How we hired 7 developers in 6 weeks

The past few weeks at GAIKU we hired 7 new developers. We’re building a strong team and I’m happy that a lot of people believe in GAIKU and want help solve a big problem in business. How did we come to the point of hiring our own people when in the beginning we were working with an outsourced team? How did we even manage to do this in such a short time?

Trying to manage an outsourced team

When I founded GAIKU we started working with an outsourced team located in Indonesia. That didn’t work out for us so we searched for a team a little bit closer to home: Ukraine. But guess what? That didn’t work either! We wanted everything to be agile and really tried our best to make that work. However, building an app with a team located in another country wasn’t working the way we expected. You need to communicate a lot but there were a problems with different time zones and different cultures. Especially when you are just getting started.

We realized we needed to look for a team that is based in Amsterdam. So we found a local development agency, our neighbours at our first office. We were all so excited about this cooperation! And so, we started researching, testing, optimising ideas for GAIKU and looking for a product-market fit. The future of this cooperation was looking good! But not for long..

The struggles of trying to build the GAIKU dream team

It is important for me to build one team. A team that sees each other and communicates every day. A team that truly breathes the GAIKU spirit. The agency is a large company and the employees are working on different projects, sometimes part-time. So, they chose not to be physically present at the GAIKU office each day. Also, the outsourcer has a different company culture than what we have at GAIKU and what we were trying to share with everybody. It kind of clashed in a way.

I realized that culture differences weren’t bound to a continent or country, but to an organization as well. We kept feeling a distance. I either needed to accept this, or look for another solution. But outsourcing is also more costly so you should only do it when it 100% satisfies you. However, that wasn’t the case. So, I decided things needed to change. I want people to focus only on GAIKU, and give their 100% attention to GAIKU. We really appreciated working with them and are very thankful for the work they delivered. But we had to say goodbye to our former neighbours and build a bigger GAIKU team. Our new team would have focus only on GAIKU at lower cost. Double win, right?

Hiring the right people

So, we started the hiring process. And we needed to be quick. We had 6 weeks to find about 7 developers that matched the profile and our culture. This was quite a challenge! Such a hiring process isn’t easy and you need to put a lot of effort in it. I believe that as a founder, it is my responsibility to find the right people for my business. And so, this became my #1 priority for the next 6 weeks.

So, how did we do it?

How do you make sure the right people will apply for the job? Make it visible! Everywhere. On your website, social media, and use your own network. How can you do this? Follow these steps:

  • First define your company culture; Your core values. At GAIKU we solve problems by innovating, we love teamwork, we pursue growth, we are agile and lean, and we are energetic.
  • Second, be clear. In everything. Describe the job. Describe your technology. Describe your vision and the problem that you want to solve. People, especially Millennials, want to be a part of something great, something bigger. So make clear what your goals are and where you want to go. Also, choose what kind of perk you want to offer and clearly state them as well.
  • Third, create a job page. Make sure the content and looks of your jobs page are right. We used Homerun to make it look pretty awesome! You have to speak the same language as people you want to hire. Understand what they need and offer them what you can. Show how life is working at GAIKU. Show your culture. Your ‘human’ side. (see GAIKU Instagram) We made sure this was visible on our jobs page.
  • Fourth, communicate everywhere online that you’re hiring new people. Make use of tools and websites you can find online! We used Honeypot, Angel.co and Cocoon. Next to that we ran some campaigns on Facebook so we could really target the right people. And, of course, we shared it on all other social media channels and in our personal network.
  • Fifth, communicate offline. Print is not dead! Our office is surrounded by a lot more startups here at TQ. So chances are big that some people know others who might be right for the job. We made small posters for inside the elevators, and of course, when we got the chance during a chat, we let everyone know we were hiring.

All this worked quite well for us. We were almost surprised about the amount of response we received!

Now, how did we select the right people?

For me it’s important to talk with people and trying to figure out if they are A-, B-, C- or D-players. I want to hire (soon to be) A-players: people that are filled with passion and commitment, and also fit our culture. That’s why our hiring process was made up of different contact moments. We first had a video interview for about 30 minutes, after that we met them in person for a local interview, and the last part was a test to see what their actual skills are. We also did a reference check at on the candidates and made clear from the beginning to everyone that we are going to do this.

Finally, from the 100+ applicants we had, we were able to select the right people for the jobs. We’re now working with great developers and designers that understand GAIKU and fit in our culture. The last two developers will join us August 1st and September 1st. We really hope they will stay and work together to make the GAIKU dream come true!

Book tip: Smart, G. & Street, R. (2008). Who.

The party starts

So we hired 7 new people, yay! When you hire new people, they are supposed to help you reach a goal. This should be a party, so make it one! Show employees that you’re happy they’re joining your team. At GAIKU we made sure all desks were decorated, that gifts were placed on the desk and GAIKU gear was ready for them to use. This should definitely make them feel welcome! To get them set up for work, make sure the onboarding process goes as smoothly as possible! Send out a document that contains everything they need to know to get started. For example, think about different tools they need to install, information about the office (printing, parking, clean desk policy, etc), contact information of people they might need, books they should read, meeting rhythms, etc. Also make sure to set a clear goal for the first 30 to 90 days and that everyone has a buddy or mentor, or at least someone that they can ask questions to.

Will we work happily ever after?

Hiring the right people is one of the most difficult tasks in a company. There’s a big chance that at least one person will leave the team within one year. This is actually quite normal. But of course, we’re hoping everyone will stay and work with us to make one million meetings more engaging and effective by 2020!

Where are we standing right now with our product?

GAIKU is now in private beta. We are testing and optimizing so GAIKU can soon be the perfect meeting guide. Curious? Sign up on www.gaiku.io and give GAIKU a try!