How we hire new SOUTHIES

Recruiting at SOUTHWORKS Part 1

Our recruitment process at SOUTHWORKS is all about encouraging our teams to find the right people for them. This bottom-up philosophy means that whenever we have new opportunities or need to grow one of our teams, the person in charge of that process – the Architect – builds the team with the required roles and seniority.

There are three things we ask our hiring managers to ensure when considering new hires – that they’re technically proficient, that they can speak and write comfortably in English (which is our company’s operating language), and that the team they’re being hired for feels comfortable working with them. We’re flexible on how they do this as we want the process to be tailored for each hiring team and the roles they’re hiring for, but generally it will involve a technical exercise, a language assessment, and an interview with the part/whole team. The outcome is what’s important to us, so we focus on the “what” and leave the “how” up to them.

Because roles open up in response to new projects, or team members moving on to another SOUTHWORKS team or a different company, new recruits know who they’ll be working with and what they’ll be doing from day one. Once they’re in the door, they stick with the team that hired them for 3–6 months. Although new projects come up daily, before offering new hires opportunities to spread their wings we want them to get settled in the company with the certainty that they won’t get moved around. Of course, we want to open the full menu up to our SOUTHIES, but we’ve found that keeping them in one place for this initial period gives them the stability they need while they learn how we do things.

How do we source suitable candidates in the first place, though?

The SOUTHWORKS talent team, which handles the process alongside individual hiring managers, has three different ways of making connections:

  1. Inbound: Individuals apply in response to job ads (both internal and external) or social media posts.
  2. Outbound: Our hiring manager reaches out to people they’d like to hire for the team or who we’ve worked with in the past and rate.
  3. Referrals: We place a lot of value on people our SOUTHIES feel are a good fit for the company. This is our favorite way to hire due to the importance we place on our teams feeling certain our new SOUTHIES will do the very best job for our customers.

Once we’ve received and reviewed the applications, our recruitment process follows five additional stages:

  1. Screening candidates – checking their experience and discussing details of the role including tasks, pay, and seniority
  2. Technical exercise – it would be unrealistic to ask candidates to go in blind and write code in front of us, so we give them several days to figure the challenge out at home
  3. English assessment – an automated online test for speaking, writing, reading, and listening
  4. Technical interview – with the hiring manager and team, involving all the standard interview questions along with an opportunity for the applicant to ask about the job
  5. Streamlined remote offer process for the candidate we’ve selected from our shortlist

The screening process is particularly important because it saves everyone time – if an important detail of the job isn’t right for the candidate, or vice-versa, we all want to know ASAP. For instance, we don’t want candidates going through the entire process above only to discover right at the end that the salary’s not right for them. Just like with pricing, we’re clear and transparent about how much a role pays right from the start, and we don’t negotiate. It doesn’t matter to us whether it would be a big pay rise for one applicant or a significant cut for another based on what they’re currently earning – each role pays the advertised salary, and that’s that. This approach keeps things simple, and it’s fairer on our existing team members too.

The one exception to this is if we see potential in an applicant but feel that they’re not quite ready for the role they’ve applied for. In that scenario, we may offer them a pre-stage, where we find a suitable challenge for them to develop their skills and pay them accordingly – and again, we don’t negotiate on the salary when doing this. In fact, we’re always happy to offer feedback on a candidate’s application process, and if we believe they’ve got what it takes we’ll keep them in mind for other open roles or future challenges. We call this closing the loop.

How does our recruitment process compare to your experiences of being hired?

And if this sounds like your kind of process – we are hiring! Check out our open positions via our Careers page.