Ottawa Business Journal - HR Update - - Recruitment -

ra­di­tional hir­ing meth­ods are stale, un­com­fort­able and fo­cused on the wrong things. That’s the view taken by Doug Tet­zner, Shopify’s head of tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion. For­merly a part­ner at ex­ec­u­tive search firm Odgers Berndt­son, Mr. Tet­zner was com­mis­sioned by Shopify to re­cruit a di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions. He did so by cre­at­ing a hand-drawn job de­scrip­tion us­ing pic­tures in­stead of words.

It was love at first hire and Shopify de­cided to bring him on board per­ma­nently.

Since join­ing the lo­cal com­pany early last year, Mr. Tet­zner has been help­ing Shopify rapidly ex­pand its head count us­ing un­con­ven­tional strate­gies, in­clud­ing home­made videos and job ap­pli­ca­tion cock­tail par­ties where can­di­dates are given so­cial chal­lenges to com­plete.

Mr. Tet­zner sat down with talk about his hir­ing ap­proach.


the per­son we’re go­ing to be hir­ing.

I’m both­ered when peo­ple an­swer ques­tions that haven’t been asked. They come in with an agenda. And it’s not to­tally their fault; it’s how in­ter­view­ing has been done for years and years. (Peo­ple think) you need to be on point and you need to let them know you’re strate­gic. So you’ll be like, “Where did you grow up?” and they’ll say, “Blah blah blah blah blah, I’m strate­gic!” You look up and you’re think­ing, “How did we get here?” If peo­ple are un­able to en­gage in a con­ver­sa­tion, it’s just not good. It’s not nec­es­sar­ily an in­stant write­off, but it def­i­nitely doesn’t bode well.

I’ll def­i­nitely al­low for that. I’ve had a few in­ter­views in my life, and you’re ner­vous. You’re not au­to­mat­i­cally go­ing to be your­self in those mo­ments. I will sus­pend judg­ment. It’s not about know­ing within the first 30 sec­onds or the first five min­utes, it’s about sus­pend­ing judg­ment and learn­ing some­thing about them. I know peo­ple are go­ing to be ner­vous, and I’ll try to help them open up. We’ll take a tour of the of­fice; I’ll typ­i­cally give them a pre­am­ble say­ing, “Look, this is not like a nor­mal in­ter­view,” to try and get around that. But I know peo­ple are go­ing to be ner­vous. Doug Tet­zner, Shopify’s head of tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion.

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