The Official InboxDone Hiring Process

So you want to work for InboxDone? Perhaps you’ve heard of us through word-of-mouth or LinkedIn.

Or maybe you’d like a primer on how InboxDone selects and qualifies the best from a pool of candidates?

Either way, we’ve put together a handy list of steps to break down our hiring process for you.

We receive a high volume of job applications and only hire one out of every 100 applicants (approximately). Our entire hiring process takes place over the course of several weeks.

Our hiring experience is long and thorough because we want to determine who is the right fit for the role and also test the applicant’s patience, thus their commitment to our business model of building a long-term relationship with each new hire. 

There are three stages of this process: 

  1. Hiring – Includes the steps/tasks required before being invited into the paid training period
  2. Training – Includes tasks that allow us to evaluate each candidate in more depth, while allowing them to earn money right away
  3. Onboarding – Includes all the processes we review with each manager after they’ve been hired to set them up for success with their first client

There are three people involved in this holistic process:

  1. Hiring Manager – Directly interacts with each candidate and guides them through each step of the hiring process
  2. Matching Manager – Works in the background to support and sign off on each stage, but never interacts with the candidate until they’ve officially been hired
  3. Training Manager – Personally oversees each candidate’s training before being hired, then onboards them after being hired

All three work in tandem to complete the following 10 steps, which are required to successfully hire and onboard each of our amazing Inbox Managers.

Step 1: Written Application

The first stage of the hiring process is run by InboxDone’s Hiring Manager.

No CV/resume or cover letter is required in this first stage because our online application contains a series of questions about skillsets and a situational prompt that is related to the work they can expect to do for a future client. 

We are in the business of first impressions – since Inbox Managers often act as their clients’ representative and will need to make an excellent first impression inside their clients’ inboxes, this first stage is crucial.

To filter the high volume of applications in the most efficient way possible, the Hiring Manager uses a system of five categories in the initial stage to weed through applications. These include:

  • Yes, Wow!
  • Great, Not Wow
  • Good, Not Great
  • Not Good, Not Bad
  • Hard No

While assigning categories to each application will always be a nuanced process, these categories allow us to quickly filter for the A-Players we’re looking for. The Hiring Manager applies these categories (as custom labels) to every application we receive. 

For example, “Yes, Wow!” applications express enthusiasm about the role and do a great job of showing us who the candidate really is in each response. They focus more on the value they can bring to InboxDone, rather than what InboxDone can do for them. They’re looking for long-term work (rather than a short-term gig) and possess skill sets that could apply to several different client accounts.

Alternatively, a “Good, Not Great” application is someone with no glaring red flags, but who also doesn’t jump off the page. Their answers may be too short (rather than including relevant details and examples) and their reason for applying may be as simple as “wanting remote work.”

A “Hard No” application is usually the easiest to spot. They will often have multiple typos, an unprofessional LinkedIn profile/picture, an egotistical attitude, broken English, or long-winded responses that veer outside of a professional demeanor.

The Hiring Manager immediately invites “Yes, Wow!” candidates to the next round of the hiring process, while the “Hard No” applicants are informed that their journey ends here.

Applications that fall in the middle categories are reviewed a second time by the Matching Manager, which leads us to Step 2.

Depending on whether or not there is any application backlog, each candidate can usually expect to hear back from us within 1-2 weeks after submitting their application.

Step 2: Filtering Applications

The second stage of the hiring process involves InboxDone’s Matching Manager, who is brought in at this early point to help inform client matches down the road.

Only the Hiring Manager is candidate-facing. The Matching Manager signs off on every step in the background and never directly interacts with a candidate until after they’ve officially been hired.

Having a second set of eyes on the applications at this stage also helps ensure that the Hiring Manager does not experience decision fatigue (based on the hundreds of applications that are submitted on a daily basis). 

In Step 2, the three middle categories are reviewed:

  • Great, Not Wow
  • Good, Not Great
  • Not Good, Not Bad

The Matching Manager bumps each application into either the “Yes, Wow” category (meaning they will be invited into the next round) or moves them down to the “Hard No” category before handing things back over to the Hiring Manager.

Applicants that are not standout candidates but who show potential may still be moved forward because 75% of applicants who are invited to the next round never complete the subsequent steps. This “self-filtering” acts as a great way to weed out who is committed to the role and who is not.

The Matching Manager’s responsibility is an ongoing one. As applicants move through the various stages of the hiring process, the Matching Manager will periodically check in and continue to sign off on each applicant before they move to the next step. This also ensures an added layer of quality control so that nothing is missed.

