Case Study - Tech Recruitment
13 challenging tech positions filled using direct search – 100% offer acceptance rate
Finders Seekers x Vaisala
Vaisala needed to find tech talent for its innovative weather measurement teams, so Finders Seekers and Vaisala teamed up to fill an impressive 13 roles across the collaboration.
Meet the client
Vaisala is a global technology leader and expert in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements. Vaisala aims to harness observations for a better world, a statement that encapsulates its passion for positive change. Vaisala attracts talent who want to work on exciting challenges and make a real change while working in diverse and autonomous teams.
New talent was needed to help Vaisala harness machine learning and AI to create its innovative weather measurement solutions – data that would not only ultimately benefit Vaisala customers, but also the environment more generally. Vaisala Xweather Solutions needed to grow across three core tech product teams: the Wx Horizon, Wx Beacon and RoadAI teams all needed a variety of developer roles filled, including a Cloud Data Engineer who would be building the crucial data pipeline.
Stefan Brünig, who joined Vaisala in 2019 and works as the Xweather Solutions Development Manager and heads up the three teams, describes how 2022 started off with a clear realization: “We saw in our yearly resource planning meetings that we would need many new hires to support our product push. We started wondering how we were going to build that ? At the beginning of 2022 we wouldn’t have managed without outside help”.
Stefan, who moved to Finland in 2008, is a passionate advocate of Vaisala’s working culture that prioritizes development and independence. “I don’t really see myself as a manager or a leader – I prefer being a facilitator who facilitates people to lead themselves. We trust teams to assemble themselves, to operate as autonomous product teams, with everything revolving around this cornerstone of trust”. Stefan sees it as his mission to bring developers ever-closer to Vaisala customers, fostering close customer-developer relationships by putting the customer at the center of product development by “bringing devs into the same session with sales and marketing from day one, so they really intimately understand customer experience”.
Talent-wise, Vaisala wanted to avoid any barriers to hiring, preferring lean and direct solutions. Vaisala also wanted the teams themselves to be involved from day one. Stefan wanted the focus to be on “people as individuals, not resources. It was important that we continue to build a culture of a great hiring process. So let’s put out a test balloon with Finders Seekers and select them as an agency for two Engineer positions to start with.” After an initial direct search project for a Cloud Data Engineer and a Senior Frontend Developer went really well, Stefan felt encouraged enough to jump in and commit to doubling his winning teams the Finders Seekers way. “I liked their fresh and lean approach, and there was an immediate match in terms of empathy. I found everything I needed at Finders Seekers. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience compared to what I had seen even just a few short years ago (with other agencies).”
This impressive co-created talent project relied on the tried-and-tested Finders Seekers talent strategy – done in a scalable way, without compromising on quality. In total, 13 roles were needed across 3 teams, with the recruitment period stretching from early 2022 to after the summer holidays, with roles including: Cloud Data Engineer, Senior Frontend Developer, (Senior) Full-Stack Developer, and, Android Developer.
Stefan was quick to highlight the diversity and cross-functionality of the roles offered at Vaisala, “In terms of these roles, you get the full stack of technology when it comes to data and measuring, but you also get to work in a variety of areas that you are interested in. You get to learn, and there are always multiple platforms for self-development projects – even outside of the core product. That is something I actually encourage, and this makes us better, a more connected team.”
With so many roles to fill, an ambitious approach to talent sourcing was needed. The Finders Seekers direct sourcing strategy was carried out by Linda Joyner, IT Talent Advisor, and Oksana Mysko, Talent Sourcer, project managed by Maria Vuorinen, IT Talent Advisor. As Maria explains, “this was truly an exceptional process. We had an ambitious target to hit and a timeline in which to deliver that.” Talent sourcing would be extensive, high-quality, and focus on bringing in diverse talent profiles. Maintaining a great reputation in the talent market goes without saying, especially when you are contacting so many candidates across the entire collaboration (and out of the candidates Finders Seekers presented, over 90% continued on down the hiring pipeline). “In general, we had a great response and feedback from candidates. There was a strong initial interest, especially towards the products and tech stack. In direct search cases the first touch is really important. Getting people interested and building relationships is key” Linda explains.
And even with such a wide talent pool, every single contact was nurtured – everyone had to have a great experience, no matter the outcome. The agile and process-oriented approach Finders Seekers implemented was matched by Vaisala – hiring managers engaged with the process and provided information, data, and feedback very quickly. Communication between hiring manager Stefan and the Finders Seekers team was transparent and frequent. Maria explains how “a shared Slack channel and ease of comms meant that we were actually able to present candidates immediately. It was a very reactive and agile collaboration, resulting in great outcomes for the candidates”.
"There was a quality process being created every step of the way, really involving people with building winning teams and recruiting to last."
