client review


On the advantages of a remote team for a startup in its early stage of life, on hiring by Zoom and a human approach to business
Stepan S.

How did you meet Hi, Rockits! and when did it happen?

I met the Hi, Rockits! team somewhere in October 2020. My company has been looking for an engineer for the team, and we had vacancies at a job site. And one day Rastis wrote to me a personal message thru the site's DM. To be honest, I usually don't answer recruiters and recruiting agencies when they write, but in this case I decided to answer for some reason. He wrote, let's say, a very 'human' message and we started a conversation about the services of your company.

At that time, we already had candidates coming. We even took one for a test period, and therefore with Hi, Rockits! we didn't start right away. But after some time, the person whom we found left us for certain reasons, and it became even more urgent for us to find a new one, because the deadlines were already running out. And by that time we began to understand better who we need.

It so happened that Rastis DM'ed me again, and did it at the very right moment, when everything was already on fire (in terms of urgency) on or side.

As far as I know, you and Rastis did not even hear each others voice, all the communication was in messages and emails. What made his messages so special that you thought you should work with him and trust the Hi, Rockits team?

There are a large number of recruiters and agencies who write as formulaically as possible. If I open LinkedIn, there will be probably 10 messages for the last month, and they all look the same: 'Hi! We are the best company in the world, we will find you any employee cheaply and you will be happy!'

You read it and you understand that they sent the same message to 10,000 more contacts besides you. And their profiles and messages, to be honest, look like some kind of scam quite often.

Rastis just wrote me a message with a personal approach that made me feel I'm unique. And he also has an unusual avatar.

How long have you been looking for by that time?

We were looking for about 3-4 weeks. As I understand it, by the standards of the market, this is not very long, but by our standards, it was already too much.

The case in numbers

Senior Golang-developer
Position closed in 4 weeks
8 resumes
8 resumes were chosen by our recruiters to show to the client
6 interviews
The client chose six resumes of the candidates with whom he would like to talk
1 job offer
One of six was given a job offer
1 offer accepted
1 job offer = 1 offer accepted

Do you have an internal recruiter or an HR?

No, we have no internal recruiter.

I try to participate in hiring at the first stages for all positions.

How do we usually do it? When a new department appears, and a lead or head of the department appears in it, it is important for me to hire the first two or three people together with this head of the department. It is important for me to show and discuss with examples what I like and what worries me, what I am not sure about the candidates. We do the interview and immediately call each other and share our thoughts. This way we get the complete picture of how we see the candidate and better understanding of how our employee should look like.

We do not hire people only for hard skills. Soft-skills are the main thing. It may be hard to describe it in text, policy or anything like that, but we started to write such document not so long ago. It works better when you have examples to rely on. For us, at least.

Did you have any specifics in terms of requirements for a person?

Yes, we were looking for a person with a good set of skills in Golang and a good understanding of network protocols. I should say that there are not many specialists of that kind in the market. GO-devs in general are quite hot staff, not to mention GO-dev with experience of working on low-level protocols.

As far as I know, you have a distributed team, and you don't have an physical office as such, do you?

Of course we have a legal address under which the company is registered. But all employees work remotely, there is no such office in which people are coming.

Is this some kind of an ultimate position for you? Did you originally want to build a company that way? Or did it just happen?

In fact, SOAX is not the first company that I built completely remotely. I had experience with two more such teams. And yes, almost all of my experience is related to the building of remote teams, so somehow this was not even a question. We immediately decided that there are more pros in a distributed team than cons, especially in the first two or three years of the start-up company.

Can you list these advantages, at least the main ones that you highlight for yourself?

Probably the main advantage is that we are not limited to the region when it comes to talent search. In our business it is always very important to find the best people possible, and if we impose any restrictions such as location, for example, and start looking for people in the certain city, then the circle of candidates would be significantly narrowed. We have most of the team working from various regions and even from different countries.

Another benefit is that this distribution gives greater flexibility, allows you to spend the budget more efficiently, including the salary fund.

Many people see the advantage of remote work in that they can receive a competitive salary, staying in a place where it is more comfortable for you to live, you are not tied to the company's office.

