real team photo sitting at computer

- 12/05/2014


How We Hire: What It Means to Hire as a Team

This interview originally appeared on Medium.

Meet Rotem Israel, she’s responsible for finding and recruiting all the talented employees at SumAll and has taken the time to talk about it with us at Workable.

SumAll is a NYC startup specializing in data analytics for all the social media platforms used by SMEs. SumAll integrates with 40+ platforms including Shopify, Paypal, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. SumAll’s goal is to allow customers to view all of their data in one simple, easy-to-use, visualization to help them do what they love, better.

Our team is currently 45 people with plans to double in size by middle of next year. I joined SumAll as the Head of Talent two months ago, in order to find the best talent and help the company scale. I have always worked in startups and believe that everyone should work at a startup at some point in their career. It’s challenging but at the same time exciting and satisfying.

It’s sometimes hard to know when is the right time, what made SumAll decide to hire a full-time HR person?

It was a proactive decision to hire a full time HR person rather than a reaction to being too busy. The company could support recruiting on their own, but not scale as quickly in the way they wanted to. I’m also in charge of their candidates’ interviews and the on-boarding processes.

What’s your on-boarding process like?

Our on-boarding period lasts 45 days and consist of 3 main pillars:

(1) A trial project, which is assigned to the new hire on his or hers first week by his or her “tour guide.” They’re also assigned a trial committee, which is two additional team members, to ensure that they’re set up for success. This means they always have familiar faces to go to with questions or concerns. Everyone knows the first few weeks at a new job can be scary so we give them people they know they can go to.

(2) A culture aspect to make sure the new hires are aware of and aligned with the SumAll’s values and goals — which includes self-initiative, freedom, transparency, and openness to express new ideas. We make sure they can make their own unique impression on the company from the get-go.

(3) An admin layer to make sure they are aware of their benefits, vacation policies, and other logistical needs.

How do you use Workable in your hiring?

We use it to centralize our recruiting efforts. It’s a great tool that shows you where candidates are in the process, and keeps all the feedback in one place.

Everyone on the team has the ability to check in on the recruitment process, leave feedback after an interview, and make sure no candidates fall behind or lose time. Workable is also great for easily following up with prospective candidates — I tag them as “#followup” and keep track of them later. It’s also a great tool to manage my team’s interview schedules so that one person doesn’t get overloaded.

Our recipe for success is to delegate the hiring process. We make sure that several team members can interview a candidate on the same day so both the candidate and their team don’t waste time. It also ensures that one interviewer isn’t getting overloaded! You can monitor your team’s schedule and send out calendar invites through Workable.

What are some of your toughest challenges in hiring?

Our main challenge is similar to most tech companies: hiring engineers. NYC is a competitive environment, and a classic challenge of supply and demand for all levels of engineering.

A challenge unique to SumAll is finding the best cultural fit. We’re about full transparency and freedom. From the first day, you have to take the lead and show progress. There is no micro-management. We’re looking for people who are professionals in their field, but also can also go the extra mile, and don’t mind having their hands in multiple projects and initiatives.

We have a unique culture, and not everyone wants it or thrives in it, but once we find the person who fits our culture, that person will have an exquisite and unique professional and personal experience working at SumAll.

When hiring for cultural fit, gut feelings can be misleading. Instead, ask the right questions and listen carefully. Find out about the candidate’s past to learn more about their potential future role in the company.

Suggested questions: what projects you do in your free time, how did you face a challenge at work, what are your hobbies, what do you like about your current workplace, what would you have done differently if you went back to your current job again?

What are your top 3 tips on hiring for someone just getting started?

Engage your team — let them know what you’re looking for. Recruitment is everyone’s responsibility. Get the team to go to interesting meetups/conferences and make sure they are part of the right networks.

Listen carefully in interviews. Recruiters tend to over-talk and try to sell the company too much. Good recruiters listen and understand. It’s a great life skill too!

Be patient. Whether it’s sourcing, interviewing, or the final stages of the process — they all take time and can be tiring. Don’t be discouraged! Take a deep breath.