Experience or Potential?
In this blog, our HR manager and generally excellent person Tina describes Dotbite’s strategy for finding potential new talents. Our company grew from just 6 people in 2020 to a team of 18 exceptional individuals at the end of 2021, thanks to exciting projects like LEAD Horizon or Quinn. So how do we choose who will be an asset to the team and, even more important, who is a good fit?
You can’t google the future
Dotbite has a young team full of digital natives. We’ve been born into a society using digital technology every day, we learn with various helpful digital tools, and we work in a world consisting of lines of code that influence everything we do. If we look up information for our studies or new projects at work, we simply go online and find it. At least most of the time.
What we can’t find online is a precise prediction of the future. What challenges will we face? What kind of digital solutions will we need? How will the world change? Either the future has horrible SEO, or even Google doesn’t know the answer.
From a recruiter’s point of view, this is quite a tricky thing to deal with. What do you look for when you don’t even know what skills you might need in the future? The traditional way is to look at the paragraph “skills” in the job description and compare it to the CVs of potential candidates to find the perfect match, in addition to the cultural fit.
Nowadays, though, the difficulties already start with the definition of these so-called skills. The manager you work with searching for a candidate knows what skills were needed for past projects but predicting what skills will be required for future projects is almost impossible in a fast-paced environment like ours. You all know the joke about 5 years of experience in a program that was released last year. Especially since the Covid-19 crisis has started, we experienced that nothing can be planned for sure, and circumstances can change quickly.
So what do you do? Do you look for people with experience and skills in the field you are looking for right now? Or is the potential to adapt, learn and develop yourself more valuable for the company’s future? Are there people out there who have both?
Learning by doing
Our founders themselves started as students with a pretty awesome idea which to this day makes the lives of tens of thousands of students a lot easier. They did not have a vast amount of experience in development (except Paul, of course), but they were eager to bring something to life that has a significant impact. Their ambition and fun at solving new challenges are still the key factors for Dotbite’s growth. Of course, this also has a massive effect on how we recruit new team members. We know that experience is an integral part of the game — but knowledge can also be gained by doing. That is why, at least at the moment, we believe the following three aspects to be more valuable to the whole team than the experience potential prospects might have.
Be water, my friend
In a world that constantly changes — whether you speak of the digital or analog world — you need a team that likes change, is motivated to look for new solutions, and is happy to deal with a dynamic environment. From our perspective, the biggest asset you can have is a team that likes to take on challenges and is not afraid to try something new. Therefore, we constantly search for new solutions or tools that make our lives easier (check our Instagram for our weekly findings). A sentence Albert Einstein sadly never said, but that is true nevertheless, is, after all: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Having fun at learning new things is a significant asset for personal and professional development, and therefore the team’s development as a whole. Dotbite is only as smart and skilled as our employees are. Thus if we learn as people, we also learn as a company. The more we learn, the better we can build solutions for future problems. Now, if you are a recruiter or HR professional, you might ask yourself: How can I find out if a person has fun learning new things? In a way, this is something implicit. Maybe the person studies something cultural but has also started an online business with a friend in her spare time. Or the candidate loves to do programming and visits tech meet-ups regularly to get to know the latest trends. Maybe the person works in marketing and is active in social media specialist groups. Lifelong learning can be a lot, but if you have fun at it, you have the perfect foundation for individual growth in the future.
You might have heard of the term “collective knowledge,” which basically describes that a team is always more potent, more intelligent, and more impactful than a single person alone. This idea can be applied not only to building houses or winning football games but also to working in a sector that is developing and changing as quickly as ours. This is why we think that the cultural fit is one of the most essential aspects of recruiting: if you get along very well as people, the chances of working well together as colleagues are very high. For us, cultural fit does not mean hiring similar people with the same background and the same experiences over and over again. Instead, we look for people with congruent values, their own humor, and that like to drive things forward both on their own and as a team.
So, experience or potential?
To answer the question in the title, we are focusing more on potential than experience because we think many necessary skills might not even exist today. A person’s potential to develop, learn, and adapt, especially together with colleagues as a team, is much more vital to solving tomorrow’s problems than experience with today’s technologies. And to refer to Micha’s fantastic blog article about the first couple weeks at Dotbite, this is how individuals working for a company become a “we.”