Hiring an employee starts with ... respect. We will interview the engineer

    Hello! My name is Sophia Dongauser, I lead the team of recruitment of IT-specialists in Lamoda. Long story short: it’s not the first year that we attract IT specialists from all over Russia and the CIS and, in our opinion, have learned to do this effectively. 

    IT recruitment team

    What is the most annoying candidate? Among the negative aspects noted by IT-specialists, four are in the lead by a large margin: the incompetence of recruiters and, as a result, the poor quality of the first contact; the length of the selection process; academic tasks in an interview that are not related to real "combat" tasks. And last but not least - the absence or inaudibility of the feedback after the interview. 

    Knowing this, we have formed our own selection standards. 

    The first one.IT recruitment today requires us to understand the subject area at a level sufficient for the initial assessment of technical candidates. Each Lamoda IT recruiter has a basic understanding of all the company's technologies, which allows us to speak the same language with the engineers. 

    The second one. Relatively short one- / two-stage interviews with fast feedback are a model that Lamoda did not immediately, but successfully came to. 

    The third. We transformed the interview interview into a professional conversation and left only those test tasks that help the candidate better understand what awaits him at work. 

    And the last one. Our task was to turn a dry formal feedback after an interview into a useful consultation. 

    To show how we improved our employment at Lamoda, I will walk through the stages that a candidate usually goes through before starting to work with us.

    True job description 

    We start by defining clear requirements for the candidate’s profile, and then we develop a comprehensive job description and PR campaign. Development is the candidate market. And in our case - the candidate whom we know very well: Lamoda has been engaged in the selection, for example, of PHP developers for more than seven years. During this time, we formed a knowledge base about other companies, projects and honed a checklist of questions before a personal meeting. We know how to invite to a meeting those who are highly likely to meet our criteria. 

    A bit of statistics: on average, we get one candidate out of four for the position of Golang- and PHP-developer. Often we close a vacancy after a single interview on it.

    A neatly formulated profile and understanding of the market helps us prepare a personalized letter to the candidate with a relevant proposal. 

    Sergey Byvaltsev, 1C-developer :
    “In the summer of 2018, I was looking for work, and at some point I already had an offer from another company in my hands. But then Sonya wrote to me. Her letter stood out among other proposals of the eychars. The job description was lively - not just a formal, typical set of phrases that are found in the vast majority of recruiting letters. And most importantly, the essence of the upcoming tasks was described clearly and in detail. ”

    IT professionals tend to meticulously study the requirements for the position. A “sheet” with lots of developer items is easy to scare off. Especially when these requirements are not ranked or reasoned. Therefore, we, being in search of a front-end with knowledge of React, will not begin to add Angular and Vue if they are not used in the team. 

    This is what one of our recent posts on the Typical Programmer website looked like: You can

    view and evaluate descriptions of all vacancies on tech.lamoda.ru .

    We know that the candidate wants to see a paycheck. However, in the text of the vacancy, we never indicate the salary. First of all, not for reasons of corporate policy and the NDA, but because we are flexible in terms of material remuneration of labor. Seeing that we have a technically strong specialist, we try to focus on his financial expectations. 

    Another reason not to publish salary nets: there are no universal standards for grades, the formulation of senior developer in two organizations can mean very different skill levels and, accordingly, the amount of remuneration.

    How to interview for an hour and a half and not torture the candidate

    Forming our approach to interviews, we set the task to maintain a balance: on the one hand, we need to qualitatively check whether a person is suitable as a person and a professional, on the other hand, to make meetings comfortable for the candidate, including saving his time.

    In the development departments, the interview is carried out in two stages. The first is the main interview. Both Timlids and a recruiter participate in it. The meeting lasts about an hour and a half, rarely longer. The first stage is not only a technical interview. Timlids in Lamoda, along with a recruiter, communicate with candidates on topics that relate to their motivation, goals, and soft skills. 

    The second stage of the interview is a short meeting, acquaintance with the development manager, it can also be conducted in an online format. On it, the applicant learns more about the company's strategy, about other projects, about the development opportunities inside Lamoda. Well, for the development manager this is an opportunity to get to know a new colleague without five minutes. 

