The Importance of a Good Recruitment Process The Importance of a Good Recruitment Process

By Juanjo Diaz

03.08.2017

Recruitment is hard. Hiring the best talent is a never-ending challenge for any successful organization. Even more so for self-organized companies like Intopalo, which doesn’t rely much on guidance from superiors and requires employee involvement at all levels.

In a previous blog post we talked about what it means to work in a self-organized company. We talked about the importance of being your own persona: being 100% free, but also taking responsibility of yourself. We talked about the importance of psychological safety, peer support and their importance in employee empowerment. We talked about the difference between independent and lonely. And we were honest about the hard part: it isn’t for everyone.

Self-organizing isn’t for everyone

I once worked with the nicest guy in the world. Really, he was! However, he was terrible at his job. He tried hard, he really did. But he was just terrible. We tried to train him but software just wasn’t his thing.

I also worked with a guy who had a zillion tech certifications and read about 2 technical books per week. He could talk for hours about technical stuff and could convince most people of his expertise. However, if you really started listening to what he said or tried to go deeper in the conversation, you soon realized that he had no knowledge. He would memorize words in his head but didn’t have any actual knowledge.

And then there was the guy who was a genius. Top notch. 10X developers. However, he believed that no one else was good enough. He hoarded all the relevant tasks and personally supervised what everyone else did. He was the organization’s bottleneck and frustrated his peers, blocking everyone else’s professional growth and creating a toxic environment around him.

There was also that middle manager who had no idea of what he was doing and was just constantly trying to reinforce his authority; that CEO who came to the office once a month to make ridiculously unrealistic requests; that team lead who wanted to impress everyone else by over-promising and then couldn’t deliver; that guy who thought that by not teaching others what he knows he’d ensure that he stays relevant in the organization, … The list is endless.

A self-organized organization relies 100% on its employees for its own success. It relies on its employees to be proactive and responsible, it relies on its employees to create a psychologically safe environment, and it relies on its employees to support each other and look for peer support when needed. The complexity of maintaining this grows constantly as the organization itself keeps growing. So what’s the secret? How can you keep this system running smoothly as the organization grows? Surprise, surprise… HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE!

You don’t want that nice guy who can’t do his job and becomes a burden to everyone else. You don’t want the people who are excellent at their job but create a toxic environment and ruin your team morale. You want the people who can do their job, share the organization’s vision, get along with each other, and create the right environment to bring out the best of each and everyone. You need to evaluate every single aspect of the candidate (motivation, technical skills, social fit, interests and goals, etc.) and search for a well-rounded candidate. Easier said than done…

How we make it work

Here at Intopalo, we have a 4 step recruitment process to ensure that we only hire the right candidates.

Technical interview

This is the landing interview. Its point is to meet the candidate and get to know each other. The candidate gets a full view of the organization, the way we work, the pros and cons, the characteristics of his potential position, etc.

There is a double angle to this interview. On one hand, one or two of our most senior people assess the candidate capabilities for the job and give the candidate as much context about Intopalo and his potential position as possible. On the other hand, we assess the candidate motivation and fit for Intopalo beyond his technical skills.

Assignment

If the candidate skills seem solid, the motivation is right and we believe them to be a good addition to the Intopalo family, we agree with the candidate on a small assignment specific to their potential position. The assignment is flexible and it’s done by the candidate at home, on their own timeframe and using their preferred tools. It’s an opportunity for the candidate to shine and show off their value in a real world-like situation.

Group interview

At this point, we are pretty sure that the candidate can do their job and they could be a good fit for us. However, that’s not enough. You don’t want the brilliant jerk in your team, do you? So we sit together with the candidate and few members of their future team. This conversation can be technical, casual, about the candidate’s motivation, about possible projects they’ll be involved in, etc. It is a great opportunity to see the social fit of the candidate. Does the candidate like the people here? Do the future peers like the possible new coworker?

When I do this type of interview I always ask myself “Would I like to work with this person 8 hours every day?” If the answer is nothing but a definite “Yes” that’s a red flag.

CEO discussion

Once we are sure that the candidate can do their job and that they would be a perfect fit for Intopalo, the candidate meets our beloved CEO and has a discussion about the company vision, their own goals, and how to match those two.

Finally, based on the feedback from the previous phases and the CEO discussion, a decision is made. If at any point of the process we are unsure about the candidate suitability, we prefer to lose a potentially suitable candidate over hiring a wrong one.

Conclusion

It’s a long process - or is it? The system, as everything else in Intopalo, is applied in a flexible way so it won’t consume anyone’s time or block any candidates. It might take few days or few weeks depending on the situation of the company and the candidate. In any case, we ensure that the process is strict enough to ensure that every relevant aspect of the candidate is evaluated (motivation, skills, social fit, etc.). This allows us to maintain the self-organized model as the company grows, while keeping attrition at really low levels.