Stories

Hexis Talent:
From Zero to Hero

Have you ever wondered what the mysterious recruitment process looks like at a fast-growing tech startup?

in careers By Rafaela, People Manager

There’s no secret recipe or magic potion to this. Only a team of super talented people that ultimately care about… people.

Here’s how we attract and hire top talent at Hexis.

As a People Manager at Hexis, I am responsible for all things related to people. I designed, and manage, the full cycle of our recruitment process: from sourcing, screening, interviewing and selecting applicants. My mission is to build awesome, new teams. I am responsible for ensuring that Hexis attracts the most talented, passionate people out there.

It’s been 1 year since Hexis took off. For this startup, the last 12 months came with many hurdles, not least having no market presence or branding. But our growth has been huge, and we now operate out of 3 offices, with 31 Hexis team members, and still expanding. There is no secret to recruiting, really. There is only a commitment to be proud of your work, move swiftly and most importantly, have fun in the process!

There are always challenges for early stage startups. We are constantly pushed to roll up our sleeves, and come up with solutions in different areas. This is especially true in the recruitment process.

A week and a half was the period it took to progress from a screening and technical meeting, to receive an offer and sign the contract. Rodrigo, Software Developer

The Hexis way

1. Brace yourselves: Recruitment is coming

Before recruitment begins, preparation is key. It is important to understand who we are searching for. We meet with clients to get a real understanding of what and who they need, in terms of soft-skills and technical skills. We get to the heart of the project scope and the developer’s role, and the expected contribution of this person once part of the team. And we continue this process of understanding, right up to the point of assembling a task-force. They will help craft the job descriptions, evaluate the applicants and be part of the hiring decision. Normally this task-force is represented by the future team lead, a future team member, and the recruiter.

2. I don’t know who you are: but I will find you and recruit you!

The purple squirrels will not come out of the bushes, knock on your door and ask to be hired. Top talent is hard to find and even harder to attract. So they need to be sourced and engaged.

Our sourcing strategy goes beyond internal referrals, Linkedin. We source on Github, StackOverflow, Twitter, and on meet-up. It’s important to acknowledge that in the end we are all humans with wants, needs and motivations. So we keep our communication as personal as possible.

Our employer brand strategy consists of being close to developers and building a community. To do so we organize, host and sponsor meet-ups (like BracampLx or Training Center Lx) and we try to be present at national and international conferences (e.i. JNation, WebSummit, Chainges or Landing Festival). We also pride ourselves on being quality driven. We follow best practices both in engineering and in recruitment.

Internally, we promote several events (if you are curious ask us about Sharing is Caring or Sharing is Bacon) that contribute to more transparency and knowledge sharing. These ultimately bring management, operations, engineering and recruitment closer.

We invest in people’s development and empower them to try new things. This creative freedom fosters innovation, which creates a safe and awesome work environment.

3. Hello (from the other side)

After screening CVs, the first stage is a phone interview.

People tend to be afraid of job interviews because a lot of recruiters grill them for questionnaire-like answers. I believe we do it with some flair. The goal is to have a conversation and we encourage the candidate to speak and ask questions.

The recruiter starts by giving a quick intro about themselves and then we ask the person to do the same. After that we explore various topics such as experience, motivation for applying, expectations, and we ask 3-4 technical questions and/or situational questions. We also ask some off-topics question to see the candidate’s ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations, and to get to know the person better.

In the end we give a glimpse of how we are structured, our teams, technologies and methodologies we use, general challenges we are solving, where people can contribute, perks, and provide visibility into next steps.

This allows us to quickly determine if the candidate suits the role and whether our vision and culture is aligned.

4. Yoda says: Hiring we are. Great talent you must possess

For every technical position a take home task is required. Depending on the team the candidate is applying for, the Code Challenge is either prepared by the client or prepared by Hexis. We normally use the HackerRank platform when the tasks are prepared by us and it takes an hour to complete the challenge.

When the Code Challenge is prepared by the client we normally give 2-3 days to complete the task.

In both scenarios candidates can do it when and where is most suitable and comfortable. This stage of the process is relevant for a number of reasons:

  • It gives us an idea of the candidate’s skills and suitability to be successful in their role;
  • Ensures quality in the pipeline and show us if candidates are truly interested in the position;
  • Provides a base of discussion for the next stage (the technical interviews);
  • As a recruitment filter saves time to both ends (Hexis and the candidate).

5. One does not simply starts the process without meeting the team

The in-person interview is THE moment of the entire hiring process. A chance to analyze together with the team the Code Challenge implementation, allowing the task-force to deep-dive into the candidate’s personality and skills to see how well they fit in our culture.

Most of the interviews are held in our office in Lisbon and at the end of each technical meeting we give a tour to our office to introduce the working environment.

Besides the technical side, being resourceful, adaptable and willing to contribute to the team and company are the main three things I am looking for in a person. José, Team Leader

After the interviews the task-force gather for a discussion. We evaluate candidates based on all the previous interactions the applicant had with us (CV, screening call, code challenge, interview, experience, skills, attitude, etc).
We then share our thoughts with the CEO and Engineering Manager and together we make a decision.

6. Join the darkside. We have chocolate cake and beer

The offer stage is also a possibility to meet our CEO or Engineering Director and learn more about our vision, culture and future plans.

If candidates don’t reach this stage we give honest feedback regarding which stage the journey may have ended. We try to give the best candidate experience possible and we stay in touch with candidates - maybe we’ll have a perfect role for them in the future.

For the successful candidates – YAAAY new teammate!! :D Welcome!
After the job contract is signed, it’s time to onboard the new Hexis member. But this is another topic for another time.

THAT'S ALL!

... as I told you before there are no secrets. Just a quality driven, people-centered approach. This is how we hire at Hexis.

Growing the team and overseeing our vibrant working culture is definitely one of my strongest passions. I was thrilled and honored to receive Portugal’s award for Best Young Talent in HR 2018! At Hexis we are all encouraged to excel and achieve outstanding results, both for ourselves and together as a team.

Nevertheless, in recruitment as in any other process, we continuously find ways to improve. The goal is definitely not just filling a position as fast as possible with the most immediately available candidate. Hexis’ culture depends on the people we work with; our productivity, our workflows, and mindset. If we don’t hire the right way, the working culture can change for the worse.

Now you know what to expect: from sending the CV until the final decision. So, if you’ve been wondering about applying to join our team – do it! As Hexis is growing, we are expanding our team and always looking for exceptional talent.

Meantime, let’s connect or keep in touch!

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