Stefan was impressed with how quickly Finders Seekers understood the various roles, from Software Engineers to Cloud Data Engineer, and another source of praise from Stefan was “how good the pre-qualification checks and calls were. When talking to candidates, I could just jump straight in. I knew they were already on-boarded, and we could use this call and the background info from Finders Seekers as a very powerful tool to help connect the person with what we want to do. There were really no barriers and all candidates were all excellently prepared by Finders Seekers. The communication style at Finders Seekers was an exact match to me, so there was also no friction.”
Maria liked how central team discussions were to the process, and how much Vaisala truly valued diversity – Vaisala had the same mindset to building a team than to building quality software. “Here was a team that was truly, truly committed to hiring diverse teams. The first round interview was followed by a tech assignment that was an actual demo of the product under development, followed by a second round chat with team members. In addition to tech skills, Vaisala also covered team dynamics and the career development side too, something which is really commendable. There was a quality process being created every step of the way, really involving people with building winning teams and recruiting to last.”
With a 100% acceptance rate of offers after pre-closing calls, and Vaisala proceeding with over 90% of candidates presented to them by Finders Seekers, this was a scaled direct search project that delivered on both results and candidate experience. From Stefan’s point of view, Finders Seekers delivered Vaisala with a supremely tailored and high-quality direct search project: “To be honest, I had not even really seen things taken to the level that Finders Seekers did in terms of candidate experience. To know that every contact would be handled with care and empathy, that reassured me.” As Stefan highlighted, this was really about working together as a team: “To build winning teams you need to have a winning hiring team. This is something we created within the first few hours of working together. You know when you don’t even have to communicate everything – Finders Seekers just had that ability to know what we wanted.”
And delivering on numbers like these did not mean lowering the quality of the work, processes, or candidate experience. As Linda explains, “it was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. 13 roles is a challenging number to take on, and it is definitely hard work. But in the end, we had such a flow and such great processes that I wanted to do more!” In general the candidate feedback was good. The prestige of the brand, but especially the innovative technology, had people interested. “Vaisala is known for its hardware, so we wanted to highlight its software side. People appreciated the agile approach and startup mentality with cross-functional teams” adds Maria. “With something like this, you have to be very consistent and trust the process. We harnessed the Finders Seekers expertise to deliver on this. In the end, we started in February 2022 in very challenging circumstances, and had some of the teams, like the RoadAI one, fully staffed by mid-June. Even with the summer holidays, we were securing roles in July. Another thing that Maria hopes others will take away from this collaboration? “Courage. I think it’s quite extraordinary actually to have the courage and the drive to jump in and take on this many recruitments at once. And I think Vaisala did a great job of showing how that was possible. Sometimes it can be a struggle to even secure one software engineer, so this scale was a great testament to the strengths of Vaisala and our processes.”
Why we loved working with Vaisala
Something that Vaisala and Finders Seekers had in common: empathy.
After the hiring process, Stefan spoke to the candidates, and everyone he spoke with rated their recruitment process and on-boarding experience as 10/10. Maria stated: “That is another great thing about Vaisala, there is this sense that people are being genuinely looked after from day one. The fact that the Vaisala hiring managers and product owners already had people’s career development in mind during the interview process is a pretty strong testament to their commitment to support people in their careers. At Vaisala you can see that they are really a very passionate team”.
Another reason the collaboration was so successful? Fast response times how committed Vaisala hiring managers were to the process. “Stefan was not only excellent at presenting the roles and Vaisala, we also knew we could trust him to be in touch and deliver. In fact, all hiring managers were excellent, and the process at Vaisala end was so good. When it came to ideas, decisions, feedback – they delivered. This meant we could move fast, which is a huge advantage in a competitive environment.”
This shared respect for excellent candidate experience ensured Vaisala and Finders Seekers spoke the same language. As Linda highlighted: “We could not have succeeded without Stefan as a hiring manager and the team all working together. And Maria was an amazing leader in terms of leading the whole project.” Maria also wanted to highlight Linda’s role as a dedicated sourcer, plus challenge other teams to think like Vaisala: “This case is a great example of how everything is doable if you have the mindset and the courage. Think about it: could we create a team together? Can you expand or double your team with us?”
Client's perspective: working with Finders Seekers
“Very eye-opening, this is how I would define a modern hiring approach, this is how to upscale winning teams.”
For Stefan, it was an efficient and enjoyable journey – eye-opening in terms of hiring approach and upscaling winning teams. “In fact, I think Finders Seekers would have changed my world if I would have been on the candidate’s side of things years ago and they would have contacted me. I feel that personal touch has been lost over the years, but Finders Seekers are definitely bringing it back. It was really a great journey for me, but more importantly, it was a great experience for the teams, the candidates – all of them, not just the ones we hired. Everything just felt really connected and like it was genuinely about building relationships, no matter the final outcome. I always look at things from the eyes of the candidate , and with Finders Seekers I felt they were really getting a true win-win approach. No matter what, the experience was positive. And to be honest, the Finders Seekers team were really acting like that from day one, so I was really convinced from the beginning that this would be a success.”
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