Step 3: Video Response

Applicants who pass the first phase of the hiring process (the online application) move on to the next round, where they upload a 2-minute Youtube video answering one of the following prompts:

  • Choice A: Imagine that you are the Hiring Manager for this position. What qualities would you look for in applicants who apply?
  • Choice B: Inviting a stranger into your inbox can be overwhelming and some of our clients have a hard time letting go. How would you handle a client who clearly needs our help, but who is hesitant to hand over the reins?

While reviewing each video, the Hiring Manager looks for professionalism, friendliness, nuanced problem-solving, and the candidate’s ability to place themself in the shoes of either the Hiring Manager or the client (depending on what prompt they choose to answer).

While production and setting are less scrutinized, the video is held to a strict rubric and the length must be kept under two minutes long. 

Where and how you film the video matters less than the attitude you bring to it since demeanor is always favored over production quality.

If the Hiring Manager is on the fence about any video, the Matching Manager is again brought in to sign off on who will enter the next round.

Each candidate can usually expect to hear back from us within 3-5 days after submitting their video.

Step 4: Bio & Background Check

Next, candidates must write a short bio about themselves in the third person. These too are reviewed for quality of writing and professionalism by the Hiring Manager.

There is some leeway at this stage for strong candidates. If they didn’t write it in the third person, the Hiring Manager gives them another chance to rewrite it.

Although we consider it a potential red flag if the candidate hasn’t read the instructions carefully, this is a test in itself of how an applicant responds to feedback or corrections. 

The bios that stand out successfully reflect the candidate’s skillset as it relates to the position of Inbox Manager by putting themselves in the shoes of the client and anticipating what the client would like to read.

Ideally, the bio will blend professional writing with a personal touch. However, when choosing between professional and personable, we always err on the side of professionalism. 

At this point, applicants are also required to submit to a background check. One source we use is Goodhire, an FCRA-certified background check that is candidate-friendly, accurate, and fast.

It’s vital in our own screening process to note a candidate’s willingness to do a background check, which is just as important as the check itself. Refusal to participate is an automatic rejection. 

After submitting their Bio (and rewriting if necessary), each candidate can usually expect to hear back from us within 3-5 days about next steps.

Step 5: Interview With The Hiring Manager

The final step of the initial applicant screening is an interview with the Hiring Manager.

Like the other stages, we’re looking for:

  • Balance of professionalism and warmth
  • Open to learning new skills
  • Attentive listening
  • Emotional intelligence
  • A desire for autonomy and openness to co-management

Do they seem like a culture fit? Are they both collaborative and proactive? These are some of the questions the Hiring Manager will think about during the interview.

Although the Hiring Manager will always ask a series of both hypothetical and logistical questions during each interview, the Matching Manager may also step in at this point to add more nuanced questions to the Hiring Manager’s list beforehand that will help inform a potential future match.

We also prioritize applicants who ask thoughtful questions at the end of the interview that aren’t already listed on our FAQ page. We send each candidate the FAQ page in preparation for their interview, so if an already-listed question is asked, this is an indicator that the candidate did not research before the call.

Any questions asked that are not already listed are immediately added to the FAQ page after the interview.

Once they’ve made it this far, about 50% of the candidates who are invited to an interview tend to move forward. Those who don’t may have interrupted questions, been late for the call, or were unprofessional in their overall presentation.

Either way, each candidate is usually notified by the Hiring Manager of our decision within one week.

Step 6: References Are Checked

While the Hiring Manager is conducting the screening process, our Training Manager begins work on the back end by collecting references. 

Each candidate must present three references when submitting their Bio, including both an email and phone number. The Training Manager then sends each reference the following email: 

Hi [name],  

My name is [name], Inbox Manager at InboxDone.  

[Candidate name] is currently being considered for a role within our company and has included your name as a professional reference. The position requires superior communication skills, precise attention to detail, the ability to juggle many moving pieces, and an openness to constructive feedback.  

If this sounds like a role you feel [Candidate name] would excel in, then we’d love to know:  

Why would you recommend [Candidate name] and why are they an A-player?  

And if you would prefer not to recommend [Candidate name], then there’s no need to respond to this email.   Thank you!

The beauty of this template is that a reference’s lack of response implies that they would not recommend the applicant. With the last line of this template included, we actually receive a very high response rate when this email is sent out (around 90%).

If the candidate is strong and at least two references respond with glowing recommendations, the candidate is given the green light by the Matching Manager and is invited into the paid training period.

If no references respond, the Hiring Manager will contact the candidate requesting they follow up with their references or submit new contacts (if they don’t reach back out to the references themselves). Otherwise the candidate’s journey ends here.

