Candidate Experience. A big topic, yet one has to wonder why many companies fail to deliver so badly in something they boast about. Paying tribute and respect to an application and its writer is a way to show that you genuinely care for the individual behind the resume and cover letter, behind reference letters and project links. Not because this might be the perfect candidate that you are desperately looking for. You should pay tribute to their time investment, no matter how good of a fit they are. Just because this person is applying for a company you already work for, does not mean that they are the only ones that need to prove they are worth it. The question that the topic Candidate Experience brings with it is the following: Is your company worth it?
The Gini Treatment
Not only is our organizational structure (see this blog post for more information) different from many others out there, so is our culture. If you are interested in a deep dive about what our culture has to offer alongside this post, I recommend reading our Handbook.
One of our core values “Love” symbolizes our determination to face every person with love and respect. This is not limited to all people working at Gini but includes our partners, with whom we are striving for a good, beneficial, and long-lasting relationship. Lastly, it is equally important for us to treat our candidates the way they, just like every human being, deserve it. If you are familiar with our recruitment process, you know it is quite thorough and involves many different stages and stakeholders. Thus, how do we guarantee a candidate experience that leaves a positive impression both on good matching candidates as well as not yet suitable ones?
The main ingredients
Improving on a personal level as well as continuously re-evaluating our processes has been a fundamental pillar in the way we work together. We are trying to challenge the status quo to ensure constant optimization and learning from the past. Let me explain this with our interview steps, and bear with me, there are a few of them:
Imagine a candidate, let’s call her Emma, applies for one of our jobs. Great, thanks a lot for your application Emma, we are very excited to have received it! While we make sure every candidate gets an automatic email after we received their application, this is just the beginning. One of our recruiters will review the application and let Emma know within three working days after applying if we would like to invite her for a first interview. If we decide not to continue the process with Emma, we also let her know within that time frame. Nothing is worse than putting a lot of effort into an application and then never hearing from the recipient. Plus, no-reply-emails are not our thing. Emma will be in contact with one of our recruiters and will be able to reach out to us via email or phone anytime. In this case, Emma’s application looks great!
Getting to know one another
Next up is a first video call, a screening interview. This is mainly about getting to know the candidate, their skills and aspirations, and obviously for them to get a better understanding of Gini and our culture. This first interview is not only about us asking questions but also about encouraging Emma to ask questions herself. After all, committing to a new employer is a big step in everyone’s life, and we want to make sure Emma gets to know us just like we want to get to know her.
The screening interview with one of our recruiters is over — what now? If we got the feeling that Emma is not the candidate we are looking for, we will let her know within three working days after the interview. We know that Emma has invested a lot of her time into the interview; therefore, we want to appreciate that by giving her feedback. We will call Emma and give her feedback directly. If we cannot reach her several times, we will write her an email in which we let her know the outcome of the process as well as include an offer to call us back or let us know when we can reach her to give feedback. Giving feedback is extremely important for both sides alike. On the one hand, Emma will be able to understand her strengths and the areas where she can improve. This will increase her chances of doing better in her next interviews with other companies. On the other hand, this also gives us a chance to get feedback on our process. As mentioned, we continuously reevaluate our process and try to adapt it to candidates’ needs.
If the outcome of the screening interview is positive, we will get back to Emma within three working days as well. If there is feedback we would like to give her for the next interviews, we will give her a quick call. Three days is the magical number here at Gini in case you wondered. While we can often get back to many candidates even quicker than that, it takes some more time with others, especially if we would like to have more people take a look at the application and the interview evaluation.
Do you have what it takes?
The next interview step is a skills interview, either a video call or an in-person interview, with two people from the area Emma is applying for. This interview is about the technical skills and specific expertise that is needed for the position. Usually, one of the two interviewers is the Hiring Lead who is part of the team Emma would join. This way, Emma will not only find out more about the position but also about the team itself. “A Hiring Lead? What’s that exactly?”, you might wonder. A Hiring Lead is what is often considered a Hiring Manager in other companies. It is basically someone who is in need of a new member in their team and who, preferably, has the same or similar background. We don’t call it a “Manager” since this person would not become Emma’s boss but is solely acting as an expert during the recruitment process and supporting our recruiters with their expertise.
