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Creating Winning Teams in Modern Recruitment

Written by:

Mark Stewart is the in-house Certified Public Accountant, an accomplished author and financial media specialist.

Creating Winning Teams in Modern Recruitment

Creating Winning Teams in Modern Recruitment

In this interview with Natalija Trajkovic, an experienced recruiter with a passion for the tech industry, you’ll discover insights into the evolving world of recruitment.

Natalija discusses the critical importance of customizing recruitment strategies for tech companies at different growth phases, the challenges of tech recruitment, and effective candidate sourcing. She also shares her views on creating a candidate-friendly interview process, assessing technical skills alongside cultural fit, and the role of diversity and inclusion in building strong teams.

Furthermore, she shared her perspective on the impact of technology on recruitment, strategies for building global teams in a remote work environment, professional development for advancing in recruitment, and scaling advice for startups.

This interview provides a wealth of knowledge for those looking to refine their recruitment approaches and foster dynamic, inclusive teams.

Career Path

HR – Can you share a little about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in recruiting?

Natalija – I started my career in recruitment back in 2018 while I was finishing my last year of college. Every year, we were supposed to have an internship in a company my college partnered with. The last one was in a recruitment agency. Back then, I had zero knowledge about the industry, and truthfully, I planned to finish the internship and then focus on my studies. But, somehow, I ended up in that same company for three and a half years. I fell in love with recruitment, talking to people, and landing the candidates their dream job at the company they’ve been wanting to be a part of.

Recruitment Philosophy

HR Based on your experience in the tech industry, how crucial is it to tailor recruitment strategies to match the specific growth phases of tech companies?

Natalija – In my experience, tailoring recruitment strategies to match the specific growth phases of tech companies is highly crucial for several reasons:

  • Efficiency and effectiveness — Different growth phases require different approaches to recruitment. Tailoring strategies ensures that resources are allocated effectively and that efforts are focused on areas that will yield the best results
  • Alignment with company goals — Recruitment strategies should align with the overall goals and objectives of the company. By adapting strategies to match growth phases, recruiters can ensure that they are helping the company scale appropriately and meet its targets
  • Competitive advantage — In the tech industry, competition for top talent is fierce. Tailoring recruitment strategies can give companies a competitive edge by allowing them to attract and retain the best candidates for each stage of growth
  • Cultural fit — As companies grow, their culture and team dynamics evolve. Recruitment strategies should take these changes into account to ensure that new hires are a good cultural fit and can contribute effectively to the team
  • Scalability — Tech companies often experience rapid growth, which can strain existing recruitment processes. Tailoring strategies to match growth phases enables companies to scale their hiring efforts more efficiently and effectively
  • Retention and succession planning — Hiring the right people at each stage of growth is essential for long-term success. Tailored recruitment strategies can help identify candidates who are not only qualified for current roles but also have the potential to grow with the company and take on leadership positions in the future

Challenges in Tech Recruiting

HR What are some universal challenges in recruiting for tech companies, and how can recruiters effectively overcome these challenges?

Natalija – Recruiting for tech companies involves facing several universal challenges, including high demand for tech talent, evolving technology landscape, diversity and inclusion, retention of top talent, technical assessments and screening, and remote work and global talent.

To overcome these challenges, recruiters can implement strategies such as building strong employer brands, staying updated with industry trends, fostering diversity and inclusion, focusing on candidate fit, partnering with technical experts, leveraging remote hiring processes, and promoting cultural sensitivity.

By addressing these challenges proactively and implementing effective recruitment strategies, recruiters can build high-performing teams that drive innovation and growth in tech companies.

Candidate Sourcing

HR How do you approach sourcing candidates for unique roles at innovative companies, and what tools or platforms do you find most effective?

Natalija – Sourcing candidates for unique roles at innovative companies requires a strategic approach. Key steps include defining target audience and job requirements, utilizing niche job boards and platforms, tapping into professional networks, attending industry events, leveraging social media and content marketing, encouraging employee referrals, and utilizing AI-powered recruitment tools.

This comprehensive approach, which involves both online and offline strategies, helps recruiters identify and attract top talent for specialized and innovative positions.

Interview Process

HR What interview strategies do you believe contribute to a thorough yet candidate-friendly process?

Natalija – Creating a thorough yet candidate-friendly interview process, in my opinion, is very important because, in these several steps, you are representing the company. Candidates might drop off the process because the process hasn’t been handled professionally yet with a humanized approach. 