When the work was started and our recruiters asked questions about the company and the position, was there anything in communication with them that made you understand that they are cool guys and you feel comfortable working with them?

I just don't hang out with people who don't seem cool to me.
In the case of the Hi, Rockits! team I had no doubts about the qualifications of recruiters. Everything was as clear and professional as possible.
The first candidates were shown to us, I think, within a few days, during the first week for sure.

And how close were these first shown candidates to what you needed?

They were very close.

There were guys who we liked right away, but we didn't hire them because we were looking for, let's say, the perfect match. And the perfect one appeared somewhere in the second or third run.

But those guys from the first run, we also liked them. We simply were confident that we could find better ones.

What life hacks help you evaluate a candidate at the time of the first meeting?

Usually I look at CV and at social networks of a candidate to get a better understanding of him as a person.

While working with you there were also great comments from the recruiter, who previously talk to the candidates and summed up the main info in the cover letter.

In addition to technical skills, do you try to highlight some soft skills for yourself, without which you understand that the person is clearly not yours?

Probably, first of all, openness is important to us.

We need people who have internal motivation. This motivation can be different, but it is important for me to understand this motivation of a person.

And probably as a consequence of those two, we want to work with those who don't need to be micromanaged. We prefer people who work more with their heads than with their hands. This applies to any position at any level in our company. It is very important to me that people can make decisions on their own, even if these decisions turn out to be wrong later. It's just important to draw the right conclusions so these mistakes won't happen again in the future. It seems to me that the following thing is very important: any system (and a person can also be called a system) is characterized not by an error, but by a reaction to an error.

It's cool when you, as a leader, understand that this person, your employee, can soberly assess the situation and draw conclusions from it. Both from a positive situation and from a negative one. Although, in fact, I think it is much more difficult to draw conclusions from a positive experience than from a negative one.

How can you understand in the course of a conversation (and in your case it is most often Skype or Zoom) whether a person has this ability to make decisions without micromanagement?

Every case is unique.

We do not give theoretical situations about our product, about our company or about our market. We speak on some abstract topics, but we combine them with some more applied issues from our specifics. And you see much more clearly how a person think when you switch between different topics, when you first ask him or her some purely technical questions, and then you ask him/her to share his/hers thoughts on a topic like: 'What do you think, how does a good leader differ from a bad one?' Or 'What is the difference between a team lead and an engineer?'

We can also give some logic puzzles.

Do you practice tests?

It depends on the candidate and the position.

In most cases, we do not give test tasks as such for technical positions. Nine times out of ten, everything becomes clear from the conversation.

Can you describe your experience with Hi, Rockits?

Everything was very friendly. I did not experience any discomfort while working with the guys.

The only thing that bothers me, is that maybe your guys were offended by me, because I replied with certain delays. It happens that I cannot answer a message from a recruiter for several days. Often this is due to the fact that my phone is simply bursting with notifications, and in order not to forget to answer, I mark the message as unread and then a couple of times a week I try to answer them all.

Was there something that you especially liked about Hi, Rockits!, that made you think, oh, it's a pity that not everyone works like that?

I would really like if everyone work like you guys do.

It would be cool, of course, if your services were a bit cheaper. Before that, we only worked with freelance recruiters, and with them we hired people several times cheaper. But the minus of freelancers is that their motivation is fickle, and the result is very unpredictable. Self-employed recruiters usually work part-time, and by doing part-time work, they are less focused and less motivated to find a really good specialist for a client.
You managed to close the position very quickly and very efficiently. On one hand, I got a lot of questions from the shareholders about that bill we paid to you. On the other hand, we found a person we were looking for a very long time, and the time that we saved, and the value that we received for the product, for the company from his arrival, are definitely higher than the agency fee we paid to you.
Thanks to your team. And say hello to everyone!
About the client
SOAX is the software company and provider of residential and mobile reverse connection proxy servers for web data collection, competitor analysis, SEO, search results analysis, etc. We are proud of our team of highly qualified specialists in the field of design, management and development of proxy architecture, which is able to offer customized solutions for specific client needs.

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