Hiring Hacks: Defining Culture & Job Specs
You want to hire great people but your job specs don’t reflect that. How can you formulate a process to help attract great talent?
trendig are expanding in all areas (engineering, innovation, knowledge and events) and we identified that our job specs were too formal and needed to be updated to reflect the changes within the business and the culture we are looking to promote. We are creating bespoke offerings for our clients and to do this we need(ed) more people; those with great experience and a real passion to help us to grow and succeed.
We made a decision to fully dedicate ourselves to innovation & design thinking methodologies. We focus on goals, ambitions, chances, openness & ideation. When I first spoke with trendig about working together it involved a chat with trendig COO Jana Noack and I said: “Hey, I’ve got loads of experience, but don’t speak German or have experience in the German market, however, we can work together!”, and that’s what we are trying to do here. Get great people working together!
We took a look at our current hiring process and quickly realised that our specs no longer aligned with our culture and this would cause big problems when approaching talented people to work with us. They seemed very outdated and felt “old”. It was like looking at a website from 3–4 years ago, it does the job but it needed a bit of a tidy up.
I’ve been working in the hiring space since 2005 and over that time have written and assisted with writing many job specs, but never have I been involved in trying to define a document for culture and write the specs to emulate this. Recently we sat down and tried to make our job specs stand out more for potential hires. I’d like to try and explain what we did!
The process we followed
First we looked at our old job specs; they weren’t very “attractive” and doing a good job at promoting the role and company well. Yes, they showed what we do. Yes, they showed what we need. But they simply didn’t reflect the way that we are looking to continuously learn and grow. Just because a project needs experience in Java, for example, does not mean that we will always be working in Java based projects, so we wanted to show that we are keener on people joining us with an agnostic approach to projects.
Out with the old (specs)
This is how our old specs looked:
Next we booked some time in a room and brainstormed. What did we want to achieve? What topics should we cover on the culture side? How are we going about building that culture? Some of the important things we are looking to improve, build on or even implement were defined:
- Collaboration / Teamwork
- Code Quality
We even came up with a great idea of a “culture club” whereby people are asked to join a Slack channel and contribute to the culture of the business. We are looking to be diverse, we want feedback, we want suggestions and who better than the people doing these jobs!
In with the new (specs!)
Next came the job spec. This was a monumental task. We looked at how other companies were advertising their jobs. We decided that yes, there is a need to define exact skills so there will almost always be some bullet points, but we wanted to tell a story. Talk about our company, talk about some of the things that we are working on and some of the things we are looking to implement. Over the course of a few days (and hundreds of comments / reviews on a Google Drive doc!) we managed to put together our v1.0 of the spec.
What did we learn along the way?
Well, you can’t please everyone, that’s for sure! We asked for feedback internally and externally and overall our new specs were widely praised (“I’d work with you!”, “Where do I apply!”) but also there were some points that we overlooked and added as a result of this feedback.
We now plan to have our template for every single job so that we can change a few paragraphs for each role, and we are reviewing the template on a quarterly basis to ensure it still aligns with the visions of the business.
We have a number of colleagues who love going to — and speaking at! — events and conferences. We want to share our knowledge, and we hope that by having attractive specifications and a clearly defined (although always evolving) culture we will appeal to those who also share our values.
Hiring for culture is hard, but appealing to people with a similar mindset and laying this out in an initial document really does help to engage with people who are interested in working with us.
We also changed our website; traditionally this was a huge one-page website with anchors for links, but we recently have been working on jobs.trendig.com, where we utilise our CRM in order to automatically refresh our live roles. It’s still a bit of a work in progress (and I think always will be!) but we are happy to be progressing in the right direction.
If you could be interested in working together then why not drop us a line on email@example.com and we could be colleagues!