Cold calls, unsolicited emails and LinkedIn messages from recruiters are received all too frequently by hiring managers in all sectors, everywhere. So when Jennie Sanford, Head of Operations at Proposify, was first approached by VanHack – an online platform that matches employers with top tech talent from around the world and helps relocate them – she was a little unsure. 

“I get approached by recruitment firms, international firms and international candidates directly constantly, but because it was funneled through our CEO and Volta, I did talk to them,” Sanford said. 

Proposify is an alumni of Volta, and VanHack is one of its Corporate Partners. 

“So I spoke with Ash Kumar, Growth Lead at VanHack, and he explained that for essentially the same price as local recruiters, they could offer an established pool of candidates internationally; that they could help us also navigate getting them here fairly quickly and inexpensively on work permits through various Canadian Government work permit programs,” she said.  

It turns out, the timing was right for the Volta Alumni company, Proposify. The Halifax-based SaaS company that helps sales teams create, send and track proposals and contracts, was going through a period of growth, and needed to hire multiple developers quickly. 

“We are fairly good at getting resumes in, but we were looking at a gap we had in terms of how many people we have and how many people we needed in the short term, and we needed to fill those roles quickly,” she said. “What really got me was the timeline and turnaround that they could get people here in four to eight weeks, or four to six weeks in terms of hiring, and then them landing and starting work with us within a month and a half.”

But what really piqued her interest was a two-day hiring fair that VanHack was hosting in São Paulo, Brazil in March 2019. 

“They also told us about this funding available through the Canadian Government to actually fly us down to Brazil for their recruitment fair, where they had almost 200 vetted developers at this fair that we could interview in person,” Sanford said. 

So, two team members hopped on a plane for one of the most unique hiring processes she’s ever experienced.

“We were given a room and they had two handlers for us waiting outside the room that were bringing the people up, so that we could just sit there and interview, interview, interview. None of the work had to be done by us,” Sanford said. 

“We just said who we wanted to interview; they scheduled them and shuffled them and all of that. It was very well run that way, and … they were also hosting a hackathon for the developers at the same time, so it wasn’t like they were just sitting around waiting to be interviewed – it was something for them to do as well.” 

Kumar added that Proposify’s experience was a bit unique, since not all of their events are in person; many are virtual. 

“They met with 36 people in two days,” Kumar recalled. “They did a lot of interviews in those two days over the weekend, and then they got to spend some time in Brazil before coming back and making job offers.”

The Proposify team hired six developers in total – including Pablo Castro, a software developer. 

“It was an amazing experience. People from VanHack are so kind. They helped us with everything, like sometimes, we don’t know how to deal with people because we are in front of a computer all day long – so they taught us,” Castro said. “They selected us as people with the technical skills they know are good enough or are a good fit for the company, and they always helped us improve our relationship skills, and how we deal with people. It was fantastic.”

He added that, though there was a lot of excitement and eagerness to start a new life in Canada, moving to a new country was “tough,” but the Proposify team helped with the adjustment.  

“When I got here to Proposify, it was fantastic because everyone here is like family. The company is amazing and the whole experience has changed my life,” Castro said. “Here at Proposify, we have more than 10 countries represented working here; it sums up Canada because there are people from every single place around the world here, and I like to meet everyone with the different foods and different cultures, it’s amazing. It’s been a huge experience.” 

Celebrating their office’s diversity continues to be an important part of the team’s culture, too. 

“We are already doing things like celebrating Diwali or Lunar New Year, and we had one gentleman that was a new Canadian from Brazil, so he was really excited to have some new friends. He stepped up to talk to them before they came, to really give them a realistic expectation of what it’s like to work here and also, what it’s like living in Halifax specifically, not just Canada,” Sanford said. 

“We tried to support them as a company, which lots of people helped with. We always pick them up at the airport; we had employees contribute in terms of making a master list of, say, apartments that they would recommend living in … We try to be friendly, involved, and share different celebrations with everyone as it is, so it just added another element that there’s more representation in the office,” she said.  

Rafael Cardoso was also hired by Proposify as a software developer during that career fair in Brazil. He noted that VanHack’s help with mock interviews and preparations really helped him be successful with his job hunt – and he couldn’t be happier with his decision to accept the role. 

“This is an entirely new life because when I did the interview, I was also preparing myself for my wedding. In my life, it was a big change. In two months, I changed my entire life – where I lived, habits and other stuff. It’s very exciting because when we decided to move to another country for something that we wanted, in my case, I was looking for a place to start my family. When I arrived here, it was like the perfect fit to what I wanted,” Cardoso said. “The moment when you receive the job offer until you arrive here, it’s very exciting because you are eager to be here, but also you are afraid of all this change. It’s very interesting.” 

Kumar explained that for companies looking to hire, they, “… qualify them so that they understand what it’s going to take to hire an international engineer – which includes a bit of paperwork for the company. We qualify them that way and then they are able to create an account, post their jobs and then we assist them with vetting the candidates.

“VanHack then has a role in curating a list of candidates that could be a fit for them. They go through the interview process, and once they are done, we assist with the paperwork for the company,” he added.   

For candidates seeking employment, Kumar explained that they sign up, create a profile – including their resume, Github link, social media profiles, and including technical testing results. Then, they apply for  jobs, are coached on how to interview well, and when the company hires, VanHack does the paperwork and helps the person relocate. 

“We definitely liked working with them and we would certainly do it again,” Sanford said. 

As teams around the world continue to navigate COVID-19, VanHack’s recruitment is all taking place virtually to help connect senior developers with positions in other countries, and will help them relocate when the health situation is back to normal around the world. Visit the Proposify and VanHack websites to learn more. 

This advertorial shares Proposify’s experience hiring software developers with Volta’s Corporate Partner, VanHack in March 2019.

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