How many companies do you know whose CEO conducts all first stage interviews? Is it a clever tactic, intended to intimidate potential candidates?
Not at Techifide. For our founder, Ivan, the most important quality all Techifiders share is the ability to not take themselves too seriously. And he wants to make sure he personally assesses this himself in all prospective applicants, before asking his technical team to spend time appraising development skills.
Of the 20 CVs we receive each week, just 10%, show enough potential to become a Techifide developer. And every one of these successful applicants must first face a video interview with Ivan. Not content with psychometric testing or standard recruiter questionnaires, he wants to see how quickly and how well he can build rapport with someone. Because this will tell him how well they will fit with the rest of his personally-selected team.
So, what are his killer questions? Does he pose complex moral dilemmas and logical challenges?
No. He’s more likely to ask how much you like to work and what you do for fun. The best Techifiders enjoy what they do and often have personal coding projects that they do in their spare time. Football and beer are other common grounds that must be aired thoroughly in daily meetings. There’s much more emphasis on communication by talking, rather than writing, which is unusual in the world of software development.
Like a great football squad, the team responds to Ivan’s honest, motivational coaching. He has high expectations but is the first to recognise when people’s needs aren’t being met by the business. Informed by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, he knows that high performance in the realms of actualisation can only be achieved if practical and psychological security is attended to first. So maintaining a stable environment and transparent communication about business direction are absolute priorities.
With their essential needs met, the team is freer to think creatively and that’s something every candidate needs to demonstrate at first interview: the ability to “think outside the box” and not be constrained by prevailing practices. The real test of mettle is how agile you can be in response to problems – how do you react when things go wrong?
But what is he really looking for? Does he want proof of academic prowess or workaholic determination?
Actually, he’d rather you laughed at his jokes. A sense of humour is essential at Techifide – being too serious or aggressive just won’t work. Polite camaraderie is the most effective way of making yourself heard. He’s looking for realists, not tunnel-vision ambition; friends and family should be more important than work. But there’s no space for stagnating either – everyone at Techifide is constantly learning and updating knowledge. Studying is strongly encouraged and made space for.
What are the red flags? Does a first interview terminate at the mention of childcare?
It’s more likely to terminate at the mention of money. If someone is too focussed on income, they’re not interested enough in the work and can lose track of reality. Techifide pays well, including generous holiday pay, but that’s not why people stay here. They stay for the friendship; for the free-flowing recognition of their talents and achievements; and for the trust: as long as the work is getting done and you’re available when colleagues need you, there’s time and space to attend to personal priorities too.
Of all the people Ivan interviews, only 75% make it through to the technical tests. Code is important and multi-linguists are welcome although Techifide has its fair share of specialists. Passion for one language is great but there’s no space for snobbery or diminishing alternative approaches. Some of our best solutions combine functional programming with object oriented programming principles.
Only if you pass the first stage interview and make Ivan laugh, will you get to meet the lead developers, who’ll put you through your technical paces.