    Not an exam, but a conversation of professionals

    We try to give the candidate those tasks that will be close to the functionality and essence of the project with which he will deal in Lamoda. For example, for a backend developer, design a "Basket" on a site. If he does not have experience with specific solutions, we will briefly outline the situation and tools. We arrive at the final solution in the dialogue. Timlid can tell the right direction, and if a person is at an impasse, then tell how he would cope with the task himself.

    Anton Volojanin, backend developer of the Lamoda.ru web version :
    “Several people talked to me during the interview. Asked questions about Python, architecture, computer science. Then there was a meeting with Timur Nurutdinov, head of development of the e-commerce platform. With him, we discussed more specific things in the technological plan. It was an interview, but it passed somehow smoothly and imperceptibly. I was surprised that at Lamoda you aren’t being felled for an interview at all. Everything is built in such a way that they discuss with you on equal terms. “You don’t know something - they don’t push it, but transfer the dialogue in a different direction.” 

    One interview - several projects to choose from

    The composition of the interviewers depends on who and what position we are looking for. When searching for a developer, along with a recruiter, team interviews with vacancies are certainly involved in the interview. Other team members may periodically join. 

    Igor Mosyagin, R&D developer :
    “I’ve been in Lamoda for a year and a half. Came here after being tired of science, and choosing between several companies. A technical interview with me was carried out by two team leaders, in whose teams there were vacancies at that time. I was immediately attracted to the company by the fact that I almost from the threshold got the opportunity to directly and on the case communicate with those people with whom, if hired, I would start working directly. Yes, there were tasks for writing the code, we sorted out where and why I was mistaken, and what good fellows, but all this took place in a comfortable and constructive atmosphere, and there was no feeling that I was in the exam. ”

    We offer growth positions

    First of all, it is important for us how quickly a newcomer will be able to cope with real working projects. We are ready to take programmers to the positions of Golang developers that regularly appear in our company without experience with it, but with a background in Python and PHP. With the help of our internal training system within the framework of the onboarding program, people penetrate Go from scratch in a week or two, after which they code on it, solving "combat" tasks.

    Anton Volojanin, backend developer of the Lamoda.ru web version :
    “For a long time in IT: I was both a developer, and a team leader, and a project. The last place to work before Lamoda was an autotester at Kaspersky Lab. I have been writing in Python for a long time and wanted to get to where I could code on it and on Golang - I was very drawn to go deep into it. I found a job on Facebook - I saw a repost of one of the company's recruiters. The option seemed perfect to me: they use Python here and promised to train Go, since it is in production. "

    Recently, at the beginning of 2018, in the course of one of the interviews, we realized that a candidate for a senior position has managerial potential, which we told him about. We took him to the team with a reserve on the fact that he will soon enter the role of team leader.

    Daniil Zinenko, backend developer, and then team lead of the e-commerce platform Lamoda :
    “The interview began quite normally. I claimed to be a senior developer, but it turned out that recruiters at the dating stage recognized my leadership qualities. Then there was a technical interview, and then the head of development of the online platform connected. We discussed with him management issues, Agile methodology, how to work with people and tasks.

    When they started talking directly with me about the role of team lead, I refused at first: I don’t really believe in history when a person comes into the team from the outside and immediately becomes a team leader or technical team. We agreed that I will start as a senior developer, and then we will see how things will be. As a result, four months after the start of work, I am in the process of formally signing the offer for the team lead. In general, I was lucky with the team - all the cool guys. At first they prompted, told. Plus, the leader helped with advice, reduced who he needed, and also gave a detailed introduction in the form of articles in Confluence. ”

    No "chemistry", only clearly defined criteria

    As an HR, we purposefully teach our team leaders to conduct interviews competently, so that at the end not formulations such as “something chemistry has arisen” sound, but rational arguments. In order for the hiring manager to understand what issues to check for sociability, adaptability, leadership qualities of a potential colleague, what positive and negative markers to track in his cues and behavior. 

    Timur Nurutdinov, head of development of the online platform :
    “Dasha (approx. Senior recruiter) developed the training“ How to determine soft skills in an interview ”for team leaders. For me, the key result of this training was that now, at the stage of profile formation, team leaders can choose the qualities that a candidate should have. I am 100% sure that we equally understand what soft skills are important to us. " 

    Professional colleagues and friends are the same people.

