“An ideal candidate is willing to deliver result as part of a team”
Kiev, September 14th, 2018
Working from Kiev, Volta One is a digital communications agency that offers services on the B2B market. The agency specialized on advertisement, marketing and production, offers its clients complete and integrated solutions that combine virtual and physical spaces.
Otari Arutiunian was one of the three partners that started the agency, now having expanded to a staff of 30 specialists and reaching clients all over the world. Speaking to TIA, Arutiunian described the agency’s main features and focused on its culture and hiring process, giving a close look on the main features they consider when hiring a new member of their team.
Could you describe your agency in a few words?
Volta One was founded as a traditional digital agency, offering marketing services to corporate clients. While growing and entering new markets we differentiated our positioning. Ukrainian partners acknowledge us as a reliable digital agency while our international clients cooperate with us as a production. Combination of expertise in marketing with possibilities in production guarantees our clients global grade quality.
When we started in 2016 there were only three partners in the Agency – me, Gosha Deev and Kirill Meshkovskiy. All three of us have over 10 years of marketing experience as well as design and web production vision and skills. This allowed us to grow the company to 30 specialists in two years with over 40 local and global clients.
How do you know if a person has what it takes to fit the culture of the agency?
I would lie if I told you that there were no mistakes in our hiring process. We had over 20 people «transiting» through our company for all sorts of reasons (not so honest portfolio, not willing to lose income while waiting for a better offer, laziness etc.). So, for us, on some intuitive level, understanding that a person fits our agency’s microclimate comes with the very first interview. We have held hundreds of interviews in the past, so we pay attention to these crucial indicators:
-Is the person open for a friendly conversation? If not – it might mean that this particular person will find it hard to communicate with coworkers and express what he feels. This is very important for us because our company culture is based on mutual productivity and effectiveness which means trusting others.
-Is the person honest? Honesty, no matter how it sounds, is still the best policy, so when we ask in the end of the interview questions like «did you do this project solo? » or «what is the greatest project, on your opinion, in your portfolio? » – we test all the information that was previously provided.
-What is the person’s motivation? You cannot be more right to ask such a question. If the motivation is only income – no way you can build long-lasting relations with such a person. But if that person wants to receive new opportunities, leveling up of skills, is open for new skills – that’s the person to go with.
–Empathy – does he/she have it? That’s my key indicator. If the level of empathy of the person is high enough – rest assured that you can fit this person in your team.
What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate for the agency?
An ideal candidate for Volta One is willing to deliver result as part of a team. This means that any person on any position is ready to take responsibility for the particular part of the project he or she is working on. I know it sounds like something that should be granted but we are constantly facing hard times in search of people that understand the concept of delivering predictable quality results in time. In our case we developed such a project management system that is cultivating such a philosophy.
In terms of skills we tend to find balance between senior level team leaders that manage their own sectors. For example, a senior level frontend developer is responsible for his team of (mainly) middle-level developers and one junior that we see motivated enough to grow to middle-level. This allows us to synergistically raise the overall level of our specialists.
How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?
On the first day we find it very important for a newcomer to feel as comfortable as possible, so we pay as much attention to introduction to coworkers as we possibly can. We have an HR manager who is responsible for this process and he usually invites new members of our team for lunch. It’s a great way to open people for a friendly chat, thus making them feel cozy on a new job.
What kind of activities are done at the agency to build the best possible team?
We do all sorts of stuff like watching movies, playing PlayStation, eating pizza and have parties. But our favorite team activity has to be kayaking. Every once in a while, we find new routes and go kayaking all together with a picnic on the shore. Our team simple loves these days. I can surely recommend kayaking for team building purposes.
What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital industry?
I’d say you have to be open to new information and strive to be the best. Digital is one of the most dynamically changing and evolving industries so constant research and lots, lots of reading and testing should become a daily routine. And of course – start small but go fast. You cannot skip any step in this process because you will miss out on important information and experience that will make it almost impossible to build a good career in digital industry in the future.
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