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Startup recruitment: how Open Loyalty makes it work

Learn about our approach to recruitment in the loyalty world, and why it yields such great results.

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Izabela Grochowska
Content Manager
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In our latest piece, we speak to Adrianna Woźniak, our Head of People, who tells us about what recruitment means for a fast-growing loyalty startup such as Open Loyalty, and what it takes to attract and retain the very talent that makes the company go from strength to strength. 

How would you define the company culture at Open Loyalty?

I think we’re a very open-minded bunch. We’re welcoming and always look out for one another, not just in the sense that everyone wants everyone else to feel comfortable, but also encourage growth and learning in one another - which has always been an important element of Open Loyalty as a company.

We want to share our knowledge, whether it be product with design, or sales and marketing, we regularly break down the boundaries that seemingly divide us based on our job descriptions. Here, we’re all just one, working towards a common goal and happily helping each other along the way, and injecting fun into everything we do in the meantime. 

This brings us to the next point: we really do like to have fun at work. When I go to bed on Sunday, I’m not there sighing and thinking ‘oh God, yet another week of work’. Instead, it’s more like ‘I had fun over the weekend, but I also know I’m going to have fun Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and onwards’. I also hear that from our colleagues here at Open Loyalty, so it’s fair to say fun is one of the things that makes the wheels turn at the company.

What do Open Loyalty people have in common?

Definitely ambition, definitely open-mindedness, and, again, a belief that work can be fun. However, also the striving to leave our collective mark and build something that really matters. We’re driven by the possibility of creating something that is innovative and novel, as opposed to doing something that has already been done. That doesn’t get our gears grinding quite as much :) 

We’re a talented bunch, committed to doing great things and doing our work to the very best standard, no matter our field of expertise. HR, marketing, product design, software development, you name it. 

However, that’s not to say that we’re all very much alike because the range of characters that works at Open Loyalty is truly astounding. Very diverse life paths and experiences, skills; interests ranging from Formula 1, and cooking, to being the meme maestro (looking at you, Bartek Lanc & Tomek Bąkowski!). Even so, we seem to operate on a similar wavelength that allows us to bring out the quality of product that we do.

This is, of course, not to say that we don’t disagree with one another. We do. Regularly. And no one here shies away from a good debate. However, because of all the things that bind us, the disagreements we have are always led by respect and extremely productive, which often lead us to solutions that may have never come up in the first place. 

How does recruitment work at Open Loyalty?

We always try to make it as painless and seamless for candidates as possible. I know that, oftentimes, recruiting demands a lot of candidates, asking them to jump through multiple hoops during a process that is inherently stressful without all the added extras.

We make it quick. There is the initial screening process with myself. Once successful, we move on to the next stage. This stage involves an hour-long conversation with a technical expert from the relevant department - say software development - during which I am present as well. 

It’s very rare for us to hold a third meeting, but if for whatever reason, we’re having a hard time deciding based on an aspect, or aspects, that need to be clarified, we’ll ask you to join us once again. This meeting won’t take longer that half an hour.

Overall, we try to complete the whole recruiting process within two weeks. 

We like to make it quick, we like to make it informal; while teasing out the cultural fit of the candidate is a big part of these talks. That’s why we like to lead with small talk, getting the candidate to talk about themselves beyond their professional capabilities, which we believe is just as important as how well they can do the job.

What are some of the things you look out for when recruiting?

Openness to feedback is definitely a big one. Giving and receiving feedback is a huge part of the job at Open Loyalty, which is why ideal candidates should be comfortable with both. 

Also, the way that the candidate disagrees. As we say above, disagreement and discussions are the bloodline of the company, but it’s important to know how the candidate puts their arguments forth, how they approach a person with whom they disagree. 

It’s very important for any potential employee to be able to put forth and receive feedback in a way that is respectful and constructive.

We also look for the “hunger” of wanting to build something novel; create something that hasn’t been done before. While we’re not expecting someone to solve puzzles of the Universe on day 1, having that hunger is key to thriving in the Open Loyalty environment. 

Things are always in flux here -  what you do today may not be what you end up doing tomorrow, and ambiguity  is a big word around here (in an exciting way!). Everything we’re doing now is new ground for us, too, so a potential employee needs to be comfortable with the concept of the unknown and be able to derive joy from breaking that new ground with us. 

What are some challenges you/other recruiters face these days? After all, it’s often said that it’s a candidate’s market.

Candidates are being offered so much these days, and it's easier than ever for top talent to find startup jobs of their liking. Which is why we find it important to ensure that the candidate experience - from the very first outreach message to the interview process - is flawless. 

Also, going back to what we talked about before, it’s crucial to make the whole hiring process as short and painless as possible. Because while candidates may have many options while job-seeking, the experience isn’t without its trials and tribulations. We take this into account in ensuring that their experience with us is as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Having said that, it’s equally important for us to stay competitive among a sea of job offers and really highlight all we can offer new talent, such as benefits and other perks our current employees enjoy. 

At the same time, I care about making things transparent to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road - for example, someone coming from a huge corporation making the jump into the start-up environment, and then finding it’s not really for them. We believe in not over-promising and under-delivering, thus avoiding wasting anyone’s valuable time.

Tell us more about the “Ada” test :) 

Note: The Ada test is an ingenious test (we should really patent it at this point) designed by our Head of People, Adrianna Woźniak. This is how she describes it 👇

The “Ada test” is a tool that comes in handy when we’re facing a conundrum regarding a candidate. All looks good on paper, and we’re trying to decide whether they’d be a good fit for our team. What the Ada test does is it imagines a weekend trip away or a workation involving the candidate, where I ask myself: 

“Is this the kind of person I’d like to go on a weekend trip with and would we actually have an enjoyable time? Is this someone who would come up with exciting ideas for activities, be open to adventure, but also understand when the time for fun is and vice versa?” 

So, basically, if I feel like this could be someone I could have a great time away with, then we’ve got ourselves a winner :)

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