Sarka, our HR Manager is the one who keeps eWay-CRM a happy place. What is her work like?
Hello and welcome to our interview. Let’s begin from a more personal side – how did you get into HR in the first place?
Here at eWay! I came here more than four years ago, and at that time, there was no HR at all. So, I had to learn how to swim! I came here as a new person and started dealing with HR.
What did you do before?
I came to eWay from maternity leave. Before that, I worked in a branch office of a phone operator. I was a Sales Rep, so my whole career has been connected to contact with people.
That means you love working with people?
Yes, but there are also exceptions! (laughing)
Have you always wanted to work in this field?
Not at all! Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was fond of English but studying Anglistics didn’t work out. I tried Philosophy and History of Art, but that didn’t work out either. So, I stopped studying and started working!
What do you enjoy about working in eWay-CRM?
My job is super flexible and when I need to work from home, for example when my daughter is sick, there is no problem with that. I like working here. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here anymore! (laughing)
Can we say that most of the processes you are following have also been established by you? Because it was you who laid the foundation of HR here.
It somehow worked beforehand as well. The interviews were led by directors and managers themselves. A young lady, who worked here before me, was in charge of preselecting CVs.
However, the way it is now, that’s mostly only my job. We also completely changed our job advertisements so that they correspond with our overall communication.
We went from the classical brief advertisement with information organized into points to a more modern and attractive text. The old version was not suitable for the positions which are challenging to find people for. It’s important to catch the attention of good people. There are loads and loads of advertisements saying: “we are looking for this and this, we require that and that,” the key is to step out of the line. I adjusted the advertisements and gave them a freer form, I cooperated with the marketing department. For example, when looking for marketers, the advertisement can be longer and use a word play, one for programmers should be brief and full of facts. This is how we get closer to the candidates.
To sum it up – yes, I have brought a lot of ideas myself, but there is a great team here and I am never alone! I always know I have someone to turn to.
How much do you work with eWay-CRM yourself? Do you have a favorite feature?
Mainly concerning time sheets. At the moment, I am extracting monthly reports from eWay. I work with projects too, and I search for contact details of clients. I work with eWay-CRM on a daily basis.
And something I like? We put photos into eWay! When a new employee comes to our company, I introduce them to everyone and then I tell them: “Here you can find a photo attached to each user.” That helps them with orientation before they manage to remember everyone.
How do you choose good employees? What helps you decide?
That differs with every position. In most cases, we look for programmers. My first step is to ask the technical director Roman and the CEO Jan who exactly we are looking for. Based on that information, I use the general advertisement and if needed, I adjust it.
Then I start selecting people who have contacted us because I know exactly what we need from them. At this stage I work with CVs and I mainly focus on the knowledge of the candidate. And sometimes, not everything is in the advertisement, some details are known only by me.
Then I invite candidates for an interview, and I organize the first round. I have to be fast, because good programmers are in high demand. Next rounds are usually led by Jan or Roman and these are more technically orientated. This is where we find out whether the candidate was telling the truth in their CV. At this point, the candidate is also given a practical task to solve. Later we have a look at their work during another interview and they get the chance to explain what they did, how, and why.
When we are looking for sales reps or marketers, I am more in charge of the selection. For example, with a sales rep, I focus on their self-presentation, on their plans, and what they would like to achieve, but also on the way they talk about their previous job. If there are more candidates for these positions, I assign them a task too, so that they can show their skills.
At this point I usually choose four to five people and I move them to Jan. Then it’s his turn to choose the right people for his team.
What kind of people are we looking for? Who is a job at eWay-CRM suitable for?
Anybody. Old, young, fat, thin, women, men. (laughing).
We really don’t care about age, language, skin color, etc. at all. We probably couldn’t hire somebody who would be extremely hateful. That probably wouldn’t work in any company. I can’t say that we are looking for someone specific, a particular character, everybody here is different.
The important thing is whether the person really wants to work here. And that is something we can see already at an interview – who really wants to work and who just want to sit through a couple hours and make some money without loving the job.
That is something we can’t see from a CV, but we can tell from a conversation with the candidate.
What else is a part of the evaluation of a candidate? Is it experience, education, skills proven at an interview?
The most important for us is experience, education can be a plus, however, we do not see it as crucial. Actually, sometimes it’s not even the experience, but probably something like talent. We had programmers here who were still in school. Those may only be getting experience, but we know about them already. The things they have learned themselves show diligence, talent, and a sense for programming. And later on, we help them develop their knowledge and experience.
Or if it is a very experienced person, we don’t care about all the positions they went through and their years of experience. What we are interested in is whether the person has the skills necessary for the position.
That means the person should be tractable and open?
I’d say mostly open. At eWay-CRM, we don’t want people to stagnate and concentrate just on one thing. Being a small team, we do have programmers concentrating on their very specific area, however, the bigger their grip, the better for us. That enables them to share experience among each other, replace each other, be adaptable.
Is there a funny "filming story"? Some kind of an HR curiosity?
People are sometimes extraordinary. We got contacted by a man who was being followed by aliens.
And he wanted to hide in our offices?
No, he hid in a foreign country. However, there he got tracked down by a secret service, so according to my information, he had to come back to the Czech Republic.
Another person I remember very well – he sent us a CV already some years ago and now again. On the title page, there was a sentence in capital letters: “I AM A SOFTWARE ENGINEER – I START IMMEDIATELY AND I AM 100 % EFFICIENT AFTER 60 MINUTES.” That really caught my attention! Unfortunately, I never managed to schedule an interview with this man.
Sounds like your job is not boring at all! What are the skills necessary for a job in HR? What are your strengths?
It’s good to be persistent when it comes to aggressive people, on the other hand to stay nice to people and not to scare them. I often meet students who have never been to an interview before, or quite the opposite – people who haven’t changed their job for a very long time. Both these groups are full of doubt. It is necessary to show them there is no need to worry.
So, it’s mostly about “human skills.” Would you call yourself a person with a good estimate for people?
I think so. It’s necessary as well as a huge patience, needed for internal HR as well. I always try to remain nice, assertive, and ready to help.
We talked to Sarka, the HR Manager of eWay-CRM. Sarka has been working for eWay-CRM since 2014.