Stuart’s story began in 2015 when two friends decided to create a reliable and eco-responsible last-mile delivery service. This idea turned into a start-up and is now a multinational company operating in the UK, France and Spain. We keep on evolving and challenging ourselves to always give the best we can offer. With the goal to break down the barriers of the impossible, we design our own path towards a sustainable world. From the two founders of Stuart to a company of 345 talented people, how did we manage the fast growth? And most importantly, how do we recruit new talents?
Establish ground rules
Each company is different and each hiring process is different but in this special edition of Stuart's guide, we want to share with you our in-depth recruitment methods.
It’s important to consider the components that make up our culture and to hire people who can perform at the highest level within that culture. These components are our company values, company environment, work style, and managerial style. Our 6 values were set during our last off-site in Formentera in October 2019 and they serve as an operating framework for the teams. Values-based recruitment creates a positive work environment, increases employee engagement and productivity, reduces turnover, and leads to better performance. During the recruitment process, we evaluate whether candidates share our values. When interviewing for cultural fit, besides using values-oriented questions, we reflect and find out if the candidate would feel motivated and inspired to work in an environment like the one in our team/office.
We are very proud to have our own Talent Acquisition Team! Their role is extremely important because they help shape the future of the company. Who we recruit has a direct impact on our objectives, results and growth. In that sense, it’s important to educate hiring managers constantly on how to best recruit. In order to do that the TA team is working on a Hiring Guidebook accessible to all employees on our Confluence page and has initiated the creation of conferences called “Stu-Talks” where TA members give us advice on the requirements of the role of Hiring Manager. Those talks are accessible to all employees across countries.
Being able to have a team fully focused on our recruitment allows us to spend time building hiring strategies and not rush through it without an established process. Speaking of an established process…What are the steps? How does it work?
First of all, it’s important to understand that the hiring process will vary depending on the position required. We’ll get to that later. For now, let’s talk about the basics. We asked our TA team to “spill the beans” on how they operate throughout the whole recruitment process from specific job ads to on-site meetings. Let’s dive in!
We work continuously on fostering a strong brand image in order to attract talents and it pays off because we receive a fair amount of applications on a weekly basis. We are present on several job desks such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn Job Ads, Welcome to the jungle and more. We carefully detail our job publications in order to fully lay out the requirements of the position. This allows us to have better results and more specific job applications. Once the application is in our system the whole process can take about 45 days depending on the position and on the candidate’s availability, here are the steps:
1. Meeting the TA team
A meeting is established with a member of the TA team (depending on the position and on the country the job will be in) to do a first round of questions in order to assess if the candidate fulfills the requirements. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve rearranged our meetings only on Google Hangout for the moment. This first meeting (usually in person) is a great way to get to know the candidate and test him/her on their cultural fit. We pay a lot of attention to the way the talent will speak of their work, their projects and themselves because it says a lot on the candidate’s personality and values. Once this step is validated by our TA team member we move on to the next one.
2. Meeting the Hiring Manager
This step allows the hiring manager to ask more in-depth questions and assess as many skills as possible. It’s also the gateway to the case study. Each team defines their own interview process, but we try to make sure the talent meets as many people [in regards to his position] and stakeholders. It’s important to us and it helps the candidate to get a real grasp on how the team works and how Stuart operates. If there’s one word we had to emphasize it would be “transparency”, we want to give as much visibility and honest feedback to each talent as possible. One of our values is share through cooperation, and we apply it to all aspects of our work. We also make sure that every candidate goes through the same process whether they’re a referral or not thanks to a very specific hiring guidebook designed by the TA team.
3. [Fear] The case study
The dreaded case study, just hearing those words makes talents shiver. This step has gained such a bad reputation over the years but we’re actively changing that! We’re very happy to say that we create, from beginning to end, our own case studies. Everything is done internally, and guess what? It’s actually pretty fun and allows us to assess the talent’s hard skills, obviously. We make our case studies an enjoyable moment with concrete examples (You don’t believe us? Well, you’ll just have to apply to one of our open positions, then!) After we receive the case study, the TA team usually has the answer under 48h in order to give the talent necessary feedback. Transparency, as previously stated, is an essential part of our process and our company structure. We believe that honesty and constructive feedback is what makes a person grow so if we can help anyone become a better version of themselves, we’re all in!
4. Meeting team members
Once the case study is validated and the results are satisfying, we arrange meetings between the talent and the rest of the team. Allowing the talent to meet the team is an important part of the process because it’s a very effective way to test their fit and see how the candidate interacts with each personality. It’s also reassuring for the talent to see who they’ll work with. Each team member explains their role and who they are, the goal is to get to know the person as well as assessing the skills of the candidate at the same moment. This part is either done outside of the office in a café or restaurant because a relaxed environment can really encourage candidates to open up. It's an effective way to see how they interact with more junior/senior members of the team and with groups.
5. On-site meeting
This final step is the introduction to the quite informal on-site meeting. During this step we present the office and all team members. It’s super important for a talent to get to know his surroundings and get to feel the energy of the place, don’t you think? We usually have a coffee break altogether and chat a bit more. Then we enter the very final stage of negotiations.
How we communicate a rejection
As previously stated, we share feedback. Constructive feedback may help candidates in other hiring processes, and it will also help them prepare and fulfil requirements that were missing for future opportunities at your company. If the feedback is highly technical, it's always good if the team can share their feedback on why the candidate hasn’t been selected, instead of it coming from a TA representative.
We encourage talents to apply again. We share other open positions that may be suitable based on their qualifications, either that the company is looking to fill or that are available in other companies or on platforms.
We ask for feedback. Candidates are not the only ones who should be keen to receive feedback, companies should ask for it too. To provide a good candidate experience at the rejection stage, it’s necessary to be able to visualize all steps in the process. This way, we can see what isn’t working and take action to improve it. We are currently using NPS (Net Promoter Score) to evaluate the candidate experience we are providing.
Don’t stop believing
Overall, we’re always working on ensuring a positive candidate experience by providing clear timelines on what to expect in terms of next steps and requirements. If we’ve gone through the process with a candidate, we make sure to take the time to give personal feedback. Most of the time, our recruitments are excellent and are just the right fit and addition not only to the team but to the company as a whole. But sometimes, we fail because the hardest things to assess are what makes a person who they are like their relentless motivation, how they work under pressure, their aptitude and character towards complex situations and so on. The hiring world is a very complex one and if there were only one thing to remember it would be to keep taking leaps of faith and trust people. We will always keep on giving talents a chance to prove their worth regardless of their background and profile. Diversity is what makes us stronger.