Our Recruitment Process
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Our Recruitment Process
Sushila De Silva

Our Recruitment Process

17 min read - Last updated Mar 16, 2018

Creating a Job

Before we jump into the hiring process let’s discuss how you post a job. We use Recruitee to manage all our Jobs. Jump onto Recruitee and create a new job that we’re hiring for. We have a very specific format that we follow when creating a job description. Your best bet to is either jump into the archived jobs and clone a job or jump into the Google Drive folder where we store all our job descriptions.

If you need some tips on how to write solid job descriptions - head over to Workable. They have really good templates that can be used as a great guideline.

Our Recruitment Process

This is how we recruit incredible people to the Esanjo team. This will eventually layout our entire recruitment process and is meant to be a guide for our internal People Ops team. At this point it is a work in progress and we will keep adding to it until it is complete.

Pre-screening and evaluation

Every candidate has to answer four questions on the application form. Check those first. Immediately disqualify anyone who has left the fields blank or written something totally irrelevant there. Recruitee will ask you for the disqualification reason so be sure to use the correct one.

Pay attention to the answers we’ve asked for in the application. Especially where we’ve asked for a description and invited the candidate to feel free to get in-depth. One sentence is just not going to cut it. It means they’ve no interest in explaining or just don’t have the experience to do so.

Short answers however do not necessarily mean the candidate is not a fit for the job. Be intuitive.

Check for plagiarism! Do a quick Google search on the technical question/s. Anyone can copy paste. This is not what we’re looking for. Sometimes plagiarism is evident in a difference of writing style from the other answers the applicant did but not always! Check anyway - take one or even two sentences. Keep in mind that sometimes the answer will inevitably be the same and there are only so many ways to write it. Give the applicant the benefit of the doubt. A word for word match though is not acceptable. We reject people who plagiarise.

Do a quick run through of the cover letter and CV. Does the candidate have the required experience and do they fit the general profile that we are looking for in this particular role? Check carefully because sometimes it is not immediately obvious - it depends on how well the CV is prepared. Disqualify anyone who doesn’t have the basic requirements i.e. a civil engineer applying for a software engineering role, or a university graduate with no work experience applying for something that needs at least three years of it.

Check the answers, cover letter and CV more carefully. Is there anything that stands out? Is there anything that concerns you? Are there spelling and grammar mistakes? If the applicant has answered all the questions well, has the experience we’re looking for and has a well laid out, well written cover letter and CV move on to the evaluation.

In the pre-phone screen evaluation you will rate the applicant on their answers, cover letter, CV and written English. You will consider how well the applicant wrote, whether their answers and CV were well written in terms of vocabulary, formatting and language including grammar and spellings. You will also consider whether the cover letter was generic or custom written for Esanjo and the job role applied for. Responses range from ‘No’ to ‘Strong yes’.

You will be answering questions on all areas of the application. Was there anything outstanding in the answers, cover letter or CV? Make sure your notes are detailed enough to be clear to the others on the recruiting team what you are basing your evaluation on.

Finally make your evaluation score and write a summary of why you made this decision. Don’t forget to mention both the pros and the cons if there are any. If you’ve given the applicant a score of ‘Yes’ or above they become a candidate and are pushed through to phone screen. If you’ve given them a score of ‘Not sure’ leave them where they are and make a note to the recruiting Lead for the final decision. In both cases don’t forget to ping the person doing the next step!

Merging profiles on Recruitee

You may find Recruitee picking up similar profiles and inviting you to merge them. This could be because two or more candidates have the same name or one person has applied several times either for this or another job role.

Check each profile and, if the contact details are the same, merge them.

This gives us the applicant’s recruitment history and helps us decide whether to move the application forward or not. For example, someone may have applied earlier for a job role they were not qualified for or re-applied for the same job role with better answers, cover letter and/ or updated CV. On the other hand, we may have already phone screened or interviewed the applicant and decided to reject them. The reason for disqualification will be in the notes and based on that we can make the decision on whether to disqualify the applicant from the present role or consider them for it.

The phone screen

The phone screen, or in the case of remote candidates the online screening, is our first contact with the candidate. The questions are simple but we look at more than just the answers themselves. The way in which the candidates answer is just as important. Are the answers consistent? Have they made an effort to prepare for a possible phone screen? Did they do any in-depth checks on the job role and the company? What questions do they ask? How enthusiastic are they? Do they have the correct attitude?

The ability to communicate is incredibly important. We work as a team and so need to be able to communicate clearly with each other especially in a remote environment. If a candidate has trouble understanding the questions, answers a different question than asked, or does not have sufficient vocabulary to answer we already have a problem. The ability to communicate clearly - understand and be understood - is essential. Drop anyone who can’t right now regardless of the rest of their qualifications.

Let the candidate know why you’re calling and how long the phone screen will take. Be flexible - it may not be a good time for them so if they’re not immediately available schedule a better time that works for both of you. Be prepared to go the extra mile because some candidates are only available outside of normal working hours or may be in a completely different time zone than you.

