How on earth did we find these guys?

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As all growing top-notch tech companies, also Umbra is constantly looking for new talent. We are conducting our search in rather traditional way – we have Jobs section listing open positions at our homepage, campaigns in social media and a few headhunter agencies working in Finland and internationally.

I did a round of interviews at our office, and asked my colleagues how did they end up here. These are the results.

As some of you might now, Umbra is actually a spin off from a company called Hybrid Graphics, which was acquired by Nvidia. Our founder and CEO Otso, three of our team leads and one senior programmer worked together already during Hybrid times. They didn’t all come here when the company was founded at 2006 – they did some other career moves and joined our team between 2008 and 2010. During the early years we also found our American business genius Farhad, who knew someone who knew Otso.

In senior graphics programmer Turkka’s career story coincidence has somewhat a large role. During 2008, he had a fixed term contract in a corporation, which was doing big lay-offs. The day he heard that his contract wasn’t going to continue, he also heard that there was a recruitment fair happening at Otaniemi campus. He went there, bumped into Umbra’s tiny stand and applied.

Programmer Mikko has a history in Finnish demo scene, and he’s actually even published a game of his own. During his demo scene years he also found interest in graphics programming, and took a course on it at Aalto University. The teacher is a member of the Finnish graphics programmer community and a friend of Umbra’s. Umbra was sponsoring the course, and was of course interested in hiring the guy who got the best grades from it.

Our cloud architect Murkku and CEO Otso were introduced to each other by a common friend at a music festival, from where they also ended up to the same after party. Murkku took some detours before landing at Umbra, but he was connected to the team whole time via Destiny the game.

Vinh is our unicorn – he’s the programmer who actually came into the house via the very traditional way. He was studying in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and his teacher mentioned to him that Umbra might be suitable for his skills and interests. He applied, did an excellent coding assignment and got in.

Our Head of Communications Jenni was found – do I dare to say this – from the Internet! When our previous Head of Developer Relations left, we needed someone to pick up the slack fast. So we checked some Finnish gaming related blogs and other stuff, and found her.

Also my own story is quite classical: The game company I was working for had to scale down. My former supervisor there is also a partner at Umbra and he happened to know that they were looking for someone like me. (Programmer Otto’s story is quite similar.) From me we also get to the other classical way of successful recruitment: I met programmer Johann at a party (I actually knew his spouse already), I told about this cool place I work in, he applied and got chosen.

So, to sum it up, some numbers. In our team of 14, 5 guys had worked together before, 5 were introduced (and recommended) to Umbra by a common acquaintance, 1 was headhunted by us, and only 2 applied to an open position.

So it’s actually quite funny (and also a bit frustrating) that we keep doing the recruitment in the traditional way, when it’s easy to see that it’s not the most effective way to find new Umbrians. This is why we’re all the time brainstorming new ways to recruit – be it industry events, better PR, recruitment bonuses, new contacts in LinkedIn or what not. What’s common for these “new” ways is that they’re all actually used by someone else already. It’s obvious that there are no talismans or easy shortcuts in recruitment – but at least we know that the traditional methods aren’t the only one we should use.

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