Finding the right people for your company is one of the most pressing concerns for all founders. A good team is the backbone of every venture, brain and muscle behind every product, so it’s no wonder that companies put a lot of effort into expanding their teams with the best the market has to offer.
With the ongoing war for talent, tech companies are constantly struggling to find new ways of luring candidates in and keeping them once they are on board. Things like competitive salaries, flexible working hours, game rooms, catering, etc., have become the norm and are not something that will attract and retain great people.
This is how we stand out
At SpiceFactory, our top priority has always been to build the strongest team possible. We’ve lived by this principle and made sure not to let the pressure of the business override our high standards for hiring engineers. In practice, this means that we have not taken any projects the existing team cannot handle and that growing for growth’s sake isn’t our thing.
Over the years, we have developed a system based on our core company values that a) organically attracts the right people and b) helps us vet potential hires. Sure, we’ve had a few mismatches but this is nothing compared to what’s standard in our industry.
So, it’s safe to say that our secret to hiring and retaining great software engineers is knowing what drives them. In short, at SpiceFactory everyone has:
- Autonomy to do their best work
- Resources they need to achieve their goals
- Ample space to grow
We provide this to every team member because our goal is to motivate people to stick around. And we’re happy that our turnover is extremely low - when people join SpiceFactory, they stay. Cultivating this sense of belonging in the era of job-hopping is, perhaps, our biggest achievement as a company.
It is hard to hone down on one specific thing that enabled this success, but we’ll try and break it down to a couple of most probable ones.
Value fit, not culture fit
Most technology companies have at one point or another been guilty of biased hiring. These things sometimes creep in without people even noticing; maybe due to implicit egotism and reflect bias, maybe just because you don’t want to deal with new unknowns in already unstable conditions, but it is a mistake nevertheless.
You start bringing in people who are just like everyone else on your team - they have the same education, similar background, they even sound the same and look the same. In time, you have a company full of people who approach problems in the same way, think inside the same box, have similar soft skills, etc.
And this is what most companies call a “culture fit”.
The better way to define a good fit for any business is in relation to company values. We briefly mentioned earlier that we’ve developed a hiring system based on our core values, which are:
- Made with love
- Team play
- Constant improvement
- Be the change you want to see
These values define how people in our company behave, how they ‘play’ with team members, and how they make decisions. It is based on the common thread of professional and life’s principles we seek in everyone we work with.
We want each new team member who joins us to embody those values because, when they do, they’re a natural fit and they quickly start feeling at home. Plus, we can be confident that they will contribute positively to our company in their own unique way.
New hires need to be ready to learn and step in to help others, and take ownership of being one of the best in their field. If they lack this readiness, then we’re simply not a good match.
Hiring and retaining software engineers
It was important for us to build internal recruitment and hiring capacities and the first step towards achieving that had a lot to do with the image we project on the market through our services, products, people, network, public appearances, etc. First you hear about us, then you want to work with/for us. The second step was getting the engineering team involved in the interviewing process.
When it comes to making hiring decisions, we’ve learned to trust our instincts, and knowing when to hire is as important as knowing when not to. And when it comes to retention, we’ve learned early on that a company needs to help people meet their individual expectations - identify what they’re really good at and build on that potential.
Not everyone is motivated by the same things. That is why our leadership team takes the time to have regular 1 on 1s with everyone to understand what inspires and motivates them. Feedback is a two-way street and must not fall on deaf ears, since the progress of the entire company may depend on that conversation.
Engineers on our team are brilliant and creative, but what’s more important is that they have the right soft skills and personal values that enable them to really thrive here. Because no matter how talented someone is, if they demonstrate a lack of empathy, they won’t be a good fit.
Our developers always look for new opportunities to learn and be challenged and we do our best to provide those opportunities. We know that the biggest attrition risk is a bored developer so we don’t ever let boredom creep in. We fight it by fostering diversity of opinion, different approaches to problem-solving, behavioural and intellectual variety. We believe that this way we’re creating a laboratory of success and a breeding ground for new solutions.
So, on that note: We’re hiring!