Oh, the wonderful month of December… That special time when everything slows down in anticipation of Christmas celebrations and finally gives way to complete, almost-magical stillness towards New Year’s Eve. Or does it?
Noveo offices are buzzing even in late December: project kick-offs, contract renewals, ramp-ups… Forget the year-end peace and quiet – everyone is just as busy as they were during any other month; it’s just that now it all feels extra festive thanks to fairy lights everywhere.
During this transitional period, our HR managers can be easily named as the busiest people out there – making sure all of the projects are staffed for the next year, reviewing everyone’s performance, planning training programs and classes… Interestingly enough, this year’s peak of HR-related activities in Noveo also coincided with the highest number of HR-themed projects we’ve ever had running in parallel. Except, was that really a coincidence..? Guess not! Of course, it was impossible for us to ignore this fun fact, so we decided to celebrate the occasion in the best way we know – by sharing some of the developed solutions with you, and even spilling some secrets about our internal HR tools (shh!). Hope you’re as excited as we are – let’s begin!
Chapter one. Generalising isn’t always bad
It’s no news that job boards come in all shapes and sizes – which, in most cases, means that the exact same information about recruiters and candidates is presented in myriads of ways across different websites. And whilst it’s a pretty common practice, sometimes we can’t help but wonder what a relief it would’ve been if everything was uniform and didn’t confuse our brains with such intricate layouts. You know, so that the time could be spent on actually analysing the applicant’s profile instead of trying to find where the ‘Soft Skills’ section is located on our screen. If only something could be done about this…
One of our French customers devised a solution that gathers data from various job boards across Europe and integrates it into a special centralised system. This way, the user can easily find all the necessary information about the positions opened both in their own country and everywhere around the EU – without ever having to leave the platform. It’s rather obvious how such a solution can be useful to those looking for a job, but what’s in it for the ones looking for a candidate? Well, firstly, it helps HR managers to monitor the whole European market, and secondly, it allows them to preserve their energy by reducing the number of required postings to one. Let us explain. For example, a big corporation is searching for new sales representative profiles for their offices in Paris, Berlin and Madrid. Normally, a recruiter would create an announcement with the offer on every career website of the respective countries, whereas with the customer’s platform, it’s only needed to publish a single posting and indicate the cities for application – nothing more.
In this project, Noveo was responsible for the development of the service’s API, backend and back office from scratch. The main challenge faced by our team was directly related to the fact that, naturally, every job board had its own database format and specific standards of storing and presenting different materials. Because of that, our first and foremost goal was to create a solution that could convert the data into one general style and only then integrate it into the customer’s standalone system. Plus, since the career websites we worked with were based all around Europe, the information came in in all the different languages – from English to Czech and beyond – which complicated the task even further. Fortunately, the Noveo team overcame every obstacle and successfully developed an ML solution that perfectly met the project’s needs (with the use of none other than Elixir’s Phoenix framework, by the way). Nowadays our developers are focused on expanding the existing functionality and continuously improving the platform, so we wish them the best of luck on their mission!
When it comes to our internal projects, there hasn’t really been a need to build our own job board so far – what we did need, however, was a tool that could transform all the different-looking CVs into a single fixed format, making it easier to look through the profiles and create future staffing plans. Having quite a vast experience both in hiring and IT, our developers and HR managers joined their forces and came up with a solution that automatically generates CVs following our company’s standard layout and design. All you have to do is fill in a simple form, while the service retrieves the information from the Noveo database and completes the employee’s ‘Work Experience’ with details about the projects they participated in (such as technology stack, role, list of responsibilities, etc.). Our division managers and tech leads can update their team members’ data at any time, which means that our HR department always has the latest information about every Noveo employee and, if needed, can export their CV to present to the customer. Pretty neat, right?
Chapter two. Testing, testing, 1-2-3
Taking a test can be a very important, if not crucial, part of a job interview: some recruiters check the candidate’s technical expertise, some look into the person’s key motivators, and some are interested in all of the above – plus many other criteria. Let’s see what was the case for our second customer.
The second HR solution we’d like to share with you is dedicated to predictive hiring. The customer offers the recruiters an innovative service that conducts an online assessment of the applicants’ personality, motivation and cognitive ability. Once the test is complete, the web app determines which positions will be perfect for the candidate and which ones might not be the best options out there – either simply because some of the key indicators are off, or because the person risks to not realise their full potential in that particular kind of job (and, let’s be honest, nobody wants that to ever happen). It’s worth mentioning here that the solution is based on the analysis of millions of portfolios, taking into consideration not only successful stories, but a hefty dose of career failures as well – which makes for truly high accuracy of the results provided at the end of the assessment. Moreover, the database is getting bigger and bigger daily, so the AI is constantly improving its already impressive analytical skills and can be even more efficient in its task of predicting professional growth of the test takers.
