Some exciting changes are coming to CommonPlaces, and while we can't announce them all now, we do want you to know that we are anticipating, and already experiencing, growth. If you are an experienced, skilled developer, we'd love to talk to you. This prompted a look back at how the hiring process has changed over the last five years, and particularly how we approach recruitment.
For one thing, there are so many channels to finding an employee today that didn't exist just a few short years ago. Simply going to Monster.com or CareerBuilder doesn't cut it anymore. Now, employers have to consider who they are looking for, and where they are going to be found.
One channel has been the New Hampshire Job Works Program. In today's economy, finding people who have been out of work, who want to work, and have the desire and willingness to be retrained is both gratifying, and good for business. I think of the New Hampshire Job Works as a kind of intern program. Somebody may have certain skills which we think can translate to sales, project management, or marketing. Having the state help fund that training period gives us the time and flexibility to make that a reality.
Social Media has also become a critical tool in the qualification process. LinkedIn is an important element of our search. We check out every candidate's social media footprint. We certainly consider their reach and followers, but also their communities and projects they've been a part of. If they are developers, we look at code they've worked on, and we can see their portfolio. It helps to screen people. If I can see the quality of their work ahead of time, then I'll know that I need to follow up with them. If there's nothing there, that isn't necessarily the end of a candidate's chances, but if that person has work that's worth sharing, it probably is a good idea to include it to avoid wasting each other's time.
In the case of developers, I have standardized pre-screening questions, as I'm not an engineer. I can review these with my team prior to a candidate coming onsite. Then, when they come in, I ask questions that demonstrate the candidate's comfort level with the technology. However, when it comes to evaluating their code samples, I have team members present a problem to see how they solve it. There isn't necessarily a 'right answer', but their thought process needs to be sound. We can teach people Drupal, but we need to know that they understand the fundamentals of programming.
At CommonPlaces, the culture of the team is very important. We want ambition, not stagnancy, so we look at people who have interesting lives outside of work, and who belong to groups and organizations. I think candidates are surprised at the level of involvement the team has in the interview process. Somebody who is going to push the envelope with creativity is going to be very welcome in this environment.
Honestly, I understand the intensity of a job interview. I like to think of myself as an easygoing guy, and I don't want people to feel pressured when they come in to talk to us. My job is to get to know the person, and I try to put them at ease as much as possible. The interview is a courtship, and they need to feel comfortable with the work environment. We have a casual atmosphere at work, so I try to convey that in our discussions. We sit and chat. Attire is casual.
Finally, one of my former coworkers came up with something which has become a tradition. To see how well they think on their feet and throw a bit of a curveball, we'll typically ask a fun question, such as 'How do you kill a zombie?' The answers can be quite entertaining, and you quickly learn who are the B Movie fans.
Growth, promise, and opportunity '- That's our future at CommonPlaces. If you are looking for work, or looking to make a change, we hope your future is equally bright.