The procedure after this interview is the same as after the screening interview.
Know what you’ll get
If Emma was successful, we openly communicate to her what kind of package we have to offer from our side, meaning start date, salary, and sending her a first draft of the contract. This way we make sure that Emma knows exactly what she would be getting if she started working at Gini. No surprises, no waiting, no last-minute disappointments, just open and transparent communication. Once we agree on a package, Emma moves on to the last interview stage, the value interviews.
The last hurdle
For us, the personal and team fit is just as important as the technical one. We have more than 12 different nationalities here, we do not all have the same mother tongue, and we all have our specific traits. When there is so much enriching diversity in your team, you are in need of one common denominator to work efficiently with one another. We wholeheartedly believe that this common denominator is our values which we all try to live up to every single day.
In this last stage, Emma will have two more interviews with two people each. By having the interviewers be members from across the company, we make sure that a varied set of people get an impression of a potential new colleague. Moreover, Emma will be able to get to know different people to give her a more extensive idea of the characters and personalities we have here at Gini. For this to also happen in a more relaxing atmosphere than just the two interviews, we invite every candidate to spend lunchtime with us. This way they experience the Gini life first hand.
When coming to our office in Munich for the value interviews, Emma knows exactly what to expect: She got an email with a detailed agenda a couple of days before the on-site interviews. But more importantly, Emma has a buddy who will accompany her the entire time. The buddy will welcome her, give her an office tour, and make sure she is in the right room at the right time. The buddy will be there to answer any questions Emma might have and to offer beverages and snacks. The buddy is also the person to explain the next steps after the last interview and who sees her off at the very end.
What comes next is a prime example of how we make consent decisions at Gini (see our blog post about decentralized decisions). The day after the on-site interviews, all interviewers get together to decide whether we make Emma an offer or not. And by all, I mean everyone who sat in an interview with Emma. The recruiter from the initial screening, the two interviewers from the skills interview, and the four interviewers from the two value interviews. They will all have time to discuss their impressions and whether they can see Emma working here. Once the decision is made, we will immediately call Emma and let her know the outcome. In this case, Emma seems like the perfect fit for the advertised position and we make her an offer. If we decided to not make her an offer, again, we would call her and give her detailed feedback.
Your start at Gini
That’s it, the end of the candidate experience you think? Not yet. After all, Emma has not yet started and we want her to feel as excited as possible when she does. This includes inviting her to upcoming events and keeping her up to date on relevant news concerning her team and Gini in general. About a week before her first day at Gini, Emma will get an email from her onboarding buddy explaining to her what to bring and sending her an agenda for her first day. Once she arrives on her first day, she will find her new desk decorated with some sweets and more. In her first week, Emma will get to know all of our different teams, our founder, and our agile coach to go through our handbook to be able to understand our culture wholeheartedly.
Wrapping it up — What you can expect from us
Did you bear with me despite the long explanations? In case you are just too excited to apply at Gini right away and did not have the time to read everything in detail, let me give you a short wrap-up: We try to put ourselves in the shoes of the candidate; therefore, we try to be as fast, professional, respectful, and transparent as we possibly can. Ghosting isn’t our thing! Every candidate hears back from us after their application and after each interview step within three working days. Pinky promise. If the candidate had at least one interview with us, we will call them and give them feedback to help them improve as well as let them know of their strengths. During the last process step, the on-site interviews, every candidate gets a buddy to help them find their way around at Gini. We communicate every step of the interview process truthfully to the candidate, and our recruiter is the main point of contact and reachable the entire time. When the process is successful for both sides, every person joining us will get an onboarding buddy to help them in their first days at Gini. We view our way of recruitment as a partnership between the candidate and us. We can both benefit from it, whether it is by it being the perfect match or by giving constructive feedback.
Emma sounded like a great candidate, didn’t she? Do you think, you would be just as good of a fit for Gini, if not better? Come and experience the Gini-treatment first hand. What are you waiting for? You can find our currently open positions here.