now necessary, there were more applications than ever from outside the UK. Deliveroo didn’t want to miss any strong potential candidates, and as they increased their technical interview volume they came to see that they were sending too many candidates through to the on-site round. With Karat’s consistent process and predictive hiring signal, fewer candidates were sent on-site yet more of them were hired.

The partnership between Deliveroo and Karat has continued to deepen. Karat regularly provides detailed analysis of Deliveroo’s hiring funnel metrics, and market insights that inform their strategic talent decisions. Talent benchmarking, sourcing insights, and consistency of on-site interview decision criteria are just some of the areas where Karat’s data is highly applicable.

The learning also works in the other direction. Deliveroo’s engineering team is highly invested in the continual improvement of their alignment process, so much so that one of their engineers, after reviewing multiple interview results, sent Karat detailed feedback about what would make the output even more effective for the hiring team. The resulting conversations ultimately led to product improvements that Karat’s team delivered.

We’ve been blown away that we’re getting so much more information about our candidates, in such a standardized way, so much faster than we did on our own.

Dan Winn
CTO

Results

Karat has conducted over 1,200 interviews on Deliveroo’s behalf as of August 2021, which has saved their engineering team over 2,400 software engineering hours. Yet while Deliveroo initially reached out to reclaim as much engineering time as they could ahead of their IPO, they quickly saw so many other benefits. “I can’t say enough about Karat’s consistency and the richness of their recommendations,” said Winn. “We’ve been blown away that we’re getting so much more information about our candidates, in such a standardized way, so much faster than we did on our own.”

With the IPO achieved, Deliveroo’s engineering team continues to work closely with Karat as they keep growing and innovating. There are three key reasons for this — the time savings, the quality of the recommendations, and the increased speed of quality hiring.

Karat saves Deliveroo time in three ways:

    • First, Karat interviews 24/7 to accelerate hiring velocity. Candidates can choose the day and time that works for them to interview with Karat’s global network of Interview Engineers. This is more important than ever as companies welcome more remote employees and broaden their sourcing footprints. Deliveroo can now engage a more diverse set of candidates without a dependency on the availability of their engineers, so hiring is always moving forward. Karat also supports candidates around the clock, which reduces operational overhead for recruiting teams and increases responsiveness for candidates.
    • Second, Karat interviews are consistent. Because Karat’s technical interview is highly-calibrated, professional, and consistent, Deliveroo saves time they would otherwise spend continuously training their own team to conduct better technical interviews.
    • Finally, Karat interviews provide accurate recommendations. Karat’s recommendation system has been so closely calibrated to Deliveroo’s specific technical hiring bar, their engineering team has the confidence that every candidate they ultimately interview will meet their minimum requirements. After they started using Karat, the number of candidates who went onsite was roughly half what it was before.

In addition to the time savings, the depth of the Karat recommendations lead to a stronger signal, so Deliveroo makes more informed choices about who to bring onsite. In addition to the top-level recommendation, Karat provides insights into the components of the interview from technical knowledge to coding ability. Deliveroo also appreciates the ability to watch the recorded interview and see how the candidate interacts and approaches problems, which is a key component of predicting future performance.

With momentum from the IPO, Deliveroo is poised to enter new markets and expand their product portfolio, so the imperative to hire quickly without sacrificing quality remains. Karat reduced Deliveroo’s average time from inviting a candidate to publishing the technical interview recommendation by 40%, while maintaining a significant improvement in their onsite-to-offer ratio. As a result, their engineers continue to reclaim hours to focus on their core work powering Deliveroo’s growth. 

“Our team was so dedicated to doing the work to take us public, for some that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Dan Winn, “and our engineers love the culture they’ve built, so they wanted to give our candidates the proper focus. After we started working with Karat, they were talking to fewer candidates and we were hiring more of them. That really kept us inspired by the team we were building as we got ready to go public, and it still inspires us as we look ahead to our next chapter of growth.”

 

Karat and Deliveroo partnership by the numbers

  • 2.3x improvement in onsite-to-offer ratio
  • 5.1 days average time to technical interview recommendation
  • 56% reduction in false positives passing the technical interview
  • Over 3,000 engineering hours reclaimed from technical interviews alone