  • Provide candidates with clear information about the interview process, including the format, duration, and expectations for each stage. Transparent communication helps candidates feel more prepared and reduces anxiety during the interview process
  • Develop a structured interview framework with predefined criteria and questions tailored to assess the candidate’s skills, experiences, and cultural fit. Structured interviews provide consistency across candidates and help evaluate them objectively based on relevant criteria
  • Design interviews to be interactive and engaging, allowing candidates to actively participate and showcase their skills and experiences. Use a mix of behavioral, situational, and technical questions to assess different aspects of the candidate’s capabilities and potential fit for the role
  • Foster two-way communication and encourage candidates to ask questions and share their perspectives throughout the interview. This demonstrates that the company values their input and is committed to mutual engagement and transparency
  • Create an inclusive and respectful interview environment where candidates feel valued, respected, and comfortable expressing themselves. Avoid biased or discriminatory questions and behaviors, and ensure that interviewers are trained in diversity and inclusion best practices
  • Provide candidates with timely and constructive feedback following each stage of the interview process, regardless of the outcome. Feedback helps candidates understand areas for improvement and demonstrates the company’s commitment to transparency and professional development
  • Be flexible and accommodating to candidates’ needs, including scheduling preferences, accessibility requirements, and accommodations for candidates with disabilities or special circumstances. Accommodating candidates’ needs demonstrates empathy and respect for their circumstances
  • Personalize the interview process based on the candidate’s background, interests, and career goals. Show genuine interest in the candidate as an individual and customize the interview experience to align with their preferences and aspirations

Number of Interviews

HR What is the optimal number of interviews typically needed to effectively assess and hire a candidate?

Natalija – It can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the role, the specific requirements of the job, the organization’s hiring process, etc. However, the optimal number is between three and five interview stages. 

Candidate Evaluation

HR How do you structure your evaluation process to accurately assess a candidate’s technical skills and cultural fit within a limited number of interviews?

Natalija – To structure the evaluation process efficiently within a limited number of interviews:

  1. Start with pre-interview assessments to measure technical skills and cultural fit
  2. Conduct an initial screening interview to assess basic qualifications and interests
  3. Schedule technical interviews to evaluate technical proficiency with coding exercises and problem-solving challenges
  4. Conduct behavioral interviews to assess cultural fit, communication, and collaboration skills
  5. Arrange panel/team interviews to allow interaction with potential colleagues and gain diverse perspectives
  6. Hold a final interview with senior leaders to make the hiring decision and address any remaining concerns

Diversity and Inclusion

HR How important do you consider diversity and inclusion within the recruitment process?

Natalija – Diversity and inclusion (D&I) within the recruitment process are crucial for driving innovation, improving decision-making, enhancing employee engagement and retention, building a positive employer brand, ensuring legal compliance, accessing diverse talent pools, and aligning with organizational values. Prioritizing D&I in recruitment is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic business imperative for organizations.

Recruitment Metrics

HR What metrics or KPIs do you believe are most crucial in measuring the success of recruitment efforts?

Natalija – Key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial for measuring the success of recruitment efforts, including time-to-fill, quality of hire, cost-per-hire, source of hire, offer acceptance rate, candidate experience and satisfaction, diversity metrics, retention rate, recruiter efficiency metrics, and hiring manager satisfaction.

Tracking and analyzing these metrics help recruiters assess recruitment effectiveness, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize the recruitment process and achieve organizational goals.

Technology in Recruitment

HR How has the role of technology and data analytics evolved in recruitment, and what impact do they have on improving processes and outcomes?

Natalija – The role of technology and data analytics in recruitment has evolved significantly, transforming processes and outcomes.

Key impacts include improved candidate sourcing, streamlined applicant tracking, enhanced candidate assessment, data-driven decision-making, predictive analytics, enhanced candidate experience, and facilitation of remote hiring.

By leveraging technology and data analytics, recruiters can optimize processes, make more informed decisions, and improve overall recruitment effectiveness.

Talent Retention

HR Beyond hiring, what strategies do you recommend for ensuring the retention of high-value employees in dynamic sectors like tech and scale-ups?

Natalija – Retaining high-value employees in dynamic sectors like tech and scale-ups requires a proactive and holistic approach. From my experience, I think there are several strategies that every company should implement if they want their employee retention to be at the highest level. 

