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Freedom, creativity, trust – the Codecool way of work

Want to know more on what is like working at a startup, what is like working at Codecool? Read Future Talent's interview with Codecool's Recruitment Manager, Bora Illés!

Those who admire freedom at work, who can proactively look for solutions if a challenge arise, and who don’t mind that there are no beaten paths will most probably enjoy working at a startup, says Bora Illés, Recruitment Manager of Codecool.

Future Talents Consulting Ltd, a headhunting, coaching and advisory firm asked Codecool’s Recruitment Manager, Bora Illés on what’s like working at a startup and what kind of skills and personality makes someone a good fit for being a startup employee. For the answers read the summary of the Facebook Live interview!

Could you please introduce Codecool?

Codecool is Hungary-based programming school which offers full-stack developer and IT specialist courses for young adults, who would like to change their career and get a job in the IT sector. Our main product is the 12-months long full-stack developer course, but this year we started offering more specialized short courses as well. I’ve been working for Codecool for 3 years as a Recruitment Manager. My responsibilities are to support graduates in successfully landing a job in IT. I organize trial interviews with HR and tech rounds, where I conduct the HR part, and I’m working closely together with our corporate partners to find the best possible candidates for them. I’ve also been involved in internal recruitment activities before, where I was looking for the best fit for Codecool.

Is there a specific startup culture?

Every startup is built around an innovative product which they would like to upscale and bring to the international market as soon as possible. This determines the culture to a large extent. We are for example a very flat organisation with a very limited hierarchy built in the system. The freedom you have while you are working at a startup is also empowering. You can literally build the company and have an impact on its future as the whole organisation is in the making. We hire people who we have trust in, and who can proactively manage the challenge which comes with freedom. Because no one will be there saying that we used to do things this or that way, so you have to follow this path.

Is working at a startup a good choice for everyone?

Based on my experience those people who enjoy creating new things and processes are creative and free thinkers enjoy this culture more. Those who like to know the frames and processes of their work might feel uncomfortable with the quickly changing environment at a startup.

What are the aspects you take into consideration when recruiting a new colleague?

When I joined Codecool we only had two locations, Miskolc and Budapest, with about 15 people at the Budapest school. That time it was really important to us to hire only people who are a good fit for everyone. The company was like a small family back then so trust and sympathy were the most important aspects at recruitment. Now we have five locations in three different countries, our processes had to change. We have a 3-round interview now for the candidates. First a half-an-hour phone call followed by a tech interview with the respective team leader and as a closure a soft skill interview. If there’s time we like to introduce the candidate to as many employees as possible mostly in the frame of a lunch.

I’m regularly involved in soft skill interviews which we mostly conduct in pairs. The one-hour long discussion starts with the candidate’s introduction of the skills he/she is proud of and those ones too which he/she would like to improve. Then we talk about Codecool’s culture and our core values and give real-life examples on how we actually operate along those values. At the end we try to dissuade the candidate from joining Codecool. I know this sounds weird, but telling them how we malfunction sometimes or what we are annoyed with during the daily work brings one of our core values, transparency into the discussion. It also can help people to decide whether this culture suits them or not.

What kind of open positions do you have right now?

We are always looking for mentors who can introduce programming and other IT professions to our students. Our mentors are senior programmers, who spent years in the IT sector and can teach what the market really needs. We have an open Office Manager position in Budapest right now as well, and we are looking for a Recruiter to the Hungarian student recruitment team.