The questions

The basic questions are what, why, when, how much, and do you have any questions for us?

What

We ask the candidate to give us a brief history of their career and what kind of work they’ve been doing so far. This allows us to assess communication skills, consistency of information (compared to their CVs and other comments they make), confidence, and their own knowledge of their skills and the jobs they’ve been doing so far.

Look out for what they focus on and how. A candidate who mumbles through their CV is not a strong candidate. A candidate who ties their experience and skill into our job’s requirements is.

Use this opportunity to clarify information from the candidates’ CVs. For example, find out why they’ve never stayed longer than four months at a job, or if they can provide two work related referees if they haven’t done that already. Check whether they are following any courses. These might affect their proposed work schedules or availability on the one hand and on the other be beneficial to the company in the long run.

Take notes. Sometimes candidates will mention interesting things that aren’t in their CVs but have relevance to the job we’re recruiting for or to the work we do in general. Don’t be afraid to pursue something interesting but be sure to keep it short. There will be enough time to go into details if they reach the interview stage.

Why

Find out why the candidate applied for this particular job. If they are making a major career change, find out what led them to this decision. Ask why they chose Esanjo. Make a note of how well they’ve researched the company; whether they’ve just glanced at the website or actually taken the time to read The Esanjo Way. Referrals will know more about our internal culture from the team member who referred them but don’t forget to make sure that they’ve done their background checks as well and are not just relying on what they’ve heard. We want to hire people who are really interested in our company and who are excited about how we do things.

Find out why they are leaving their present job. It will help us understand what motivates them.

When

We need to know when the candidates can start work. Are they available immediately? Do they have a notice period in their current role? The notice period tends to be one month but this can differ from company to company. A longer notice period may affect a candidates application especially if we need to fill the position as soon as possible. On the other hand incredible people are not easy to find. Don’t let the length of the notice period deter your judgment.

This information lets us fix a start date in the event that the candidate is offered the position.

How much

This is a very important question. We need a clear idea of a candidate’s expectations. If a candidate cannot give us a solid figure or persists in being vague then this where their application stops.

Even candidates with absolutely no work experience should have some idea of how much the job pays when they apply. If nothing else they should at least know how much they need to survive.

We do not reveal our remuneration scales or budgets to candidates. The purpose of this question is not to negotiate but to find out exactly how much the candidate really wants. It also lets us know how the candidates value themselves given their skills, training and experience.

The amount we are looking for is the amount that the candidate wants to take home at the end of the month. Esanjo offers a consultancy contract and a fee in USD. There are no additions and no deductions to the amount offered. It is important that candidates are aware of this before they answer. Some locations split remuneration into various allowances and incentives, as in Sri Lanka for example. Don’t forget to explain our contract.

Find out how much candidates presently get. Again it helps us understand how they value themselves; present remuneration vs. expectation.

Remote working experience

Does the candidate have any experience working remotely? If they do, ask them to share their experience. How did they adapt to the challenges? If they don’t have experience ask them how they plan to adapt to working from home. Remote job roles are increasing but some people don’t realise that this literally means that they won’t be reporting in to an office. Remember there is no ‘right’ answer to this question. This question clarifies remote working to the candidate and their answers give us an idea of how they will adapt if they’ve not done it before.

Extras

Some of our positions need a few job specific questions. This is where you add those. Examples include, ‘what tech do you use?’ for engineering candidates, ‘what accounting packages have you used?’ for finance and accounting candidates and, for job roles that will cover 247 ‘do you have a problem working outside of normal office hours/ weekends/ holidays’.

Questions

Don’t forget to ask the candidate if they have any questions for us. Make a note of what they ask and how you answered. If they don’t ask any questions, make a note of that too! Be sure to answer all questions clearly.

Candidates may ask you technical questions that need in-depth answers from an expert. Make a note of these and let the candidate know that if they progress to the next stage they’ll be able to get more detailed information.

Tips

Smile. They can’t see you but they can hear it in your voice. Always be polite.

A phone screen takes 10-15 minutes tops. It shouldn’t run longer than that. A very short phone screen may be a sign that this is the wrong candidate.

Writing up

Don’t forget to write up your phone screen! Use the narrative form and remember that you are writing for people who have, as yet, had no contact with the candidate. Be clear and concise. Write what the candidate told you. If you’ve asked any additional questions, mention them. Was there anything you’d like to add? Go with your gut feeling - was there anything that made you feel the candidate would not be a good fit or was this someone that you would highly recommend for the next stage? Were they enthusiastic or did they show a lack of interest?

Rate their spoken English.

Don’t forget to tag the next person in the process!

Technical review and evaluation

The next step is to determine whether the candidate actually has the practical skills needed to do the job they are applying for. We do this by sending the candidate a technical assessment test and asking them to complete it within a specified time frame. This is not a paid assignment - we won’t be using any of this work for anything other than to evaluate the candidates’ capabilities.

The test

The tests are job specific and created by the department Leads to determine whether the candidate actually has the skills that we’re looking for. Candidates are expected to solve a few real problems that they’ll encounter in their day to day work at Esanjo.

