“Hiring is number one. This means make hiring your number one priority, always. This means that it needs to be your organization’s first priority, it needs to be each manager’s first priority, and it needs to be each engineer’s first priority” – Yishan Wong
I have worked in the recruitment business for around five years and nowadays I am responsible for scaling my team up. The fact is that this task is scary and adventurous at the same time. The job market has dried up and candidates are usually driven, ergo we would like to be quick in order to set up a strong group. Also, we would like to provide high-quality support to our candidates or clients — or simply partners — and become a community inside the communities in parallel.
Hiring. Please, open your search engine and type “recruiters are…”. See the screenshot below. Yes, the first hits are controversial because our job is often misrepresented.
Now, as I mentioned above, my job is to hire seasoned people or find hidden gems and bring them to their next level as a professional. I have principles, strong beliefs to plan the training method of an inexperienced person and lead them to their next success. Because of lessons we learned, we set up a new recruiting process at IseeQ. Fortunately, there are no strings attached to us pulling in certain ways — no international HQ and restrictions, or any other investors with crazy demands — so we can edit our own processes and expectations.
How our process helps us build an awesome team
Whom are we looking for?
That’s a good question. Who wants to be an advocate and take responsibility for others’ careers and lives? Who? And why? Because if you offer a new opportunity and would like to move someone from A to B or B to C, you change the game as well as the circumstances. Back to basics, we need a teammate who wants to be an advocate. We have to look at the best fit considering the demands coming from all sides.
Currently, there are no job descriptions as such, only different desired patterns such as:
- Lifelong learn mentality
- Failure tolerance
- Monotony tolerance
- Free time activity
- Don’t be a jerk
- Industrial experiences is a plus but don’t need
The list looks scary, but recruitment is hard, believe me. Every conversation is a chance to find ways to test the best candidate. We are looking for talent and aware the market is small and our standards are high.
“You have to understand: we don’t just look at performance, We were looking at talent.” via Moneyball by Michael Lewis
The hiring process
The objective is to keep an eye on the market and find new team members continuously. Also, be able to make a decision as soon as possible about the candidate. We are looking for the “perfect match” ergo we can’t afford to make mistakes. As mentioned above, we are seeking the red flags and if someone from the team finds one we will stop the process. Cultural fit is really important in parallel with the desirable traits. Although the senior folks make the final decisions, the team or others from the company have a veto if a red flag is realized. Below, you’ll find what I use as a recruiter for the process.
Profile screening — mandatory
First thing’s first: we don’t do advertising. This is a fundamental rule, so I only direct the search and ask for referrals. After the first contact, I send a short introduction about the company and my team as well as our goals. The rate of the feedbacks are hectic and the best scenario is a “please give me more information about the role” message in my mailbox, so I pick up the phone and call my new applicant.
Phone screening — mandatory
This stage serves as a quick conversation about requirements for both parties. I am always transparent and open with the folks in order to spare time, so here we clarify the basics like the responsibilities, working environment, package, clients, etc. If the call is positive, we move forward with a type of assignment or an interview in person depending on the situation.
Homework — mandatory
If the candidate is experienced — for my recruiting work that means having an IT recruitment background or technology related sourcing experience — we send you an online puzzle containing different types of subtasks, like multiple choice or open-ended questions. Some examples include: Which of the following is NOT a keyword in Java? Which of the following languages has dynamic type checking? CSS is the abbreviation of what? Which of the following is NOT a reserved word in C?
This is not a pass or fail the test, just purely a knowledge assessment. The goal is that we can measure the level of the candidate’s knowledge and estimate the time of the integration in case of a hire. We stop the process if the result includes major technical mistakes or the applicant has poor English.
Interviews #1 — #2
If the candidate is inexperienced — they don’t have recruitment background or technology related sourcing experience — I prefer a conversation without the assignments because I would like to talk about the job, the vision and listen to what s/he would like to do. This meeting is really simple and nowadays I usually invite one of my colleagues in order to share more information and make a better decision regarding the next step. Sometimes, we arrange a second conversation with another senior person from my team and clear all of the questions and expectations. The most important thing is that we are looking for the eagerness to explore the world of technology and become a valuable member the company. If we find the culture fit as well as the curiosity to succeed, we will hire you. We stop the process if the exchanges were unproductive.
Trial 2–3 days — mandatory
In the final stage, we invite the candidate to work with us for a few days and gather impressions about our approach. We used this step for about a year now and it’s been one of the best practices we ever started. The formula is simple: the applicant takes part in our daily routine and we see what happens. S/he attends meetings, interviews and receives different subtasks to demonstrate their knowledge while having the opportunity of taking part in the regular goings on.
We would like to involve the candidate in our professional life and we treat the applicant as a team member. We’ll invite them for lunch breaks and other activities — chilling, playing FIFA, doing charity work and so on.
Surveys for both parties — mandatory
Our new addition is a survey with a few short questions, focusing on the culture as well as the days spent at the company. The goal is that to gather feedback from both sides to make a good decision on the hire. We document the results so we can be consistent and use the answers properly in the future, fine-tuning the questionnaire where needed.
In the past, my company’s hiring strategy was simple: if someone liked to join we arranged some informal interviews and hired the candidate. We used to be a startup-like company so the methodology was acceptable. After a while, the process got better and better and we found smarter folks to join us. Now, we’ve chosen the harder yet more “sophisticated” method and built specialized teams for the process. The recipe is easy, a “no” is straightforward, “maybe” is the same as a “no” and only the “yes” is an affordable sign if we want to hire a new member.
A version of this article appeared on Medium. It is republished here with the author’s permission.