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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Recruitment in Small Companies

I’m just after 7 hours of interviews in a row. Exhausting. Don’t try that at home. I know I should use smaller chunks. It would be better both for me and for candidates. Anyway I made it on purpose and I don’t regret although my brain is dead today.

I had some time to think about the way we interview and how it is connected with small size of our company. When you’re small you recruit much different than when you’re big. You don’t have evil HR team organizing the whole thing. Sometimes you struggle with not enough resumes. You can’t afford to make 6 interviews before hiring a person. It’s different.

How to deal with that?

1. Many to one interview model.
I usually take a colleague with me to have numerical advantage over a candidate. OK that’s really to have better coverage of merits on our side. And we sometimes ask similar questions so it limits redundant answers. After all we still can cross check our opinions. It also limits our needs when talking about meeting room reservations, which can be quite a pain in the ass.

2. One interview is enough.
We don’t have enough time to make numerous interviews so we stick with one meeting although we’re not religious when talking about interview time. We don’t pack it into an hour. Standard plan is hour and a half although, depending on the candidate, we can go longer. One interview is enough, one hour is not.

3. Do look where others don’t.
People suck at writing resumes. Yes, they should learn that but you can’t force them. But you can find real gems among poorly written resumes. That’s a hard work and most of poor papers are followed by poor candidates but that can be your chance.

4. Don’t waste the time.
As you don’t have your HR army recruitment takes your time. Time you could have spent on other tasks. Don’t waste it then. When you see there aren’t even a chance, end quick and go do something more useful. I can’t force myself to just end interview at the very moment I realize I waste the time. Instead I just ask a couple of finishing questions, which takes just a few minutes more. If you went out from my interview after a quarter, I’m sorry but your chances aren’t good.

5. Make it tough.
Make it nice, but tough. You have way less chances to evaluate a candidate, so make the test difficult. Other way you’ll be guessing, not deciding. And you don’t want to guess whether the candidate is worthy, do you?

6. Be honest.
You’ll probably get some questions from a candidate you’d rather not answer. Sure you have the choice. You can say the truth, color a bit the reality or just lie. Choose the answer number one. Be honest. You can lose a person who will go to another company but you won’t lose your credibility. And if you lied about important things he’d leave soon anyway. Personally I wouldn’t like to work for a liar.

7. Exploit your strengths.
Remember you’re small and you’re proud of that. If you don’t believe in that repeat it to yourself until you believe. Small companies are cool. You can always find a solution for any issue as far as you want it. You don’t have strict corporate rules. For some people it is a great plus. And for you having people who like your organization is even bigger plus. You won’t be big, but nothing should stop you to be cool and fair. You’ll find people who appreciate that.

Having said that, if you like to work in a small and cool company, remember we’re recruiting like crazy now. Feel free to ruin my day being one of those people who steal another couple of hours from my schedule and kill my brain during days like today. Hopefully your approach and knowledge will stun me and the day will be rescued. I will be more than happy. You can be sure.

in: recruitment

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