How Prisma use HiPeople to Improve Oversight and Reduce Hiring Bias
Published on:
Time to read:
5 mins

Welcome to part two of our three-part Success Series with Prisma. 🎉

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be examining how Martin and the Prisma team are using HiPeople to achieve their strategic goals.
You can find part one of our series here:

How Prisma use HiPeople to support managers and improve onboarding

And keep your eyes peeled for part three, coming soon:

How Prisma use HiPeople to make informed and efficient hiring decisions


At a glance

  • Company: Prisma (www.prisma.io)
  • Size: 45 people (as of May 2021)
  • Industry: Tech
  • ATS: Greenhouse
  • Hiring goals: 15-25 key hires this year. Scale from Series A to Series B


What are Martin & Prisma’s strategic goals?

Prisma is a next-generation ORM (Object Relational Map) that helps developers manage databases when building applications. In layman's terms, they’re a developer tools company. Prisma helps engineers build applications faster and with fewer errors, while having a great time doing it.

“We’re a Series A company, looking to successfully get to Series B. That’s my priority,” says Martin van Rensburg, Prisma’s Head of People & Operations. “That means we need our hiring processes to be in place, so we can immediately accelerate.”
“HiPeople delivers real value quickly, and that’s what makes it useful.”
“I don’t like introducing processes that don’t add a lot of value. And when you’re hiring, it’s easy to talk yourself out of any process in the interest of speed.
“You tell a Talent Acquisition person, ‘I want to do a reference check’ and the first thing they’ll say to you is, ‘How long is that going to take?’ They really don’t want to be slowed down.
“But HiPeople delivers real value quickly, and that’s what makes it useful.”

This is part two of Martin and Prisma’s story so far.

How Prisma improve recruitment oversight and reduce bias with HiPeople

Our hiring processes are pretty good at the moment, but I don’t know how people are making decisions.

And one big issue with references is, the traditional incentive structure is set up completely wrong.

“As a Talent Acquisition person... I’m not incentivized to take an honest reference.”


As a Talent Acquisition person, I shouldn’t really be doing the reference checks in isolation. I need to make a certain amount of hires. I’m not incentivized to take an honest reference — I’ll look only for the positives.

It’s the same with hiring managers too. When you’re looking for a candidate with a really unique mix of skills and experience, the manager can feel pressured to make the hire because they need to fill the position so desperately.

You can reduce this risk by working closely together and developing a process to conduct reference calls properly. But short of coaching managers over a matter of weeks, and being heavily involved yourself, there’s not much you can do.

“If you had used HiPeople from the start, it would have delivered a much better result, and much more insightful information, immediately.”

You can write down the questions and review the results together, but you can’t control how that manager talks on the phone, or whether their record of the responses will be biased.

In my experience in previous organizations, I’d get reference call feedback on a form, and there wouldn’t be any context, nor consistency between managers. It’d be “One to five, how was this person at [skill]? Five”. The form’s been completed, just so the hire can be made.

If you had used HiPeople from the start, it would have delivered a much better result, and much more insightful information, immediately.

The potential for nepotism and bias is much smaller in a startup because there are eyeballs on every hire. But at some point, you’ll have a 25-year old, mid-level manager making hiring decisions, and the opportunity for bias or error in those decisions becomes greater.

Find out more…

We’ll be posting parts three of this series very soon. Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook, and we’ll notify you when it’s available.

You can find part one of the series here:

How Prisma use HiPeople to support managers and improve onboarding

And if you’d like to learn more about HiPeople — and how we can help you hit your strategic hiring goals — you can schedule a free demo with a member of our team. 🥳

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