By Lucie Sáblíková | 6/8/2021

Behind the scenes of HR: Just be yourself, communicate, and be prepared

Culture -

For more than a year now, Anička has been recruiting new Applifters, among other things. That's why we decided to talk to her on this topic. We reveal to you what our process looks like and much more. What is Anička interested in during a recruiting meeting or a call? How do candidates react to some of the information? Read the details in our interview.

Anička, could you please describe the recruiting process here at Applifting?

We try to keep our job interviews as short as possible. Once we recieve a CV, we call the candidate and talk about basic things important to both parties. Cultural fit is one of those things, for example. As we are a free company, we look for like-minded people. It's important to us to get along personally, not just professionally. It's also the reason why we don’t do active sourcing. We do the opposite, really, we try to do everything to make sure the market knows about us so that candidates apply actively because they like what we do and how we do it. And, of course, we also talk about the types of projects we work on, our hybrid teams, or their financial expectations (as well as coffee at our offices :-)).

The majority of programmers who apply have a repository on GitHub, so there is no need to ask any complex technical questions. If their repository isn't public and we feel we’re on the same wavelength, we send them a task. We deliberately do not set any deadlines in order to check the candidates approach to it.

We don't want to bother our candidates with a lengthy multi-round recruiting process, so with some of the positions (specifically Java and TypeScript), we decided to do just two rounds. There is no task, and we test their knowledge directly during the interview in the form of so-called pair programming.

During the pandemic, we do our interviews primarily online, but we are happy if a candidate is willing to come in person at this time as well.

How do candidates react to tasks?

We discovered that senior-level candidates usually don't have the time to do the task. That was the reason we introduced pair programming to our interviews in the first place. However, most of them enjoy our tasks (allegedly :)), and they especially appreciate our feedback on their code. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, it helps them in their development.

What is important to you when checking the task? 

It's definitely the delivery date that candidates set for themselves. For example, their discipline, time management, or communication skills all come into view when they need to explain why they’re delivering the task later than they said they would. We check the quality of the documentation, organization of the code, whether it can solve a not-so-obvious problem, or whether it strictly adheres to the assignment. We are primarily interested in their skill level because it allows us to find a suitable project for them.

What are candidates most interested in?

They are interested in how much money we can offer them, working remotely, and the possibility of education and mentoring. I also get asked quite often whether the things we describe on GitHub really work and how we make do with just self-management and no managers.

What do they appreciate the most when you describe Applifting?

Besides our culture, they are generally fascinated by our meeting rooms (when they come to the interview in person). They want to go through the entire office, and they’re just as excited about it as we still are :-).

Is there anything surprising to them?

Usually, it’s our approach and the pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. They appreciate that Vráťa (one of the founders of Applifting) shows up in just a T-shirt and jeans (not a business suit) and talks to them as an equal.

The diversity of our clients and projects is also something that surprises them. Whether they want to work on a project for a corporate client with some history or for an emerging startup.

During the interview, what is important to you personally?

I focus on their communication skills and their ability to gather information. We have a lot of startup clients with whom it is necessary to be in close contact.

At Applifting, we share a lot of our know-how. Some of the Applifters are mentors, so I try to get a sense of whether the candidates are also active in the community, or whether they participate in various IT events.

Is there any advice you would give our candidates?

Just be yourself and don’t play any games. When a candidate pretends to be something they’re not, it is of course possible we’ll wind up hiring them, but they won't feel like they belong. They probably won't even enjoy working with us. And, of course, be at least a little prepared for the interview :-) 

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