At times it can seem like there’s a cloak of secrecy over the hiring processes of some companies and I’ve never really understood why. If we want candidates to be open and allow us to get to know them, shouldn’t it be the same for the company?
When I joined Breathe Life, it was clear that this was a company that did things a little differently, there was definitely no cloak of secrecy. Breathe Life has a set of five values that they really live and “breathe” and we bring these values into our hiring process. Our five values are Human, Trusting, Proactive, Resourceful, and Playful, we’ve written blogs on each of those so make sure you check them out to get a better idea of who we are as a company. It was a natural progression as we scale-up and are hiring for a lot of positions to write a blog that can provide some insights into our hiring process and how our values fit within it. In my view, one of the values that is the most represented in our hiring process is being Human. No one is just a number. We know the candidate’s name and background when we first talk and we don’t just want to jump into the interview, we genuinely want to know how their day was, learn about what they love doing, what gets them out of bed every day, what they’re passionate about. We also don’t believe in asking irrelevant or unnecessarily challenging questions that don’t relate to getting to know them, the role they would be doing or their past experiences. Our goal isn’t to stump or trick candidates with left-field questions but to treat them fairly and with respect.
Our only focus is on assessing a candidate’s fit for the role, that it matches their ambitions, that we can offer them something that will motivate them, and that they’re a good fit with our team. And we tend to move quickly. I like to think that we hire slow but in a quick way. There are several steps to our process where candidates meet a variety of team members, are given the opportunity to showcase their skills, and are evaluated to ensure that they are a strong cultural fit, especially when it relates to our values. But once a candidate is in this process, it moves along fairly quickly, we don’t believe in wasting their time and if they’re a great fit then we want them on our team ASAP.
So what exactly does our hiring process consist of?
It starts with an HR screening call.
This is where I have a call with a potential candidate to determine two main things.
- Are they a good fit within our team?
- Do their skills and experience align with the role and responsibilities?
Let’s start with fit. It’s increasingly important as we scale that the people we hire are a good culture fit. We want to know that our team members get along and enjoy working with each other. There are plenty of studies that show that employees that get along are more productive, hit their goals, and are happier. But it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean making sure everyone is identical. We want the make-up of our team to reflect the world we live in and the customers that we serve. We want people from all walks of life, people who have different educational backgrounds and professional experiences, people who are different ages, races, genders, etc. Being different and having different experiences is what makes us thrive as a team. What we mean with culture fit, and what everyone on our team has in common is that they already believed in and practiced our values before joining Breathe Life. It’s important that everyone is open-minded, approachable, friendly, works well in teams, has humility, wants to learn from their colleagues and wants to teach them as well.
Next up in the screen call is making sure the candidates skills and experience align with the role and responsibilities. This is super important because I want to make sure that I’m not wasting anyone’s time if there is no alignment. We don’t want to move anyone forward to the next interview step if it’s clear that they aren’t a good fit for a specific role. I’ll take the time to understand what their previous roles looked like, if they have experiences or skills that directly relate, what their educational background is, etc.
After the phone screening, there’s a face-to-face interview.
Depending on the role the candidate is interviewing for, this is usually done with the person they would be reporting directly to. However, it could also be with a combination of a hiring manager, a future teammate, or even a Co-Founder. In this interview, we want to ensure the candidate gets to meet a few different members of the team so they can get a feel for who we are and if they’d like to work with us. During this phase, we’ll dig a little deeper into their skills and experiences and really explore what the role entails. We want to ensure that their past skills, education, or experience align and that the role matches their professional ambitions and will be motivating for them. It’s so important that people feel challenged and like they have room to grow and perform at a high-level.
Next up comes the testing interview.
This is where a candidate will be asked to complete a case study, code challenge, or face-to-face exercise depending on the role they’re applying to. Our goal is to give them the opportunity to showcase their skills and experience and to understand how they approach problems, structure their thoughts, and how they develop solutions. The test or challenge will always be related to the role the candidate is applying for and we make sure to draft them for each new role we hire for. We’ll never ask someone to complete something that in no way relates to the job they are interviewing for. This phase helps us determine what we can expect from the candidate as an employee and team member.
The final interview phase is where the candidate will meet with at least 1 to 2 of our Founders.
This is a crucial part of the interview process. Ian, JN, Seb, and Arach developed our set of values and place a lot of importance in ensuring that everyone who joins the team will be a great fit. They also care about getting the opportunity to meet and interact with potential new hires. As a fast-growing startup, we are scaling our team, our clients, and our products so they want to ensure that everyone who is hired will perform at the same level as existing team members and be in it for the long-run. However, we also want to give candidates the chance to meet the Founders. We’re a close-knit team, and even as we scale, we want everyone to have a relationship with everyone in the company.
As a final note, I think it’s important to state that we always do our best to follow-up. We know how frustrating it can be to apply for a job and not hear back, especially after you’ve been in the interview process. That’s just not us. Even if a candidate doesn’t make it on to the next interview phase, they will hear from us because we respect them and their time. And if a candidate didn’t get selected to move forward in the process, we always try our best to provide them with feedback as to why. The further someone was in the process, the more detailed we aim to be. We do this not only because we know it’s valuable to candidates but also because we want to retain those relationships. Sometimes a candidate wasn’t a good fit at the time because of their skills or the stage we were at as a company but maybe 6 – 12 months down the line that will change.
Pretty straight forward isn’t it? There are no tricks or secrets, we just want to evaluate potential candidates and make sure that both parties agree that there is a good fit before moving forward. We’ve got a lot of roles that we’re hiring for right now so reach out and maybe we’ll get to work together!