I thought the process was good right from the start. The whole process was timed and transparent. There were no waiting times for unknown reasons, and everything was straightforward.Team member of the first QLab Sprint
Just two days ago, my colleague Patrick and I had the pleasure of meeting ten of 30 applicants from around the world - students who have applied for our upcoming QLab Think Tank Design Sprint, which starts on April 19, 2022.
While Patrick and I share a coworking space in Bremen, Germany, our future team members are in Piacenza, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Weimar, or anywhere else. And that's why our interviews and collaboration occur in the digital world.
The basis for our interviews
We'll inform you about our five-week process, what we expect from our employees, and what they'll receive.
Interested? You can find all information here.
Besides a resume and portfolio, if available, the most important thing for us is the motivation letter: We want to see what difference our applicants want to make in the world, how they can contribute to QLab, and what they want to learn. This is how we gain a first personal impression.
Trust, respect and belonging
Because the five members of our sprint teams must rely on and grow with each other from day one, it's important to us to instill trust, respect, and belonging in them from the moment we meet and long before the sprint begins:
- After receiving the application, the sender will receive a confirmation from our side within 24 hours.
- This confirmation contains all the information about how we will continue the application process.
- The confirmation will include all information about the application deadline, when applicants can expect our response, and when the interview will take place if they are selected.
- Applicants will receive our contact information in case they have any questions.
As promised, we get back to our potential employees immediately after the application deadline. Applicants who are not a perfect fit will receive a respectfully written rejection on the same day.
The interview day
Our main goal is to establish personal contact with the interview partner - and believe us; this usually works very well in the virtual world and in a meeting that lasts only 20 minutes!
We conduct our interviews through MS Teams. The invitations with the technical instructions are sent directly after the students confirm their participation.
The basis for our interview is the letter of motivation - the part of the application where participants tell us what they have in mind. We don't emphasize CVs, references and portfolios too much because we assume that students are experts in their field.
What would you buy if you had our platinum credit card in your hands?
We start the conversation with a brief introduction of ourselves. Then we start asking our questions. Some of them might seem out of context. The question above illustrates this idea of abstraction, although, unfortunately we don't yet have a platinum credit card.
Still, we want to learn about the participants' creativity and quick decision-making because these skills are needed throughout the sprint. We assess problem-solving ability by putting our interviewees in our customers' shoes and asking them how they would approach the challenge at hand.
Our virtual office
After a ten-minute conversation, we invite our conversation partner to our virtual office, which Miro provides. Miro is our desk and playground, where we gather all our knowledge during the sprint.
On Miro, we visualize the QLab process, timelines, and tools to introduce them to our potential employees and give them a quick orientation.
Time for questions and answers
The last five minutes of our interview are dedicated to questions from our interviewees. Due to the wide range of information they receive in a very short time, we invite them to email us if they would like to discuss anything after the interview.
After the interview
We keep our promise and let our interviewees know within 48 hours of the interview if they will be part of the team. In turn, they are asked to confirm within 24 hours whether they will participate. If they decide not to join, applicants on the waiting list will be given their place.
Our confirmed employees will receive more information for the upcoming sprint about a week after the interviews. About a week before our journey, they receive all access data to our digital tools.
The six secrets...
... how to conduct valuable and engaging interviews:
- The onboarding process begins even before the interviews are conducted.
- Treat your applicants the way you would like to be treated as an applicant yourself.
- Keep your promises.
- Provide reliable guidelines.
- Be friendly, respectful and curious.
- Show yourself, be authentic.
What do you think is important beyond these aspects? Thank you for reading!
Andrea Kuhfuss, co-founder and managing director of QLab Think Tank GmbH