The tests may take the form of a short assignment, a problem that needs to be solved, or even a role playing discussion via Skype. It depends on the skills being tested and the creativity of the person putting the test together.

Every test has some sort of timeline. These can differ as well. Candidates may be asked to complete and return the test on the same day or are given up to three days. We are flexible though and do give candidates the opportunity to extend the completion times and dates. Don’t forget that most of them have full time jobs as well family commitments that they’ll have to work around.

We are looking at how well candidates handle deadlines and their performance. We’re also looking at how they respond and communicate any problems they might face. Are candidates comfortable with asking for clarifications? Do they ask for extensions to the deadline and under what circumstances? At a more basic level are they checking their mail for updates on job applications they’ve made?

Tests are constantly updated and tweaked. Someone may even sneak in a well planned trap to make sure the candidate is an expert in the area under examination.

Follow up

You need to follow up on test related questions and requests for clarifications as soon as possible. Always be polite and provide as much clarity as possible without actually doing the assignment for the candidate.

Evaluation

Once the tests are returned they are checked and evaluated. Candidates do not need to score 100% but they need to show proof that they can do the job and do it well. The method of evaluation depends on the position you are testing for and the test you’ve prepared. Each position will be evaluated differently.

Don’t forget to write up your evaluation. Mention both the plus and the minus points. If you were expecting something specific that did not happen, you need to mention that. If the candidate is not up to the mark but shows great potential, you need to mention that too. You may even recommend them for a junior position or tag them for a future hire.

Finally you need to be clear on whether you’ve given the candidate a pass or a fail. Don’t forget to tag the rest of the recruitment team!

Cultural fit

This is where we determine if the candidate fits into our awesome culture. When you schedule the call, you’ll be inviting the candidate to take a look at our websites and read through our handbook, the Esanjo Way. Make sure they have a couple of days to do this when scheduling.

We use Daily for the screening so that we can see the candidate face to face.

The cultural fit takes the form of a friendly chat. You’ll listen more than talk here. Again there are no right or wrong answers. Remember this is not a test - candidates do not need to know what’s in there word for word, nor do they need to know every single detail. We’re looking at what stood out and what appealed to them. We want to know what kind of people they are and what makes them tick.

You’ll be asking the candidates about four questions; two general and two specific. An example of a general question would be; what did you think of our website and what stood out? A specific question would be; which is your favourite core value? We have a list of questions that you can pick from and even update if you like.

The purpose of the cultural fit is to determine how the candidate would fit in and work with the other team members. Would they be able to adapt to the way we work and would they enjoy the way we work? Would we enjoy working with them? Do they share the same work ethic and values? Do they sound like they’d bring something positive to the team and enrich everyone’s working experience?

If you’re not quite sure the candidate is a match or if they don’t answer in depth, throw in a few more questions just to be sure. Remember not everyone likes to talk a lot and this doesn’t mean that they’re not a good fit. Everyone is different so be adaptable. Some candidates are really excited about what they’ve read and have a lot to say. You may find that they’re answering your questions before you’ve even asked them! Others may not be not so verbal. The idea is to focus on what they’re saying rather than how they’re saying it.

Don’t forget to ask if the candidate has any questions, comments or suggestions. They usually do but if they don’t, it doesn’t mean that they’re not a good fit.

If you think a candidate has too many ‘obvious’ questions it means they either haven’t taken the time to read through the information properly or haven’t understood what’s up there. Clearly these candidates are not a fit.

The cultural fit screening should take about the same time as a phone screen - 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t be surprised though if it runs a bit longer. Be flexible but if it runs longer than 20 minutes, politely let the candidate know their time is up. You can invite candidates to email you any further questions they might have.

Don’t forget to write up the screening, if not immediately, then as soon as possible after. You can use any format but it helps to quote some of the candidate’s actual words. This will give the others in the recruitment team a better idea of the person’s character.

Finally if you think the candidate isn’t a good fit remember to say why. Go with your gut feeling. If there was something that sounded off or something the candidate let slip that didn’t feel right mention it even if you’re pushing the person forward. It will allow the recruitment team to follow up in more detail during the next stage.

Don’t forget to tag the rest of the team!

Rejection

Unfortunately not everyone makes it but once the candidate has reached phone screen and points beyond, you need to let them know at the very earliest if they’re not being considered for the next step. This is only fair as it allows candidates to move on and look at other options and opportunities.

We have different templates for the rejection email depending on which step the candidate is disqualified from. Select the correct one from the templates and send it out to them. Once you’ve sent the candidate the email, select the disqualify option and choose the reason from the list. If you’ve not already mentioned the reason in detail in your notes, you need to do that now.

Some candidates, in fact most of them, will respond to your rejection email in one way or another. Most of them will ask you to share the reason for your decision as a learning experience in order to improve their chances in future job applications.

We do offer to provide in-depth feedback if candidates need it from the Review stage onwards. Unfortunately we do not yet have the time and resources to provide feedback for any of the stages before that.