Hiring with a smile

Hiring great people is hard, hiring great people with great team fit is harder.  We recently ran a recruitment for a web operations engineer – it took us six months to find the right person. I think our problems boiled down to:

  • Highlighting the most important skills in the job description (we had too much “nice to have’s” in there)
  • Communicating our team culture

Most IT teams find it really hard to pre-qualify applicants on that thing called “culture”. Halfway through this particular recruitment process, I decided to tweak (read overhaul) the ad, I also introduced a line which tried to communicate some of our team culture:


After the changes, ~40% of people made it through the initial CV sift  …great pre-overhaul it was ~25%.

Also something else, unexpected happened.  Every single candidate mentioned the line about smiling when things aren’t going well. Most could really relate to this and in some cases the person went on to elaborated on a disaster story – which is one of my fave ops interview questions!

This line made the advert less dry and in the end helped root out those flexible and self motivated people that you love to see in any team.

Footnote: the “ability to smile…” was in the must have section of the job advert

  • Tam

    Couldn’t agree more. Great post Rich.