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Scaling from 3 to 150 employees: The secret to building an effective hiring process

March 6, 2023In Blog10 MinutesNika IvanovskaBy Nika Ivanovska

Have you ever wondered why some businesses thrive and grow while most close up within a few years? Yes, there are many factors, like access to capital, understanding the marketplace, innovation capacity, and so on. But, there is one factor that determines long-term business success. The good news is that it is 100% in your hands. Can you guess?

It's hiring the right people and merging them into a thriving and robust team.

This is the story of Upshift, the company that managed to scale from 3 to 150 employees at a glance. In the next few minutes, we will reveal our secret to building an effective hiring process and how we unlock our employee’s potential by motivating them to give their maximum. Let’s dive in!

Core principles and values to build great tech teams

The truth is: High-performing teams won’t materialize out of the ether. They require careful cultivation with a strong sense of team values, goals, and a code of ethics. Upshift is trying to build something that hasn’t been built before. We are on the verge of creating a unique, scalable, lasting company and team that wouldn’t just build a product but create professionals and happy individuals who love Mondays. 

I keep saying Mondays are great for people who are happy with their lives. People who are free to be themselves have the opportunity to build not just careers but lives. When you let your team members know that they have space for financial growth as well in the company and this variable is a constant (if they produce value), they are left with growth and progress, and we keep true to that word. This is why we always keep pushing for the principle: Take care of your people. They will take care of the product, and that will take care of the profit.

— Nikola Jordanovski, Upshift’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

The secret to building an effective hiring process

Upshift managed to scale from 3 to 150 employees in just 6 years while keeping true to our values. How did we manage to do this? By building a strong and structured HR process and making it our top priority. As Nika, our HR Manager explains, we always try to look a step ahead and learn more about what might be working tomorrow instead of just focusing on what works today.

By keeping in mind that today’s talent market isn’t static, we strive to prepare ourselves for what’s coming next. And yes, sometimes it is impossible to predict what is around the corner, but that’s what we find challenging in the first place. We believe that adaptability in the hiring process is, no doubt, the best strategy in uncertain times like these. 

— Nika Ivanovska, HR Manager at Upshift

Our 3 key points for a successful hiring process

🚀 Ensure an outstanding candidate experience (end-to-end) while encouraging feedback loops.

🚀 Don’t compromise on corporate culture. This is what makes us who we are, and it’s only strong if shared.

🚀 Be flexible and take action. Analyze and improve the HR process on a daily basis. Even small steps are better than none.

The top criteria for selecting our next team members

Skills and relevant experience are a good start. But, we also aim for candidates with particular personality traits too – like proactivity. Any skills can be acquired, and experience gained, while proactivity is one of those characteristics that is simply part and parcel of who a person naturally is. It can be invaluable – especially in a startup environment. 

We are aware that great teams are to be built. They just don’t grow freely. Finding people who are all-in on the vision of Upshift and passionate about their contribution – we consider them as the real game changers. Our appetite for learning unites us, and we work together as one team to create the best possible experiences for our end users.

— Nika Ivanovska, HR Manager at Upshift

Unlocking employees' potential and motivating them to give their maximum

Behind every groundbreaking and life-changing product, there is an awesome team. That is a fact. At Upshift, you are expected to make a difference. This is a place where your opinions and ideas will truly matter. Day by day, our engineering team pursues our mission of making the world of work a better place for everyone. We share a unique work culture based on aiming high, taking ownership, co-creating, caring, and growing. When it comes to motivation, our guiding rule is simple: We strive to make everyone understand the big picture and what’s most important – we want people to see their place in it. Our experience showed that extraordinary things could happen when people can know their potential impact and feel valued at the same time. Additionally, we ensure to nurture our feedback culture on a daily basis, not only top-bottom but bottom-top and horizontally among peers.

To wrap up

The truth is: There is such a thing as a “perfect” team waiting out there for you. But you can find the right people to fill your needed roles and skill gaps. We truly hope our insights can help you lay the groundwork for a highly productive team that can communicate, innovate and cooperate in an atmosphere of respect and mutual trust. Ultimately, we believe that working in Upshift is more than just a job. Think about it as a team of humans striving to create something special for other humans. 

This is why we are all about empathy, curiosity, and togetherness. And this makes Upshift a great place to work each day. The question we ask you today is: Do we share the same values?  If yes, we hope you will consider joining us.

Read More

When we are looking for our next team member, our first step would be to invite you for a cup of coffee. We want you to get to know us and decide if we are the right company for you. Along with it, here are a few more tips for increasing the chance of landing a job at Upshift: 

Tip #1: Be you! We want you as you are. Honest answers are much appreciated.
Tip #2: Make sure you work alone on the technical challenge. We value integrity. It’s totally fine if you don’t know everything (you will get there).
Tip #3: Demonstrate your passion and interest by preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewer.
Tip #4: Bring your positive energy and enthusiasm!

Our mission to make our hiring process flawless doesn’t stop here. As we mentioned above, what may have worked yesterday may not work today.

Thus, here is our 7 steps game plan to keep up on top of the HR game:

Step 1: Customize the hiring process even further and tailor it to the specific role (since roles are changing rapidly).
Step 2: Adopt the usage of artificial intelligence tools to improve the assessment process and ensure equal opportunities for everyone.
Step 3: Involve more team members in an open introductory session during the interview process. This way, the team can present their work and strategies, and candidates can get to know them.
Step 4:  Create more challenging technical tasks and give candidates the freedom to express themselves.
Step 5: Focus on each candidate’s potential rather than direct experience.
Step 6: Organize an external hackathon for everyone who wants to participate. Offer internships or entry-level positions to winners.
Step 7: Provide more detailed feedback to candidates who, unfortunately, were not hired.