    The second phase of the interview also allows us to provide a cultural fit to the team. This is especially important for us, because at Lamoda we work not just with colleagues, but with like-minded people and friends. When we formulated the distinctive features of the Lamoda culture, among other things, we noted our friendliness and openness. 

    Pavel Saveliev, head of the business process automation department :
    “When I meet a person, I pay attention to how quickly he thinks, how open he is, energetic, accepts criticism, and is ready to admit mistakes. I hardly look at Hard Skills because they have already been checked in the first stage. If the candidate has a sense of humor, I confess that for me this is a good sign. ”

    In the summer, Fashion Fridays are held periodically in our office - Friday themed meetings, where we also call ex-Lamodovites, with whom we continue to keep in touch, and sometimes the finalists, to one or another position. Having visited our Fashion Fridays, the candidate can see potential colleagues and the leader in an informal atmosphere and make an impression of the atmosphere in the team. " 

    Sergey Byvaltsev, 1C-developer :
    “I am from Transnistria, so the first interview at Lamoda was over Skype. The guys asked me what I was doing, explained what I had to do in the company. I sent a sample of my code. A little later, Lamoda sent me an offer.

    Soon I arrived in Moscow, where I had an interview with another company. Conditions both there and there promised approximately equal. But Sonya again got in touch with me and suggested: “But let’s you look at our office, will you meet?” Agreed for the evening. It was just Fashion Friday. Sonya met me and showed everything, and then I met with the guys: with the department head, project manager and a representative from the business that deals with logistics. Everyone was resting and talking. In the end, the team and the pleasant atmosphere determined my choice. ”

    Inside Lamoda, there is a program of internal recommendations for the selection of technology specialists - Code the Fashion. According to its rules, any employee of the company can recommend his friend or acquaintance for a specific vacancy. Of course, we close all positions on competitive terms and do not make preferences for “protégés”. Another thing is that with the help of recommendations we learn valuable insights. Usually, a colleague does not just throw off the link profile recommended in social networks, but also shares on what project they worked with him and how he showed himself in business.

    Over the past six months, we have closed 12% of technical vacancies through internal recommendations and are increasing this share. And a year ago it was about half as much.

    If employees want their friends and relatives to work side by side with them, for us this is a marker of the company's health. 

    Offer in two days

    The decision on candidates for Lamoda can be taken promptly due to the formalization of feedback. Within a day after the interview, the team leader provides the recruiter with feedback, filling out a special form for the candidate. 

    Here is an example of feedback after an interview with the Android development team.

    The deadline for providing feedback to the candidate has been reduced to two days. This is an average - it happens, we make an offer right after the interview. Sometimes the "reaction time" increases. However, in such a situation, the recruiter tries to inform the candidate when a decision is made.

    Igor Mosyagin, R&D developer :
    “When I interviewed at Lamoda, I lived in another country. For several days, I arrived in Moscow on business, and we were able to arrange that all interviews be held during this period, in a short time. As a result, the whole process took four days, after which I received an offer. He met my expectations, and I accepted him. ”

    Disclaimer: not a blacklist, but a consultation

    When dealing with failures, our main task was to turn the formal procedure into a tool that will help us improve the hiring conversion funnel in the future.

    Previously, we gave the applicant feedback in the standard way: they called and said in the most general wording that, unfortunately, the decision was made in favor of another candidate. Now the IT recruiter calls or writes to the candidate, reports that he has identified certain weaknesses, and adds: “If you are interested, we are ready to give you a detailed answer about what was wrong and what can be improved.” The response to this proposal exceeded our expectations: about half of the people whose candidates we rejected after the interview asked for a detailed feedback. And most importantly, the approach works - the developers learn with our help from mistakes and after some time get in touch again.

    Vitaly Bendik, team lead of the Lamoda Android application development team :
    “One of the applicants for the position of the Android developer whose candidate we rejected, after refusing the general wording, wanted to know more about his strengths and weaknesses. We gave something like this:

    “There are gaps in the knowledge of the platform, it is worth refreshing in memory how the main components of the Android application work, the attributes of the components in AndroidManifest (exported, configChanges) plus the features of the IntentService. Understand how Looper, Handler, and MessageQueue interact with each other. Understand the features of the implementation of Parcelable and how it differs from Serializable. As for Java, you should pay attention to multithreading. There is also a misunderstanding of the types of exceptions (inheritors of Throwable) and their differences. Regarding Kotlin’s knowledge: we recommend repeating why data classes are needed, what their limitations and features are, and also to understand which cases sealed classes can be useful for. ” 

    Ex-Lamodovites come back to us ... sometimes twice 

    Our colleagues who have left the company several years ago regularly return to Lamoda. In such cases, we tend to abandon the standard interview scheme in favor of lunch with a former colleague. After all, we know his professional skills and saw him at work. Another thing is important here: to discuss to which project our “repatriate” could join, in what capacity and on what conditions.

