Growing our Small Business
A look into our hiring process
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re hiring. Expanding a small team like ours can be a weird, tricky process, so we thought we’d share a little bit about how we do it.
When we hire
We consider ourselves risk-conscious at Lickability, which means that we tend to be fairly conservative about hiring. We hire new employees based on an existing or immediate upcoming need, rather than trying to anticipate too far into the future. Because of that, we tend not to take on a lot of projects, which means we are far less likely to be caught in a position where we’ve just hired someone and don’t have anything to work on. It’s important to us that new employees feel like they have an important role at the company from the start, and the way we approach hiring helps us accomplish that.
So, how do we decide it’s time to hire someone new? The short answer is that it depends on how much work we have. We look at our current list of clients, our contracts, and any existing leads that we have. If we have more upcoming projects than we have engineers, it’s time to consider bringing on a new team member.
Who we hire
Most of the time, the new employees we hire are Swift engineers. But because Lickability is a small, relatively young company, it’s not uncommon for us to realize we need to hire someone to fill a totally new role.
To decide what positions we need to hire for, we take a look at the responsibilities that we’re either lacking or currently taking on ourselves. Then we try to shape a role around some, or all, of those responsibilities. A big part of writing a job description for a brand new role is looking at companies we admire and compete with that have the same position. Once we’ve read and talked to folks about how theystructured a role, we can come up with something that’s right for us.
Keeping in mind that the person who fits our specific needs has to actually exist, we try to limit requirements (like education and years of experience) to only what’s truly necessary. Having job requirements that aren’t actually requirements tends to systematically discourage women and other underrepresented groups from applying, and that’s the last thing we want. Being honest and clear about what we actually need — and being willing to compromise and change our job description if the applicants we see fit a slightly different profile better — is key when it comes to hiring for positions we’re less familiar with.
How we hire
Our hiring process has three steps: a phone screen, a take-home project, and an interview. The phone screen is a quick conversation to help us get a basic understanding of a person’s skills and personality. After a candidate passes the phone screen, we send them a small project to complete, relevant to the skills we’re looking for, that helps us get an understanding of what they consider to be their best work. Then, finally, the in-person interview is when we ask the candidate questions about the code test, their technical knowledge, and what would make them a good fit for our team.
We adhere fairly strictly to this process, and use the same take-home project and set of interview questions for everyone, which allows us to create a baseline for comparing applicants. We don’t believe in timed coding or algorithmic questions, instead striving to create an environment in our interviews that feels much closer to what it would be like if they were actually working here. For example, applicants can use their laptops to look up documentation and Google answers to questions if they need to, and they’re encouraged to ask questions and generate discussion during the interview.
The nice thing about hiring is that we have the chance to refine the process every time we do it, and if there’s one thing we love at Lickability, it’s figuring out how to do things better. If that sounds like you too, come work with us.