How do you succeed in recruiting the right people to work in an agile environment? Skills and experience are factors, but another, if not the most important, is the ability to collaborate. At Stratsys, we believe in cross-functional teams. We therefore seek out recruits who possess not only specialized skills but also a talent for working as a team to achieve results. In other words, T-shaped people (or skills).
We entrust our cross-functional teams with the task of recruiting the right people to join them. This type of hiring process is called team-based recruitment. This is how we do it.
Management review and interview
The first contact between us and the applicant is either initiated by the applicant, via an advertisement or social post, or through any of the recruitment agencies we work with. The applicant will meet with Samuel Spånberger and me at an initial interview, so as to not to burden the teams unnecessarily with preliminary stages. If the applicant finds our products and our culture interesting, and if we get a good sense of the applicant’s knowledge, experience and values, we proceed to Step 1. of our process.
Step 1. Code test
The purpose of a code test is not to expose the applicant to advanced mathematical problems or algorithms, but rather to see how the person considers software development in terms of design, structure, readability, testability and maintainability. The test takes a few hours and can be completed at home in peace and quiet.
Step 2. Team review
This is where the team takes over in the process. The teams will get access to the applicant’s solution to the code test together with some background information regarding their education and experience, as well as my and Samuel’s notes from the first interview. Based on this information, the team decides whether they want to meet the person for a team interview or not.
Step 3. Team interview
Since we believe that software development is about cooperation amongst people with different types of expertise, it’s important to gauge the applicant’s ability to collaborate effectively. In the interview, the applicant and the team get the opportunity to assess each other’s skills and values, while simultaneously testing how easily they can communicate.
Teams get to make their own decisions about the person/role that will be added to their team. Human resources are never assigned by management. This means that the team has ownership over their group. They decide how their capacities need to be expanded. In the interview, the team has a chance to discern what the applicant brings to the table and how well they will be able to cooperate.
4th and final step. Reference checking
As important as all of the above is checking the applicant’s references. We always talk with at least three references (preferably previous managers). This is the final step before we negotiate terms with the candidate.
The combination of a code test and team interviews has proven effective for us, and has resulted in very successful recruits. Our four-step process keeps management from having opinions and attempting to distribute skills, and instead puts the teams in charge of acquiring the skills they need to reach the next level of performance.