  1. Provide opportunities for career advancement, skill development, and continuous learning. Offer mentorship programs, training workshops, and opportunities to work on challenging projects to support employees’ professional growth and development
  2. Offer flexible work arrangements (flexibility in work hours, remote work options, and flexible scheduling) to accommodate employees’ work-life balance needs. Flexibility has become increasingly important, especially in the tech industry, where remote work is often feasible
  3. Recognize and reward employees for their contributions and achievements. Implement employee recognition programs, performance bonuses, and other incentives to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication
  4. Promote a positive work environment characterized by open communication, collaboration, and inclusivity. Encourage teamwork, transparency, and respect among team members, and actively promote diversity and inclusion initiatives
  5. Prioritize employee well-being by offering wellness programs, mental health resources, and support services. Provide access to resources such as employee assistance programs, counseling services, and stress management workshops to support employees’ physical and mental health
  6. Offer competitive salaries, bonuses, and benefits packages to attract and retain top talent. Ensure that compensation is regularly reviewed and adjusted to remain competitive within the industry
  7. Invest in leadership development and provide managers with the training and support they need to effectively lead and manage their teams. Encourage open communication, regular feedback, and coaching to help employees feel supported and engaged
  8. Ensure that employees are engaged in meaningful work that aligns with their values and career aspirations. Clearly communicate the company’s mission, vision, and goals, and show how each employee’s contributions contribute to the overall success of the organization
  9. Conduct regular performance reviews and provide constructive feedback to help employees understand their strengths, areas for improvement, and growth opportunities. Encourage ongoing dialogue between employees and managers to foster continuous improvement and development
  10. Conduct exit interviews with departing employees to understand their reasons for leaving and identify areas for improvement in retention strategies. Analyze turnover data and trends to identify patterns and proactively address retention challenges

Remote and Global Hiring

HR With the rise of remote work, how should companies adapt their recruitment strategies to build effective global teams?

Natalija – Companies need to adapt their recruitment strategies to build effective global teams.

This involves embracing remote work, implementing virtual recruitment processes, highlighting remote work culture, fostering cultural sensitivity, offering flexible work arrangements, investing in technology, focusing on communication skills, organizing team buildings, and prioritizing regular check-ins and feedback for remote team members.

These strategies enable companies to attract and retain top talent from diverse locations, driving productivity and success in today’s interconnected world.

Professional Development

HR What are some key areas of professional development you recommend to recruiters looking to advance in their careers?

Natalija – For recruiters looking to advance in their careers, focusing on key areas of professional development is essential.

These areas include staying updated with industry trends and developing strong technical skills. Equally important is mastering candidate sourcing and engagement and improving interviewing and assessment skills.

Enhancing communication and relationship-building skills are also vital. A deep understanding of employment law and compliance, coupled with leadership and management skill development, sets a solid foundation.

By investing in these areas, recruiters can enhance their expertise, expand their opportunities, and advance their careers in the recruitment industry.

Advice for Companies on Scaling

HR What critical advice would you offer to startups looking to scale their teams effectively?

Natalija – My advice for startups looking to scale their teams effectively would be that they should:

  • Clearly define your talent strategy — hiring needs, roles, and responsibilities based on your business objectives and growth plans. Identify key skill sets and competencies required for each role to ensure alignment with your company’s goals and culture
  • Emphasize cultural fit and alignment with your company values during the hiring process. Look for candidates who not only possess the required skills and experience but also demonstrate a passion for your mission and a willingness to contribute to your company culture
  • Implement efficient and streamlined recruitment processes to attract, assess, and onboard talent quickly. Leverage technology, automation, and applicant tracking systems (ATS) to streamline sourcing, screening, and candidate management workflows
  • Expand your talent search beyond traditional channels and tap into multiple talent pools, including online job boards, professional networks, social media platforms, and industry-specific communities. Consider leveraging remote work and flexible arrangements to access a broader talent pool
  • Encourage employee referrals and incentivize current team members to refer qualified candidates. Employee referrals are often a cost-effective and reliable source of high-quality talent who are likely to fit well within your company’s culture
  • Build a strong employer brand to attract top talent and differentiate your startup from competitors. Showcase your company culture, values, and mission through your website, social media channels, and employer branding initiatives to attract and retain top talent
  • Develop a comprehensive onboarding program to support new hires’ transition into your company and set them up for success. Provide training, mentorship, and ongoing support to help new employees integrate into the team and quickly become productive contributors
  • Offer opportunities for career growth and development to retain top talent and foster employee engagement. Provide training, professional development programs, and opportunities for advancement to support employees’ career aspirations and personal growth
  • Remain flexible and agile in your hiring approach to adapt to changing market conditions and business needs. Be prepared to pivot quickly, scale up or down as needed, and adjust your hiring strategy based on feedback and performance metrics
  • Continuously monitor and evaluate your hiring processes, metrics, and outcomes to identify areas for improvement. Collect feedback from candidates, hiring managers, and team members to iterate and refine your recruitment strategies for greater effectiveness