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We’ve been utilizing Airtable to collect applications and manage our internal recruiting funnel since we launched Cluster, and it has been tremendously helpful to our team. Airtable is quick to learn, easy to configure and best of all, it’s free. These are all things that founders need from tools.
For over a year, we’ve built complex tracking, detailed interview funnels and all kinds of integrations using Zapier, Slack and their API (paid plan only for the API), but in reality, there are just a few simple features that really matter, and so we’ve configured a template with these core features that you can copy and utilize for your company.
When you open the database, click “Views” (left side of the white toolbar) and then select the “Everything View”. This is an unfiltered, unordered view that shows all columns and rows. Feel free to delete all of the example records here when you’re ready to get started, but I recommend waiting until after you have had a chance to familiarize yourself with the database.
This is a single select column where you’ll add your open positions. We use these to organize and filter candidates in other views. To edit, click the dropdown arrow in the top of the column, and select “Customize field type” which will allow you to edit, delete, add and assign colors to the options.
We have pre-populated this column with useful stages in our recommended hiring process. These stages are used for sorting (hence the numbering) and kanban views. If you’re going to customize these steps, I would suggest simplifying instead of adding new stages. Every time you add a step or stage to any column, you are adding complexity and overhead that often will not be utilized in the long run. Less is usually more here.
Candidate notes is a long text field with rich text formatting enabled. We’ve found that the easiest way to follow a candidate’s history is to have all interviewers add notes to a single section rather than to break them out across different fields.
This reference column links to the Interviewers listed in the Interviewers tab. Hiring managers can utilize this to see who on your team has been assigned the next action and follow up with the right person to get updates. Add names in the Interviewer tab to add new options within this column.
Hover over the first column of any base and click the Expand record button to see the full view of any record.
Open the views side drawer and select the Active Candidates view. I use this tab about 90% of the time. It’s grouped by role, filtered to only show active candidates and each group is sorted by stage. Everything you need to get an overview of the process is right in front of you. As you make hires and fill roles, add a filter to remove the role to keep this view fresh.
The customizable forms feature is really a phenomenal tool within Airtable and key to helping you filter out unqualified applicants. Click on Views, then select the Application Role 1 form to follow.
You can link to your form or embed it in your website, and all responses populate the fields in your database.
Forms are highly customizable, and you can have multiple different forms populate the same fields. This becomes useful when you want to ask customized screening questions as part of your application process. I cannot stress enough how much great screening questions will save you from scheduling calls with people you don’t want to interview.
If you want to have custom applications for different roles, do the following:
The results from the custom questions will populate the same three columns as questions asked for other roles, keeping everything organized the same way within the database.
Thanks to automation tools like Zapier and Integromat, it is easy to integrate Airtable with other applications. We have data flowing both ways from Airtable bases, but the most useful integration is Slack.
Everytime someone fills out a job application, it sends a Slack message with the entire application response to our #applicants channel. You’ll be able to review applicants without even opening Airtable and Slack creates an instant way for the team to evaluate new candidates.
If you've found this useful, we'd love your feedback or examples of how you're using the tool so we can share ideas with more startups. Send them to Justin at the @clusterinc.com email.
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