Tech skills or cultural fit? What matters when we recruit at Mercedes-Benz.io!

Alexandre Vaz April 5, 2019 explore.io
Alexandre Vaz

Last week, I was invited as a speaker for the Recruit Better community to talk about how leadership impacts corporate recruiting processes. The meet-up was mainly attended by recruiters who came to get inspired by current best practices. After the conference I started thinking, if other recruiters can get these insights- why shouldn’t our applicants?

During the past 2 years we recruited 100+ new people only in Lisbon. Our retention rate is over 98% and we went from hiring 2 types of profiles to more than 20.

So, if you are interested in applying to Mercedes-benz.io, here’s what you should know:

It was very clear from the beginning that for the Lisbon Hub to be successful we had to recruit the best people we could find. So we defined 3 key areas that candidates need to fulfill to be able to join us:

  1. Current skill knowledge: we want to know if you know specific topics based on your experience. These are the typical hard skills we ask for in our vacancies and we try to find out how far you are developed on these must-haves.
  2. Capacity to learn: if you want to work at Mercedes-Benz.io you have to be ready to get into new tools, processes, organizational structures in an always changing environment. The automotive industry is undergoing a massive change and so is the IT- counterpart of it. Working here means you value change instead of fearing it.
  3. Cultural fit: last but not least- at Mercedes-Benz.io we are a unified tribe- ready to stand up for each other at any time. We are team players, we listen to each others ideas and opinions, appreciate feedback and live for an open environment of exchange and improvement. If you consider yourself a lone wolf- you won’t like it here.

Now the first interviews clearly have a technical focus and our technical experts are the best people to execute and evaluate them. The last interview is called the “Culture Fit” and I always try to participate at these, making sure we keep our healthy and inspiring culture.

When you come to your final interview we care the most about how comfortable you feel in your potential new environment. You get to see the office, that somehow reflects the culture- you will understand that this is not an ordinary company and that something special is going on. When we talk we have a casual conversation where we want to get to know you, hear you out, but also tell you something about our vision and expectations (side note: we always give feedback on the phone after our interviews, even to the candidates that didn’t make it).

To finally answer the original question (and the title of this post): you can’t choose between culture fit and tech skills. You have to have both. This may sound tough to say, because it implies rejecting a lot more people and taking longer to recruit each job opening, but the benefit is unbeatable: at Mercedes-Benz.io we are a unified tribe with a powerful spirit that puts their heart and soul into creating experiences that we are proud of and we love to meet more people like us.