Building a Dream-Team: what we look for when hiring.
Finding awesome design and tech geeks is more an art than a science. Here’s how we do it at Aerolab.
Aerolab is built around people. The single most important component of our success is a team of beautiful weirdos who are in love with design, passionate about technology and obsessed with making cool stuff.
Putting together such a team is no easy task. When looking into candidates, one of the most relevant items we look for is that they fit in with Aerolab’s particular culture and set of values. We’ll take hard-working and team-oriented over individualism or ego-driven every day of the week.
Aerolab is meant to be a place where talented people work together and strive to make beautiful, useful products while having fun and helping each other grow in the process.
One of the questions we often get from potential candidates, from other agencies and even from clients is how we manage to find that balance between talent and values when building a team. This post aims to answer that question.
First of all, our recruiting strategy makes it so we’re constantly in touch with applicants, this way it’s easier for us to identify potential as soon as a position opens up. We passively scout for positions with a high demand such as UX/UI Designers and Developers and switch gears whenever the need for a specific profile arises.
We do this through social media and our Careers site, where we have a steady flow of incoming applicants, as well as the possibility of actively reaching out to a larger number of potential prospects.
We consulted with María Giménez, HR Manager at Aerolab, and asked for her input about the traits that make an applicant stand out and indicate that they may be a right fit into Aerolab’s culture.
A PASSION FOR DOING GOOD WORK
This is non-negotiable and it goes beyond clichés and factory-made mission statements. We are an agency defined by our obsession with quality and a built-in sense of pride in what we do. If you want to work with us you have to be willing to step up.
A TEAM-WIDE OUTLOOK
We don’t expect people to work as isolated components of a machine. We like our teams diverse, noisy and cooperative. No matter how good you are at your job, you need to be able to understand the work your team is doing and how you, as an individual, have an impact on it’s objectives and results.
People skills are a must at this point, we encourage debate and the building of great ideas through iteration. In order to achieve this, you need to be able to communicate with others and willing to walk in other people’s shoes.
SOMETHING TO LEARN (AND SOMETHING TO GIVE BACK TO THE TEAM)
One of the things we like the most of what we do is having the opportunity to help people grow, we consider developing talent a key part of building a team. We love it when copywriters can participate in commercial meetings, when developers weigh in on UX decisions and when designers that were once trainees end up taking the lead on big projects.
We encourage proactivity and calculated risk-taking so we naturally offer the support and room for growth to go with it. We want prospects to show both potential and willingness to impact their teammates in a positive way.
A GENUINE INTEREST IN WORKING AT AEROLAB
One of the most important things we have in mind when choosing a candidate is that they choose us back. We want people who want to be here, who seem interested in us, our philosophy and the work we do.
If you get the job we’re gonna spend a lot of time together so we might as well enjoy it. ‘Do you like ping-pong?’ ‘What would you like to have for breakfast at the office?’ and ‘What sort of cake do you want for your birthday?’ are all questions we usually ask during interviews.
We’re all weirdos. Every single one of us has something odd or quirky that may raise some eyebrows, and we love it. We’re looking for people who embrace those quirks and can make fun of themselves. We go through hundreds of resumés with the words ‘proactive’, ‘good team player’ and ‘detail oriented’ and -while these are fine- we’re more likely to give you a call if you stand out, if there’s something about you that makes us stop and want to re-read your application.
We’ve hired people after they challenged our CEO to a FIFA match. If you want to work here, let it show and be creative about it.
At Aerolab we make a point out of being as honest as possible. We don’t hide our shortcomings or build up our attributes and we don’t talk down or suck up to anyone. We expect the same from our team.
We’re all for taking risks, we do so calculated and deliberately. We constantly play on each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses. We can’t do this if we don’t really know what we are, and aren’t, capable of. You will have the room here to grow, to hone your skills and to work on your weaker points, as long as you’re honest about them.
Although you can probably build a decent team by going around and finding people with years of experience and loads of credentials, that’s not what we’re after.
We believe that building an awesome team is more about finding potential and betting on people’s ability to grow and to learn new stuff. We don’t expect people who come on board to know everything they need to right off the bat, we’re willing to invest the time and effort to help them grow into their roles, just as they invest theirs for Aerolab.
A great example of this is our Internship program called ‘Aerolab Academy’, which -by the way- is now paused and we’re re-launching in full force sometime in early 2017, so stay tuned.
The program basically works like this: we select a small group of applicants, set them on a simulated project with real goals, deadlines and objectives and assign them Mentors from Aerolab’s team. The Academy lasts for three months, during which the Labbies work full-time and are compensated accordingly, and when the project comes to an end we evaluate their performance, provided both parties are on board, offer them full Aerolabber status.
If at some point of this article your eyes sort of twitched and you felt that little surge of adrenaline that made you say ‘Hey, I like that’, give us a call, we want to hear from you.