Do you know that feeling when you are about to open an important email, knowing you will either really like or really hate what you are going to read? It’s a feeling that we think many applicants have when awaiting feedback on their technical assignment during our hiring process. Rejecting people is always difficult, but numbers don’t lie. Madewithlove sets the quality bar high, so it’s just a handful out of every hundred candidates that reach the finish line and ends up working for us.

But while we deeply disappoint a great number of talented people when doing so, they keep on thanking us for the ride, the things they’ve learned, the feedback received and how they came out of our hiring process stronger. Here’s a little taste of our secret hiring sauce that explains how we do this.

“The feedback you have provided will be of great and significant value to me. Seeing the detailed feedback you gave makes me even more disappointed that I wasn’t able to join your team. But, after reading the whole email a few times, I am truly grateful that I was able to meet everyone and feel how it would be to work with a great team – which is something I will now strive to find.”

These kinds of replies really motivate us to keep on putting effort into giving elaborate feedback. We’ve even made a curated collection on our internal blogging platform. We can’t be more grateful for having such a pool of awesome rejected candidates. But why are they thanking us when we reject them?

We believe the recruitment flow is a tedious process for everyone involved, so we want to make sure people get something in return no matter whether they get hired or not. That’s why we decided to take our hiring very seriously. And you should too. Here are a few things we keep in mind when joining the war on talent.

How we do recruiting at madewithlove

Our application process explained

When people apply, we do the first screening based on a few objective criteria like having a proper motivation letter, working in the right time zone, and a skill set that matches what we are looking for.
Being invited for a phone screen interview is the next step in our hiring process. This is where we check if the candidate is a good fit for our company. Afterwards, we invite our applicants to conduct a technical assignment, which will get thoroughly reviewed (anonymously, to get rid of any potential bias) by two of our developers. The final step in the hiring process is an interview with the partners of madewithlove.

But what should you, as an interviewer, keep in mind when having applicants go through this whole application process?

Shift to a higher gear

First of all, make sure responding to applicants happens quickly. It’s never fun if the candidate has to wait long on knowing what’s next. On average, the application process takes less than 13 days for all candidates. (It does take longer for people reaching the third and final step, of course.) New applicants will wait around 2 days on average before knowing if they get invited for a first phone screen. It doesn’t make sense to keep people waiting. As soon as people deliver a technical assignment, we ask two of our developers to do some rescheduling magic and review the assignment within a week. Obviously, holidays can delay the process by a couple of days. Having one person dedicated to closely following up applicant progress, a proper set up of notifications, and good recruiting software helps you ramp up productivity.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application and reviewing my submission on the technical assignment. I’m blown away by the exhaustive comments on various aspects of my work, I truly appreciate that. You have been great throughout the interview process.

Work on your matching skills

It doesn’t take too long to decide if potential hires would make a good addition to the team. To make sure a candidate can go to the next stage we start with the facts: do they live in the right timezone range, do they have relevant experience and realistic wage expectations? A personalized cover letter is also a bonus. In this stage, we often give unknowns the benefit of the doubt — it doesn’t hurt to hear everyone’s story and to share ours with people from all over the world.

During the interview, we pay attention to communication skills, the candidate’s values and expectations, and we make sure they get to know our company as well. We want to be sure the fit is both ways. Proper screening and judging keeps the candidate in their comfort zone, which will result in a better hiring experience.

Thank you for the wonderful interview experience at madewithlove. I must say that this is the most detailed feedback I’ve ever received on a technical assignment. I take the conclusions in good faith to mean that my level of experience and skillset doesn’t match with what madewithlove wants at this time. I’m very grateful for the detailed feedback and suggestions. Till our paths cross once again in the future, it’s been nice knowing!

Spend enough time on technical reviews

When a developer gets invited to conduct a technical assignment, we tell them they get around 3 weeks for it. If they need more time, we happily grant it after correctly communicating about it. Most of the applicants use these 2-3 weeks for their assignment, so it’s only a matter of mutual respect that we also put a great deal of our time in reviewing their work. A couple developers will dive in and set up the project, read the documentation, and review the assignment based on a rubric which helps them to objectively give their opinion about the candidate. Our reviewers don’t know who they are reviewing to avoid any potential bias. On average, one reviewer needs 40 minutes to complete a review. We also make sure to include tips, tutorials, and interesting books to read when we believe the candidate will benefit from this.

Be approachable

During the process, the candidate will understand that they can ask us anything. We expect them to do so, especially if things are not clear. Being approachable in an interview process makes the candidate feel at ease and welcome. When doing a phone screen interview, it’s not only about roasting the candidate. We take time to answer all their questions and try to make it a bi-directional conversation. Sharing personal stories, talking about mutual interests, and what it’s like to be a madewithlove employee will help the candidate relax. Next to timing issues, this is the reason why we only involve the management in the last phase of the interview process.

Be honest

Madewithlove employees are drilled on being honest and share whatever is on their mind. It’s not always easy to tell the truth, but it’s needed. When a candidate asks for reasoning about why they did not get invited for a phone screen, we will explain it to them. We often joke about adding Saying No as a Service to our website services,  as this is what we do internally and to clients when we don’t believe in working on a certain feature or product. Saying no to applicants and explaining why they didn’t make it is exactly the same. If decisions are well thought over and explained in a polite manner, we don’t see any harm in sharing hard but honest messages.

Looking for a job?

At the moment, we are not hiring. If you are interested in applying, please do keep an eye out to our job page as we also help our clients with hiring developers, product managers and CTOs. New opportunities might arrive sooner than you think.