Why we don’t hire “rockstars”, “gurus”, “Jedi Knights” or “ninjas” at Dailymotion

Anaïs Audurau
Nov 13, 2018 · 4 min read

“We’re looking for a rockstar-ninja programmer who can develop in every language 10 times faster than anyone else”. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this kind of tech cliché is still going strong, which is why we’ve decided to take a different approach to our recruitment process.

If you spend your daily grind in the 3-trillion dollar industry, you’ll most likely have seen words like “rockstar”, “guru”, “ninja” or even “Jedi” in job descriptions. We believe that targeting candidates this way is overdone, borderline pompous and globally ineffective in the long run.

Wrong target

To begin with, all buzzwords should be carefully looked up before throwing them around like wedding confetti.

- a ninja is an assassin and expert spy

- a Jedi is a man torn between good and evil forces

- a guru is a puppet master and manipulator

- a rockstar is creative, inconsistent, and at times capricious

We value all walks of life but it’s difficult to recruit these profiles, because:

- our office is not MI6

- we need people who can take immediate action without compromising our values

- Dailymotion isn’t a sect. We are not a cult, so we’re not looking for gurus.

- we want to level the playing field. There’s no room for divas.

Granted, I’ve over exaggerated their traits. I can see why companies look for these kinds of profiles (creativity, agility, leadership…) and I’m pretty sure every recruiter (including myself) has already tried bouncing these words around at least once, but trust me, we can do better.

Junior ninja web developer

Stay real

With tech companies constantly under fire for lack of transparency, I feel that we should stop using fancy words and offer real professional opportunities instead. Upon arriving at Dailymotion, it became clear that my job was not to “sell” a position but to balance the desires of the candidates with the needs of the team. Of course, we have high expectations on a technical level, we cater billions of videos to 250 million users across the globe. This is why our tests are challenging, in line with our ambitions. However, every team has their own requirements and my job as a recruiter is to listen and deliver. A recruiter should be able to assess and support the hiring manager’s needs, yet remain pragmatic. Sorry to break it to you, unicorns don’t exist, stop looking for them.

Recently, we started to rework our brand values to include the notion of caring about what we do and who we work with. We need to focus on what a future employee can bring to the table as a human being. When someone joins our team, we care about their wellbeing, we help them to be part of the community.

Me looking for the perfect profile

Of course, it’s hard to know whether we’re choosing the right candidate just by conducting a short interview. Our secret is to establish an effective communication between managers and employees to make sure that we are always looking for the right profile.

Most recruiters will advise to keep hiring processes as short as possible. Regarding key positions, we’ll always prefer to set up “a long one” (more than 3 interviews). It allows the candidate to familiarize themselves with their future position. They can take the opportunity to meet their potential peers, team, manager and HR.

Using this strategy, the HR department doesn’t arbitrarily recruit new employees. Every recruitment process involves various people from hiring and connected tribes. All the decisions are taken collegially and the cultural fit is highly significant in this process.

It’s also essential that we second guess ourselves to avoid slipping back into old habits. We all have different outlooks on life and ways of working and we should respect that and focus on what’s important. What really matters is the candidate’s ability to connect and commit to Dailymotion’s philosophy. We truly believe that empathy and respect are the core foundations of our company, and this virtuous cycle is at the heart of everything we do or aim to achieve as HR.

At the end of the day, who needs ninjas, rockstars or gurus. We just need you. Feel free to apply to one of our open positions (jobs.dailymotion.com) or contact me on LinkedIn to join the adventure.

Thanks to Julie Lambert

Anaïs Audurau

Written by

Since October 2017, I am glad to be part of dailymotion as a recruiter in order to build our new video experience with great teams.


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