Now on to our project with the customer. As is the case with the majority of digital products, client companies can gain full access to the platform’s functionality only after purchasing licenses for their employees. On the one hand, the procedure is pretty much standard, but on the other, every new HR manager joining the team should create an account on the customer’s website and request necessary access rights. Bearing in mind that license assignment and access management in our situation were done by the Customer Support, an ordinary addition of a member to the company had quickly turned into a rather long and complicated process. So, to make this part of the user’s experience less cumbersome, it was decided to create an admin interface and grant local admin rights to the clients’ HR department heads.
The Noveo team was entrusted with the development of the interface in question – namely, with the modification of admin policies, implementation of new pages as well as database tables, integration of Stripe and so on. As a result, HR directors could finally control the accounts of their company’s HR team, edit recruiters’ profiles, change access rights, purchase and distribute licenses among the managers – without having to wait for the Customer Support to handle their requests. Consequently, the CS staff got more time to help the users that actually needed some technical assistance and no longer lost it on assigning licenses to thousands of recently joined HR managers.
Chapter three. Never stopping halfway
Found the candidate, signed the contract, introduced the person to the team – is that it for the HR manager? Well, judging by the very name of this profession one can rightfully guess that HR activities also include management of the personnel – a mission that naturally follows the recruitment and is in fact way more significant than most people tend to think. Guiding employees on their professional journey, finding ways for them to grow and creating a healthy work environment so that everyone feels welcome and strives to do their best… Behind the scenes, HR managers take care of it all – and then some. In this final chapter, we invite you to take a look at how IT allows these busy bees to keep track of everything going on inside the company and not forget about the tiniest details.
Not that long ago the Noveo team created a module for evaluating the performance of the customer’s staff – the solution represents a brief overview of the worker’s latest achievements and acquired knowledge, as well as a special web form used to define areas for improvement. The employee gets a chance to assess their growth and decide what skills they’d like to develop and strengthen in the following months, while the HR manager can use this feedback to better prepare for the upcoming annual evaluation interview and, therefore, have a more productive discussion with the said employee.
Our developers also implemented a ‘try-out’ feature that later turned out to be one of the ‘hottest’ among the users. Essentially, it allowed them to compare the interviewee’s skillset with the one required for the open position and facilitate internal mobility: like that, if the employee’s been considering changing their job field, they can easily check whether they are well suited for a specific profession inside the company and simply switch departments. Or, in case the HR manager thinks about promoting a staff member, they now can ‘fit’ the person’s profile into the new role and see how good of a match the two are – eliminating any bias and making their decision based on objective criteria.
And last but not least, Noveo’s Performance Review (PR) tool. A bit similar to the solution above, this internal service helps our HR department in conducting regular evaluations of the employees’ work and collecting feedback – not only from the ‘subject’ of assessment but from their colleagues and superiors as well. For example, about a week prior to the developer’s interview, our HR manager sends out customised questionnaires to the person’s team members (think other developers, QA engineers, analysts), their tech lead, project and division managers. As a result, the HR manager gets access to the full context of the interviewee’s life in the company, can identify problems arising in their work and start planning some preliminary mitigation actions. The survey also allows the employee – or the developer in our case – to have some time to think about their responses and comfortably reply to the questions, noting down everything they find important and worth further discussion with the manager.
During the development of the PR tool, our team paid the closest attention to data protection: since feedback had to be collected from multiple people at once, it was essential to not let them see each other’s comments and keep everyone’s privacy intact. Thanks to the strict hierarchy system, the only person that can see all questionnaire answers and results of the performance interview is the HR manager who organised it – however, if there’s a need to share some of the details with the employee’s tech lead or a division manager (for example, to determine how to strengthen the developer’s Python skills), it can be done with a little ‘switch’ next to every gathered response. Thus, our HR managers are always in control of confidential information and don’t have to worry about someone accessing it without their knowing.
The second most requested thing to be implemented was the Performance Review history: every survey and PR report is stored in order to enable our HR managers to keep track of the employees’ progress from one interview to another, as well as to ensure that everything that was touched upon during the conversation is taken into account and not left without any follow-up from either side. On top of that, a convenient notification system reminds the managers about pending PRs and automatically generates questionnaire forms for all upcoming interviews – the person in charge only has to hit ‘Send’ and set the time for the meeting. All hail smart automation processes!
As you’ve already guessed, there are a lot more solutions than we could ever fit into a single blog post – so we might as well round off our article here ;) Once again, a big thank you to all our customers for giving us the opportunity to collaborate with them on such exciting projects, and to our HR managers for making sure everyone at Noveo stays on top of their game!
Happy holidays, and see you in the new year!