Razor has turned the challenge of lockdown recruitment on its head, using it as an opportunity to find new people with the right qualities and values. This has enabled the tech company to boost its Sheffield-based team with three key hires and to adapt and improve its recruitment and onboarding processes for the long term. We heard from Razor about their new team members, plus, CEO Jamie Hinton tells us what they did differently and why it’s helped them to find the right people.
Razor – which specialises in AI and automation tools – has expanded its team during a time when all businesses are facing completely new and complex challenges.
The first new recruit to be virtually welcomed was James Croft, who has joined Razor as a Software Lead. James is recognised as a ‘Microsoft Most Valuable Professional’ in the Windows Development arena; awarded for his services to the public community including open source contributions, StackOverflow contributions and helping others to develop their coding skills through online tutorials.
James has been joined by Patrick Murray, who is Razor’s new Head of Data, Analytics and AI. Patrick will provide direction to and fine tune the company’s data and analytics offering.
The third appointment is Matt Christie, who joins as Test Lead. Matt will be ensuring the quality of Razor’s projects; from computer vision and machine learning to APIs and mobile apps. He’ll also be training and mentoring testers and developers, and increasing the number of automated tests for new projects.
Finding the right people
Razor CEO, Jamie Hinton, believes that the challenges presented by social distancing and lockdown have actually helped him to recruit. He explains,
“It’s in times like these that people’s strengths emerge, and this is something I’ve picked up on. We have been able to hire at this time because we have found people who have the exact qualities we need, who are able to adapt and innovate in the face of change. This fills me with excitement about what we can achieve going forward.”
Razor had to reimagine the processes of hiring and onboarding the successful candidates without any physical contact. Jamie says,
“It’s a great time to think about new techniques and methods of working, and see the opportunity to do recruitment differently and better.”
Razor took a targeted and specific approach to finding candidates, using the time to seek out the right CV, rather than inviting hundreds of applications.
When it comes to finding out if shortlisted candidate/s are really the right fit, Jamie recommends using the digital tools most businesses have come to rely on – such as video calls – as a good way of seeing their working habits.
“In the current situation, you may actually find out a lot more about how they function and respond. Remote working in many industries is a big thing so if you can’t even get this bit right with someone then the bigger picture of working together doesn’t stand a chance.”
“Set tasks that someone can do remotely. Use digital collaboration tools to explore how they think and see if their style of working fits in with yours.”
Without being able to physically introduce the new hires to the rest of the team, Razor had to adopt a very structured approach to bringing James, Patrick and Matt on board.
Based on this recent experience, Jamie offers the following advice:
“Create a clear and detailed plan for the first couple of weeks, so that the new starter has a routine to stick to. Outline tasks for each day and set up calendar invites in their diary ready for them to make this crucial period easy to navigate.
“Arrange virtual meetings with everyone across the business, so that they get to know their colleagues both personally and professionally and get a feel for what everyone does. Also, assign a ‘work buddy’ so that the new starter feels safe, has someone to ask questions to and be pointed in the right direction.”
Razor has set up various virtual social events including communal lunches on Hangouts and Friday night drinks, to help the new starters get to know the team in a casual way. Jamie also notes the importance of equipment and making sure new starters have what they need to perform their roles. He advises,
“Organise a specific call to go through equipment, setup, instant messenger, email, timesheeting system etc. It’s really important to find ways to get essential kit to your new recruit, which is hands down an act of trust and gets everyone on the right footing.”
Lessons for lockdown, and beyond
Without the natural interactions that come when joining a workplace, Razor has learnt that forward-planning is key to building connections between new starters and the team. Thinking creatively about how to do this may also offer up ways of improving processes beyond lockdown. Jamie explains,
“There is no norm to adhere to, so introducing someone to your company at this time may bring about a bit of self-reflection; helping you portray the core of what you do in new digitally enhanced ways that are more effective in the long-term.”
Congratulations to James, Patrick and Matt on your new roles and to Razor for its continued growth. You can find out more about the company on the website and you can stay up to date by following Razor on Twitter.