Checking references can often be the most time-consuming part of the process, but most respond within 1-2 weeks.

Step 7: Review Entire Application Package

At this point, we’ve received the following resources from the applicant:

  1. Online application
  2. Links to LinkedIn profiles/social media/websites
  3. Video response
  4. Bio
  5. References
  6. Consent to a background check
  7. Interview Recording

The Matching Manager once again steps in to review the overall package and determine if we’re ready to invest in the applicant through the paid training period.

Since the Matching Manager is also aware of which clients are waiting to be assigned, they are able to review each candidate through the lens of the clients’ needs. 

Given the wide range of personalities and duties our clients expect, the Matching Manager’s review will act as the final sign-off.

If it’s a no, the Hiring Manager sends the applicant a lengthier email, explaining why we made our decision and thanking them for their investment in the role.

If it’s a yes, the candidate is invited into the paid training period and books a call with the Training Manager immediately.

Candidates are informed by email of our decision usually within 1-2 weeks of their interview (depending how long it takes to collect references).

Step 8: Introduction to LastPass

Once an internal Hiring Checklist has been completed, the Hiring Manager’s role ends and the Training Manager steps in to lead a series of (paid) training tasks with the candidate.

The first training call is an introduction to the platform LastPass. This password manager is an essential part of our toolkit as it allows us to store the encrypted passwords of our client’s inboxes and other platforms without compromising their security.

This is the first of many tools we expect our Inbox Managers to become familiar with, and is arguably one of the most important. Once you’ve learned the basics of LastPass, you can also easily adapt to different password managers based on the clients’ preference.

At this point, the candidate practices using LastPass by logging into InboxDone’s Training Inbox. Once they’ve successfully logged in (and completed the 2-Step verification process), they’ll find 5 training emails waiting for them.

Step 9: Training Email Assignment

On the next call, the Training Manager will go through the five training emails so expectations are clear.

Using hypothetical situations, these emails test not only the writing abilities – which at this stage we expect nothing less than exemplary – but the empathy and professionalism required to respond to sensitive customer complaints or requests. We’re always looking for proactive and creative problem-solvers.

Candidates are given 72 hours to complete this assignment. If this deadline is missed, it is an automatic disqualification from the hiring process (unless they preemptively request an extension). 

Following one round of revisions (which we use to gauge the applicant’s openness to feedback), the Matching Manager reviews all five email responses to determine if the candidate will move on to the second step of training – the online training course.

We like to remind all applicants that their time is an investment in this process, so regardless of whether or not they move forward, each candidate receives a training stipend at this point for completing all 5 emails.

Step 10: Online Training Course 

After successfully passing round one of training, candidates take the official InboxDone Training course, which takes 10-12 hours to complete (approximately). 

In addition to assessing the ability of the candidate – and providing some technical instructions to setting up inbox systems – the course serves as a framework for streamlining the email management process while providing a consistent point of reference for the key concepts behind InboxDone.

The test contains 48 lessons broken down into 5 modules. These modules separate lessons into themes around organization, internal resources, handling follow-up sequences, creating workflow systems, and how to step into the mind of your client.

As a pass/fail test, it is notably intensive. Candidates are given a one-week deadline to complete the course.

Once the final assessment is complete (which measures how well the course information was absorbed), the candidate schedules a final call with our Training Manager.

The Training Manager records this call and reviews the final assessment with the candidate, comparing their responses to our answer key.

While it won’t undermine our decision-making, the time taken to complete the test is also given special consideration so we can evaluate output versus effort. 

The Training Manager then sends the call recording to the Matching Manager, who signs off on this final stage.

Just like the training emails, candidates receive another training stipend once they’ve successfully passed the course. At this point, the pool of candidates will have narrowed considerably, as those who are not committed to the position will not complete the course.

Those who pass are usually notified within 1-2 days and then officially matched with their first client within 1-2 weeks after completing the course.

Where Do They Go From Here?

Although technically hired, all candidates begin their Inbox Manager journey with a 30-day trial period with their new client and co-manager. This gives the manager time to really test out the role and for us to see them in action.

Their co-manager is always a more experienced manager, one who has at least one additional client account successfully running so that they can guide and lead the new candidate through what can often be an overwhelming process. 

Like the email training and online course, we also compensate candidates who’ve completed the 30 days with a “graduation” stipend and add them to all the team channels in Slack.

Around 95% of managers who make it to this stage continue on with us long-term after the 30-day trial.

Do you have questions about being matched with your own incredible manager? 

Book a discovery call with us today. We’d love to explore how our specialized Inbox Managers can help you break free from email. 

Interested in working with us?