4 min. read
Categories: Holacracy
How to run a recruitment process in a Holacratic way?
How to run a recruitment process in a Holacratic way?

Hello, this is Ania – formerly one-person human resources department – now Lead Link of the People & Partnership Circle and Recruitment Scout of Sylius. I would like to tell you a very enlightening story about how hard it was to come up with a comprehensive and coherent recruitment process compatible with all Holacracy principles.


Too many “bubbles”, too little people

A few months after signing the Holacratic Constitution, our structure became quite big since a lot of new circles and ever more roles have been created. That’s why we’ve decided, we need new energy. First attempts to create a process were disastrous. After answering one question three or more new occurred.
Who should post the job advertisement? Who should select CVs and call candidates with the first pre-screening? Who should run the interview? And the two most important ones: Who should decide about giving an offer, and who should set the first compensation for the new Partner?


All for one – let’s do it together!

As a whole, we’ve decided all of us should have an impact on the decision about every newcomer. As I had an experience in HR area I created the first job advertisement and passed it to the Partners to see if it is corresponding with their feelings regarding the person we need to recruit. All CVs were examined by EVERYONE in the company. It didn’t matter whether the Partner had or didn’t have any expertise or even basic knowledge in the area. We were deciding together who we would like to invite for an interview. People with the required knowledge and Paweł (Lead Link of the General Company Circle) took part in the F2F interviews then all necessary information was spread along the Partners. People, who participated in interviews decided who should join Sylius, after that the first salary and type of  contract were set according to candidates financial expectations and labor market statistics.

As one may say – “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. We had involved too many people in one process. So, we decided to do it in a different way.


Recruiting unit? A circle

The next idea was to close each recruitment process within a specific circle. Do we need a Social Media Ninja, or a Marketing Executive? Let the Outreach do the job! Problem? Recruitment isn’t as easy of a process as it may seem. It takes a lot of time and effort to run it properly. Basically, it costs one full-time person who will take care of each step and each candidate. The communication between recruiting circle (let’s stick with Outreach) and recruitment-related role from People & Partnership (that was me) was very, very hard. We weren’t sure about who should work on each step, there were no clear accountabilities noted down in the structure of Outreach, what’s more, there wasn’t even a clear purpose of the Recruitment Scout role. Everything got messy and annoying, but we managed to recruit our Marketing Rock Star (not a real name of a role). Lucky us.


The light at the end of a tunnel

As we have learned two important lessons till this moment, we decided to iterate even more and try our best to create the best possible process. And the challenge we faced was a serious one as we were going to recruit one or more Software Developers. And to be honest, technical recruitments were always a tough nut to crack for me.

So I sat down in a quiet room and thought of how it should look like, what do I want to achieve and how to do it in a Holacratic way. And now it’s time to boast about the final outcome.


Recruitment Landmark

Now, a Partner who feels a need for more energy should raise tension during a General Company Circle meeting or write a post on our internal communication platform. During the Advice Process, we check if there are no obstacles to run the recruitment (mostly financial).

Then the Person who feels the need for more energy – let’s call him “Recruiting Partner” – sets a meeting with Recruitment Scout (and Partners, who would like to help). During the meeting, they set requirements, compensation proposition, and create a spine for job advertisement. Recruitment Scout creates and posts an ad on chosen channels then creates a database (shared to everyone) of CVs. Recruiting Partner with the help of Partners with adequate expertise decides who should get a call and therefore be invited to an interview, and who should be rejected via e-mail (as a Recruitment Scout, I’m executing those steps).

Interviews are divided into two parts – soft skills (teamwork, self-management, language checks etc.) which are run by Recruitment Scout, and hard skills (experience on a similar position, tech-check etc.) ran by Recruiting Partner and Partners with expertise. There are about three to four Partners on an interview, and believe me, it is still comfortable for the candidate.

There is a brief meeting after each interview, which any Partner can join and listen to the opinions of interviewers. At the end of the process, after all interviews, Recruiting Partner decides which candidate should be offered the position.

The offer is given by Recruitment Scout, an agreement is signed, and done. 

Recruitment Process is over, we have a perfect newcomer.


It probably seems like a child’s play to you now when everything has been explained, but trust me, it was a big issue to spread responsibility across the team during such an important process. At the end of the day the base of Holacracy, so trust and equality of power, help us with coming up with the best possible solution for now.


Right now, over a year after introducing Holacracy, we’ve recruited four new Partners (and, may I say now, also friends). It’s been an incredibly exciting journey, even though it was full of slip-ups. And between us, I get quite emotional when it comes to being a part of this and honestly I consider this process to be not only mine but everyone’s great success on our Holacratic adventure.


If you are also from a Holacratic Organisation, let us know what is your idea for recruitment. I am sure we can learn a lot from each other.


And if you think creating this process was an adventure, wait for the post about On-boarding – the surprise-process which came out of nowhere when I was taking a deep breath after setting down Recruitment 🙂


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