Kudos hired two senior developers for their Canadian tech company. How did VanHack help? VanHack CEO Ilya Brotzky had a chat with Ahmed, Director of Technology from Kudos in Calgary, Alberta, about how it happened. Check out the full conversation in the video, or read the highlights below!

Ilya. Thanks so much for taking some time to join us and share a story about how you hired two senior developers from VanHack from around the world. Excited to hear all about it. Maybe before we get into those details, can you maybe introduce yourself, tell us about yourself, your background, and also about Kudos?

Ahmed. Sounds good. My name is Ahmed and I started four years ago with Kudos, which is essentially building an employee recognition and engagement platform. We are based in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. We have been expanding in terms of developing new features, going to new markets.

Looking for talent is challenging, not only in Calgary, but worldwide. It’s one of the reasons we thought of going to VanHack to help us with this challenge.

We have eight members in just my team, the engineering team. The whole company are about 25 at this point.

Before we answer “how,” let’s look at why Kudos hired senior developers

Ilya. What kind of skills were you looking for? How long were the jobs open? Maybe tell us a little bit about the roles. You hired two senior developers to handle Ruby on Rails. What was the process of maybe before VanHack of trying to find those skills in Calgary, or in Canada in general?

Ahmed. Yeah. The technology stack we’re using, we try to be on the cutting edge as much as we can. To use technology that’s scalable, that’s also can be used by multiple customers in multiple countries because we have a global presence. It’s very important for us to have a scalable solution that’s very user friendly and so on.

This was one of the challenges because we’re using technologies that are not necessarily available from a skills perspective in the Calgary market. The local market is primarily dominated by oil and gas corporations. They tend not to use the most cutting edge technologies.

We were looking to hire two senior developers that have Ruby on Rails or Node.js experience. Yeah, we’re lucky to find two candidates. We were presented with multiple candidates, and the interview was, for us was seamless, even though it was remote. The team at VanHack was really helpful in that process.

When hiring for tech, speed is everything

VanHack helped Kudos hire faster

Ilya. Can you maybe give us an idea of how quickly it happened? How long after you started working with VanHack were you presented candidates? And then, how quickly were you able to make offers and get hires?

Ahmed. Yeah. As far as I remember, it was a matter of weeks. We were also going really fast. We wanted to hire in order to satisfy the resource requirements we have.

The first hire we did was in July 2018, and then the second one was in August. Most of the time actually was spent in the visa process. Everything else, like the interview, it took about a week or two. It wasn’t that long. The candidates were really flexible in accommodating the times for the interviews. We did at least two interviews for each of them, including a technical interview as well. I would say the interview process was, went really fast for us.

How VanHack created a streamlined process for hiring tech professionals

Ilya. How did you feel in terms of candidate engagement? Sometimes when you’re hiring people in general you can get a lot of, candidates might be curious, or shopping around, or looking to get a better offer at their current company. How was it with the candidates that were presented for you from VanHack?

Ahmed. I would say I noticed the screening done on VanHack’s side, so they already went through the candidates and verified, for example, the language requirements and so on. That saves a lot of time in terms of hiring someone, especially externally from a different country or a different culture.

I believe there’s also technical tests done in Van Hack as well, which was also really helpful. That gave us an idea, even before going into the, starting our own process, that they do these checks, and was very comfortable for us.

Ilya. You touched on it briefly, but the visa process. How was that? How long did it take? Were they able to start remotely and onboard that way? What was your experience with the relocation in general?

Ahmed: Yeah. I would say it depends on which country. This is extremely valuable. Some places or countries have faster visa process than others. I would say, as an advice, maybe account it for a month, maybe up to two months for the visa to be processed and completed. That’s also variable from one country to the other. Sometimes it’s two weeks, sometimes it’s three or more. That’s the one part of the process that customers will need to be flexible and anticipate some delay due to the visa process.

After Kudos hired 2 senior developers, how did they work out? (Spoiler Alert: Awesome)

Ilya. Now it’s been, actually, coming up to, I guess, a year now that the candidates have been working with you. How have they been performing? What’s the actual results of their efforts? How are they doing?

Ahmed. Yeah. Honestly, it’s been just amazing working with them. From a technical perspective, they’re really exceeding the expectations we had. A lot of fresh ideas and creative ideas that they brought from their previous experience, adding so much to the organization.

Also diverse teams in terms of the background adds to not just the engineering team, but everyone, and the company. Just getting to learn and know about other cultures is amazing. Yeah, I would say from the value added, it’s definitely worth it. It adds so much diversity to the team, to the company as well.

Kudos’ tips for other Canadian companies looking to hire (or who have hired senior developers)

Kudos' roadmap to a great culture fit

Ilya, Maybe just the last question is any tips you have for other companies that are maybe considering international hiring in general? 

Ahmed. Yeah, I would say the most important one for us when we hired senior developers was just keeping an open communication channel with the candidates during the period of relocation. As soon as they started the visa process, we started creating, we use Slack for our communication.

We created a Slack channel with the candidates so that they can ask any questions they have, like what type of things they need to bring, and where they would stay. We would advise them on certain things to make the onboarding process, or the relocation process as easy as possible. That was super helpful for both us and the candidates.

Another tips is keeping a clear onboarding process for them when they come. What kind of things they need to learn about, and places they would visit. On that front we actually had a buddy program. Each new candidate would be paired to another employee from the company. Not necessarily engineering. But they would essentially walk them through how to live in the city, what are the things they need to see, the attractions, and kind of the tips and best practices when they come in, etc. That really helped them get integrated more quickly into the city as a society and the company as well.

Ilya. That’s a great idea, and thank you so much for sharing that. Awesome, Ahmed. I really appreciate your time, and congrats again on adding two great team members. I know they are very nice people that I like to think, from the cultural point of view, just me personally having interacted with them, you got a couple of gems. Yeah, hope all the best for Kudos as you keep scaling the team and growing the company.

Ahmed. Thanks, Ilya, and thanks to your team. We’re looking forward to working with you in the future as well.

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