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.