During the containment, recruitments have followed their courses at itk and six new employees have joined the company. Eva, Human Resources Manager at itk, answered our questions.

What was the context of the recruitment campaign, what were the objectives?

We are in a growth phase, in full development. We currently have 120 employees working at different sites:
Clapiers (Occitania), the company’s head office, Chateaubourg (Brittany) in and San Francisco in the United States.

In order to guarantee an optimal distribution of work, to maintain the quality of our services, and to meet the needs of our customers, our growth is accompanied by the creation of new jobs. We recruit high-potential profiles, who are brought to develop their skills on our customer projects. Our ambition is to triple in size within 3 years, to reach 300 employees in 2023.

How did recruitment at itk go during the confinement period?

Despite the period of health crisis, itk’s management wanted to maintain the recruitment plan initially planned by adapting it to the context of remote work:

Arbitration and prioritization of recruitments to be maintained according to the needs;
Recommendation to integrate new recruits from September (time to let the peak of the pandemic and the summer period conducive to holidays) in order to be in better conditions to welcome and integrate new recruits;
Continuation of interviews with the candidates involved in the recruitment process and respect of our commitments to the selected candidates.

The massive use of our internal communication tools, the provision of IT equipment to facilitate distance working and the implementation of rituals to reduce the risk of isolation have helped us a great deal. Because of the distance imposed by confinement, we reviewed our recruitment processes and in particular the way we conducted our interviews. Initially organised in person in our offices where we met the candidates, we have moved to a 100% digital process.

We use Recruitee, a shared recruitment management platform that encourages collaborative work:

Shared analysis and evaluation of candidates with the technical recruitment teams;
Personalisation and management of the recruitment process;
Planning of certain actions (invitation to an interview, sending of the technical test according to the position, sharing of the recruitment charter, etc).

Several steps define our recruitment process, which we have carried out remotely, using our digital collaborative tools.

  1. HR telephone pre-selection

This generic interview, consisting of a “culture fit” session, is essential since it allows us to assess the suitability of the candidate and itk’s state of mind.

The corporate culture corresponds to the set of values, behaviors and professional practices common to the employees of a company. The corporate culture is built and nourished through several elements: its history, myths and heroes, rites and customs, taboos, working methods and finally values.
The concept of “culture fit” thus concerns the hiring of people who have values, a vision and an attitude that correspond to the culture of the company in question, so that they can develop their potential while contributing to the organisation as much as possible. (Source: Team RH)

  1. Team interview by videoconference

This “job interview” is carried out with peers in order to have an objective and complete opinion on the candidate and to assess the scientific/technical skills required for the proposed position. It is often accompanied by a technical test to be carried out prior to the interview in relation to the skills required for the proposed position.

  1. Final meeting

This last meeting with members of the management allows for the exchange of information and ideas.
notably on the company as a whole, its organisation and its ambitions,
but also the integration into the itk project in its own right. The last step concerns the internal deliberation, to define whether the candidate’s profile is suitable or whether the proposed position would allow him or her to develop professionally. If this last step is positive, we send him/her a proposal. All these steps are carried out remotely, and the signing of the promise of employment is done in a dematerialized way.

What were the advantages and disadvantages of recruiting remotely?

Advantages:

Time saving: less logistics in organising the interviews to be scheduled (booking a meeting room, blocking time in person with the members of the recruitment committee to prepare the interview beforehand and to reserve time for a hot debriefing, fewer interlocutors involved, especially for the reception of the candidate on our premises).
Limit fees: do not bring candidates to the site, geographical boundaries are falling.
Another benefit is that using video in the recruitment process reduces downtime, or latency in the process.

Disadvantages:

The video filter makes it difficult to analyze non-verbal communication (gestures, posture, style, etc.) and other indicators available in a physical interview. Non-verbal communication, moreover under the stress of the interview, is an interesting revealer as it is an unconscious vector of certain personality traits, emotions, etc.
The exercise can be confusing and requires special preparation for both the committee and the candidate. Although the exercise seems less solemn, it is nonetheless formal. The amount of convention and preparation should be the same as that invested in a physical interview. In the same way, it is easier to cut off the speech in reality than on a video. For example, in a videoconference, it is important to ensure that the speaker has finished his or her sentence so as to be able to bounce back, and to respect each person’s speaking time so as to avoid cacophony.
Less “warm”: more difficulties in shareing/illustrating the company culture and values carried by the company. This is particularly the case with informal exchanges at the beginning of the interview when welcoming the candidate or at the end of the interview, visiting the offices, meeting other company employees, etc.
Dependent on technology: we are never safe from a failure or breakdown of the software and equipment used.
How many recruitments did you finalize during the teleworking period?

To date, 10 recruitment promises have been signed, including 3 at the Chateaubourg site (Brittany) and 7 at Clapiers. The integration of the new employees is scheduled to start in September 2020, and we will integrate these talents in different areas of expertise such as IT, IoT, agronomy, modelling, applied mathematics, data science and artificial intelligence.

How has the integration of new remote collaborators been organized?

During the confinement period, we welcomed and integrated six new employees (including 2 interns) in various functions: Legal Manager, IoT Engineer, General Manager itk in the United States, IT Support Customer Relationship Manager.

We are aware that the situation was special and time could sometimes be short,
which is why we are also fortunate to be able to count on the atmosphere
of natural collaboration that reigns at itk.
In this sense, several collaborators have made themselves available to newcomers to facilitate their integration, notably with the help of our collaborative tools (Gitlab, TeamSpeak…).

We have adapted our integration and welcome process and everything has been carried out remotely with a strong involvement and availability of the Administrative and HR team. Notably Frédéric Martinoty, our information systems manager, who carried out the handover of the IT equipment on site in compliance with the safety and hygiene rules imposed by the government. Christel Egligeaud, our administrative and HR assistant, ensured the digitized administrative integration and the presentation of our remote work environment. Finally, the project teams were mobilized to organize the first days of work at itk in order to avoid isolation.

« It comforted me to see that there was a sort of virtual company that had been recreated using itk’s tools, i.e. chat, Teamspeak for audio… With the room systems that have been recreated, both the offices and the “coffee machine” areas, it makes it easier to get in touch with people, as if I had integrated the company into the premises,” explains Emilie, our Customer Relationship Manager – IT Support, who arrived on 2 June.

Integration of Emilie by Eva on her first day at itk

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