How we hire

Vitaliy Mokosiy
Sep 5, 2017 · 4 min read

We have recently had a two-week hiring campaign. I know people like real-life statistics, so I’m just leaving it below:

  • more than 1200 CVs
  • 32 candidates reached our remote interview stage
  • 14 candidates got to the office for an onsite interview

Result: 3 promising Java/Kotlin software engineers hired! The newbies will be joining Atola team next week, and our life at work will become even more efficient and fun.

General hiring issues

Hiring is a tough stuff. I watched the interview with Anya Stetsenko, Ingigo IT hiring agency founder. She claimed happiness level of IT business owners in Ukraine regarding hiring process is just around 30–40%. And surely, when one is in search of new coworkers, the following questions typically arise:

  • How to find a true talent?
  • How to hire and not to fire later on?
  • How to save time while hiring?
  • What if newcomer will leave my company after the first year of work?

I have my own answers to all of these. On top of that, it’s been almost two years as Atola hiring process morphed into an extraordinary and quirky one which makes us 100% happy. Not 30–40% as it has been mentioned above.

Ask relevant questions


My first recommendation is simple:

Ask only those questions that tightly linked with your current work

A theory is valuable in connection with practice. If you do not use a relational database in a project, why would you ever want to know how a candidate is good at writing SQL queries. Vice versa, it’s great if all your tasks and questions are about truly important and used things in your projects.

For instance, we like to show production code for software engineers and kindly ask to explain it. It helps feel and understand the main programmer’s tech skill — code reading.

Involve many future team-mates as interviewers


The larger quantity of coworkers talk with a candidate the better results you’ll have in the end.

Everybody has a different reality map inside our brains. Therefore hearing other opinions is extremely helpful to make a proper candidate evaluation. It is more than essential in terms of soft skills. I am convinced that interviewers must be future teammates of a candidate, not some random people from company.

Moreover, it is a win-win for both sides. Involving many interviewers makes your workplace more alluring in candidate’s eyes because she already knows a part of future team. And then again, it is helpful if she does really like the team. She can see it right during interview without hastily accepting an offer and leaving company disappointed in few months.

Hard skills vs Soft skills

What’s more valuable? Hard technical skills or soft social/character skills?

We firmly believe soft skills are way more important.

70% of candidate assessment during interview relates to soft skills in our case. Just think about it!

We want to make sure that candidate’s soft skills are fully aligned with team values. For example, there are a few key ones we have in Atola:

  • Try to understand before being understood
  • Sincerity and kindness in words and actions
  • Strong desire to learn all the time

Their learning ability emphasizes the importance of soft skills. It profoundly compensates in the first place if hard skills are not that good as one could have expected. We get much more from our new inexperienced yet quick-learning team-mate than from technically stronger person with vast experience and low learning rate. Not to mention other valuable soft skills.

Experience counted in years matters incomparably less than real passion for profession + learning abilities + communication skills.

Making decision

The best part of our hiring is how we make decisions. It is super-efficient! We respect each others opinion and treat them equally. I can exemplify how it works.

Imagine there are 7 interviewers in total. Anyone can take part regardless other roles in the team. We gather to discuss a candidate when all is said and done after the interview. It’s a common thing, right? However, we have a cool unusual rule:

Each of us can easily decline a candidate for a job

And it is not only about simple dislike of a candidate. Even if my teammate has some certain doubts, she can share them with others. It is more than enough to simply stop the discussion and decline a candidate. Nobody tries to convince the doubtful one because we trust each other and value other opinions much.

It works marvelously. Like a magic. This way we guarantee new people joining our team are absolutely liked by many of us who took part in an interview. What could be more substantial than that?

Wrapping up, I want to admit the whole hiring process gives us tangible results with 100% happiness level for everybody including newcomers. This is the reason why I hope you’ve found something interesting for your work reading this blog!

Vitaliy Mokosiy

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