    Usually return to a specific team or leader. Also, they often write to our IT recruiters with a desire to return, because over the years of working with them trust relationships have developed. 

    Going to work: bet not on speed, but on common sense

    When all agreements are reached and the offer is accepted, we will agree with the successful candidate the date of his entry to work. In most cases, he comes to us from another company and often needs a break. For example, he wants to take advantage of “inter-work” for a long-delayed vacation. As for the timing of the start of work, we are loyal: we try to go towards the applicant and wait for him as much as necessary.

    Sergey Istomin, DevOps:
    “At Lamoda I have been working as a system engineer for about six months, I am engaged in the Big Data project.

    The interview was conducted by my current immediate supervisor. The conversation took place in an informal setting. We talked about current problems, ways and methods of solving them, about the development of the project.

    After it was decided that we were suited to each other, there was a need to agree on a date for going to work. I clarified that I need to complete the current project, transfer things and relax. It suited the company: they agreed to wait a month and a half. ” 

    We help with moving to Moscow

    Lamoda Headquarters is located in Moscow. Often we hire people from other cities, or even from other CIS countries (then the first stage of the interview takes place online). For such cases, Lamoda provides a relocation package. We help the new employee with the move financially - we compensate for the costs of rail or air tickets and pay a welcome bonus.

    Artyom Tsepkov, senior PHP developer in the b2b platform :
    “I’ve been in Lamoda for two months. Relocation planned initially. More precisely, I did not mind moving to Moscow from St. Petersburg. Once agreed, I moved. As a result, Lamoda paid me the tickets, plus I received the first part of the welcome bonus. When I was looking for an apartment in the capital, they came to meet me, let me go from work and Dasha advised at all stages. ”

    Trial Support

    In many companies, the recruiter's area of ​​responsibility ends at the time the offer is accepted. We stay with the candidate for at least three months. During this time, the recruiter and the candidate should have three meetings at which they, in particular, “check the clock” to understand whether the newcomer is getting used to Lamoda normally and if his expectations are not at odds with reality. It happens that a recruiter is more easily informed of problems. For example, because they seem ridiculous to a newcomer: “I do not want to pull the timlid for nothing.” By and large, this is natural. Starting from the first interview, the recruiter spends so much time with the applicant that he often ends up in Lamoda as the person closest to him. And we continue to help the employee after his trial period.

    Diving into the environment is also helped by informal meetings. Once every two weeks we organize parties for the new ones - with tables, "Mafia" and movie screenings. Such operational and at the same time soft networking, according to the beginners themselves, facilitates adaptation at first.

    Alexander Smolentsev, DWH developer:
    “Vasya, our recruiter, organizes regular games among newcomers. We have a chat room where we add new ones and where we choose a convenient date. It turned out that I stood at the origins of LaMafia in 2017, then we thought it would be great to get together in the evening after work to play the mafia in a pleasant atmosphere. Now LaMafia is not only a game of mafia and various tables, it is also a platform for informal communication with interesting people from Lamoda. ”

    Also, in order to quickly plunge into the atmosphere of e-commerce and real business tasks, each new employee at Lamoda receives an invitation to take an excursion to the warehouse and photo studio, where you can see with your own eyes the main operational processes under which IT teams create products.

    Measuring NPS as a source of useful insights

    Of course, we were not able to build such a hiring process right away. It was a close collaboration between the recruitment team, department heads and team leaders themselves. Now we continue to improve our recruitment processes, primarily focusing on candidate experience. The recruitment team monthly measures the candidate NPS and receives useful insights along the way (after completing the interview at Lamoda, you will receive a link to a short survey asking you to evaluate the process).

    We shared the successful practices that worked in our company. Tell us in the comments about your best practices or the best recruitment process that you personally had to deal with.

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