How Kudos hired 2 Senior Developers from VanHack

May 9, 2019

We sat down with Ahmed, Director of Technology from Kudos to talk about about how he hired 2 Senior Developers from VanHack for his Calgary, Alberta office. Check out the video above or read the text below to hear his story!

Ilya: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another VanHack Podcast. I’m Ilya, and I’m super excited to be joined by Ahmed Okasha, who is the Director of Technology at Kudos now in Calgary. Hi, Ahmed, how’s it going?

Ahmed: Hello. How are you?

Ilya: I’m doing well. Thanks so much for taking some time to join us and share a story about how you hired two senior developers from VanHack from around the world. Excited to hear all about it. Maybe before we get into those details, can you maybe introduce yourself, tell us about yourself, your background, and also about Kudos?

Ahmed: Sounds good. My name is Ahmed and I started four years ago with Kudos, which is essentially building an employee recognition and engagement platform. We are based in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. We have been expanding in terms of developing new features, going to new markets. Looking for talent is challenging, not only in Calgary, but worldwide. It’s one of the reasons we thought of going to VanHack to help us with this challenge.

Ilya: Very cool, very cool. How many people on the team right now, just so we can get an idea of your size and where you’re at?

Ahmed: We have eight members in just my team, the engineering team. The whole company are about 25 at this point.

Ilya: Very cool. That’s great. Awesome. What kind of skills were you looking for? How long were the jobs open? Maybe tell us a little bit about the roles. You hired two senior Ruby on Rails developers. What was the process of maybe before VanHack of trying to find those skills in Calgary, or in Canada in general?

Ahmed: Yeah. The technology stack we’re using, we try to be on the cutting edge as much as we can. To use technology that’s scalable, that’s also can be used by multiple customers in multiple countries because we have a global presence. It’s very important for us to have a scalable solution that’s very user friendly and so on. This was one of the challenges because we’re using technologies that are not necessarily available from a skills perspective in the Calgary market, which is primarily dominated by oil and gas corporations that tend to use not the most cutting edge technologies. We were looking to hire two senior developers that have Ruby on Rails or Node.js experience. Yeah, we’re lucky to find two candidates. We were presented with multiple candidates, and the interview was, for us was seamless, even though it was remote. The team at VanHack was really helpful in that process.

Ilya: Very cool, very cool. Can you maybe give us an idea of how quickly it happened? How long after you started working with VanHack were you presented candidates, and then how quickly were you able to make offers and get hires?

Ahmed: Yeah. As far as I remember, it was a matter of weeks. We were also going really fast. We wanted to hire in order to satisfy the resource requirements we have. The first hire we did was in July 2018, and then the second one was in August. Most of the time actually was spent in the visa process. Everything else, like the interview, it took about a week or two. It wasn’t that long. The candidates were really flexible in accommodating the times for the interviews. We did at least two interviews for each of them, including a technical interview as well. I would say the interview process was, went really fast for us.

Ilya: Great. Awesome. How did you feel in terms of candidate engagement? Sometimes when you’re hiring people in general you can get a lot of, candidates might be curious, or shopping around, or looking to get a better offer at their current company. How was it with the candidates that were presented for you from VanHack?

Ahmed: I would say I noticed the screening done on VanHack’s side, so they already went through the candidates and verified, for example, the language requirements and so on. That saves a lot of time in terms of hiring someone, especially externally from a different country or a different culture. That definitely saved us a lot of time. I believe there’s also technical tests done in Van Hack as well, which was also really helpful. That gave us an idea, even before going into the, starting our own process, that these are the checks that were done, and was very comfortable for us.

Ilya: Very cool. Awesome. You touched on it briefly, but the visa process. How was that? How long did it take? Were they able to start remotely and onboard that way? What was your experience with the relocation in general?

Ahmed: Yeah. I would say it depends on which country. This is extremely valuable. Some places or countries have faster visa process than others. I would say, as an advice, maybe account it for a month, maybe up to two months for the visa to be processed and completed. That’s also variable from one country to the other. Sometimes it’s two weeks, sometimes it’s three or more. That’s the one part of the process that customers will need to be flexible and anticipate some delay due to the visa process.

Ilya: Definitely, yeah. Makes sense. It’s definitely the way we want to help companies through and work through all that to make sure it goes smoothly. Now it’s been, actually, coming up to, I guess, a year now that the candidates have been working with you. How have they been performing? What’s the actual results of their efforts? How are they doing?

Ahmed: Yeah. Honestly, it’s been just amazing working with them. From a technical perspective, they’re really exceeding the expectations we had. A lot of fresh ideas and creative ideas that they brought from their previous experience, adding so much to the organization. Also diverse team in terms of the background adds to not just the engineering team, but everyone, and the company. Just getting to learn and know about other cultures is amazing. Yeah, I would say from the value added, it’s definitely worth it. It adds so much diversity to the team, to the company as well.

Ilya: Very cool. Yeah, I was going to touch on the diversity part because I know that that’s something that is important to have, a balanced team in terms of cultural background, gender, age. All the different types of diversity you can find. It’s something that we like to see as something we bring to the table with the our, the VanHacker candidates bring to the table. Cool. Maybe just the last question is any tips you have for other companies that are maybe considering international hiring in general? Not necessarily through VanHack, but just looking for talent. What would you say they should look out for? You did mention a few, but maybe if there’s something else that comes to mind now?

Ahmed: Yeah, I would say the most important one for us was just keeping an open communication channel with the candidates during the period of relocation. As soon as they started the visa process, we started creating, we use Slack for our communication. We created a Slack channel with the candidates so that they can ask any questions they have, like what type of things they need to bring, and where they would stay. We would advise them on certain things to make the onboarding process, or the relocation process as easy as possible. That was super helpful for both us and the candidates.

Ahmed: Also keeping a clear onboarding process for them when they come. What kind of things they need to learn about, and places they would visit, on that front we actually had a buddy program, where each new candidate would be paired to another employee from the company. Not necessarily engineering, but they would essentially walk them through how to live in the city, what are the things they need to see, the attractions, and kind of the tips and best practices when they come in. That really helped them get integrated more quickly into the city as a society and the company as well.

Ilya: Very cool. Very cool. No, that’s a great idea, and thank you so much for sharing that. Awesome, Ahmed. I really appreciate your time, and congrats again on adding two great team members. I know they are very nice people that I like to think, from the cultural point of view, just me personally having interacted with them, you got a couple of gems. Yeah, hope all the best for Kudos as you keep scaling the team and growing the company.

Ahmed: Thanks, Ilya, and thanks to your team. We’re looking forward to working with you in the future as well.

Ilya: Perfect. Awesome. If you’re an employer looking for great tech talent, just sign up to, click on I want to hire, and see all the great developers waiting for you. Look forward to talking to you, and if you have any questions or comments, you can leave a question here on the YouTube comments section. Cool. Thanks so much, everyone, and we’ll see you next time.

Check out all the amazing tech talent ready to relocate on VanHack HERE and email with any questions.

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