The SAGA Development introduces its team. The first interview we decided to post with a person who is directly responsible for recruiting employees, works with the motivation and the team effectiveness.
Olga Mezhenska, HR Director of the SAGA Development, explained why a candidate might hear "no" at the interview, how a horizontal management system helps employees to develop, and why special people work for the company.
For what you will be taken and not taken into the Saga team
Many developers are accustomed to working on template schemes, without focusing on their internal culture. This is how we are different from other companies. We have global goals related to our professional activities, but we remember that we create values. They are not only the basis for the relationships between the employees; they help us in the implementation of our projects. That is why I always operate on our values and corporate culture during interviewing.
First of all, I pay attention to the candidate's soft skills — his personal qualities and views. Focus on the development, healthy ambition, ability to approach the tasks in a non-standard way, creativity and critical thinking are valuable traits for us. It is also important to be open-minded, sincere and positive, not to pretend to be someone who you are not, because this will become obvious during the probation period.
A candidate may hear "no" if he does not fit our values. A person who is used to thinking standards, is not ready to change and grow professionally, just will not be able to work at the SAGA Development.
How the interview goes
The first meeting can give a false opinion about a person, so I usually have a few interviews.
Before every interview, I always prepare myself: I study the candidate's resume, think through the questions and browse his page on the social network. If I see mutual acquaintances, I make recommendations. Posts on Facebook can also tell a lot about the character and habits of the applicant.
I do not arrange crash tests and do not ask tricky questions at the meeting. I prefer to use projective technique. Instead of the straightforward "Why are you often fired?" it is better to ask "Could you provide some pros and cons of a frequent job changes?". This allows you to see the candidate's true motives. We are not hiring an experience or knowledge, but a person with his or her history, emotions, views and life beliefs. Therefore, it is important to disclose the future employee and see his value system during the conversation.
About what is a real corporate culture
Companies often regulate the employee relationship model and call it their corporate culture. But what goes into this concept, is beyond the accepted standards. How we interact in unpredictable and even critical situations, how much we are willing to compromise, how we communicate in moments of conflict, and how productive we work in the absence of a leader: this is what really shapes important corporate norms.
World statistics show that out of 100% of actions in a company, only 20% can be formalized. These include "classic" rules, such as contacting colleagues by name and patronymic and necessarily official pronoun, not being late to the office, not writing in a work chat after 18:00. In the other 80% of work situations, it is impossible to prescribe behavior scenarios in advance. There will always be stories that need special approaches and new collective solutions. This percentage of "unspoken" rules is a corporate culture.
Every company should remember that if you want to create a strong corporate culture, hire employees with the same positive values. It is not just standards that bring people together in a team, but something more meaningful.
About a team without favourites
We work on a horizontal and flatter control system. Our team has no Big Bosses and Super Favourites. And this is absolutely normal. When we do the same thing, work on joint projects and achieve a common goal, we are on the same level. And the principle of "I am cool, and you are not" will probably interfere with work.
In our company, you can set a task to your manager or ask the project manager for help. This highlights the SAGA Development's values: openness and flexibility. With them, it is easier to make decisions and agree on many issues. Even the way our workspace is organized, is part of the corporate culture. We do not have heads of units separate from the team. This allows you to get the information you need, develop together and learn from one another.
What kind of people the SAGA Development is made of
We are different: everyone has his or her own habits, views and hard skills. Everyone is very cool about what he does. However, we have common values, we share the same goals.
I know exactly the area of development of everyone who works for the company now. There is no one here who is passive: there are only those who are gaining ground with each passing day.
In interviews, I often ask candidates about their aspirations and plans. When they answer me "I prefer to live here and now", they immediately outline the limit of their possibilities. For a person working at the SAGA Development, the "here and now" direction always transform into a position: what should I do here and now for tomorrow? This is probably the main feature of our employee.
On the employee's motivation
They come to the SAGA Development for the development. Those who are familiar with the company's projects and want to work here are aware of their professional development level. Therefore, even when hiring a candidate, we give him what he wants: interesting tasks, unique knowledge and experience, opportunity to be involved in creating landmark projects for the city.
But, in any case, we individually approach everyone in the team. We reinforce our new challenges with a competitive marketplace financial reward. Some employees, along with new projects, have an important "public" recognition of his success, so we celebrate his professional achievements together.
About the fuck-ups in progress and proper feedback
None of us consider ourselves a model of perfectionism. We make mistakes every day, but none of the fuck-ups will hinder our ambitions. It is quite the contrary. Each lesson is an investment in the development.
We understand that our approach to the design of residential complexes is a new case in the real estate market. In many ways, we only work out the right schemes of work and, of course, in the process there are a lot of updates and edits. Mistakes do not occur only in those companies that go the congested path. The SAGA Development is a team of innovators, and each of our misses is a story of achievement.
We do not agree to criticize the fuck-ups, but to speak directly and honestly about them. If a person makes a mistake, the first step to fix it is to point out the problem, analyse the situation together, and think about what to do next.
If the same mistake is repeated twice, it indicates that the person is not ready to change and grow above himself. It is difficult for us to close our eyes to this. We also consider the employee's inactivity a mistake, but that's another story.
What is most inspiring about HR
I am inspired by the Saga's projects and the cool team that implements them. I know that in our work we are changing the city and the lives of people. We are not just building houses, we are creating a new format of residential complexes: with innovative equipment, modern public spaces, high-quality infrastructure. We pay a lot of attention to the revitalization of industrial areas and breathe life into deprived areas. The realization that I am involved in this is what gives me the most courage.