What to look for when hiring new employees


As founders of a growth company like Agile Work Antti Pitkänen and Esa ‘Esmi’ Santamäki have read their share of job applications, so we asked them what makes them interested in an applicant. At least one thing is for sure — the applicant’s degree is not the most important thing. 

Is there anything special that applicants don’t mention in their application but would make you transfer them to the YES stack? What would you prefer to see? 

Esmi: Entrepreneur mindset. Experience and/or passion for workplace design and development. Fail fast and forward-thinking, be ready to kill your darlings. 

Antti: Passion for what you are doing. We are always looking for people who are interested in learning new things and working in an agile team challenging each other.  Explain how you approach and solve even complex problems. Great visual presence in the application is always a plus. 

Meeting room grey

How can the applicant prepare for the interview? What makes the right impression? 

Esmi: Study the field, give your feedback and show what you think. How do you see the field, how do you define Agile Work? Be prepared to discuss your long-term plans as well. Where are you going and how can we help you get there.

Antti: Understanding our business is the key. Do your background research and tell us what you would bring as part of the team and what you would like to focus on in the future. Know why our company would be a match for you.

Is there some specific quality that you’re looking for in applicants, and how do you assess it?

Esmi: Designers with an engineering mindset, and engineers that can think like designers. Team players that are willing to learn from others. Maybe we can’t find the best of the best, but together we can learn from each other to be the best team. 

Antti: We work together with our clients. It’s good to have experience in client work and good people skills. You need to be a team player.

Any secret tips to share for the applicants?

Esmi: We don’t know you, you don’t know us. We can’t see the future.  So drop us a line, record a video, tell us about you and what you want to do and how you could help us grow. Future positions are to be invented. 

Antti: Feel free to try ways to stand out and tell your own story. Describe your own work process and how you solve things. We want to know why people want to work for us and how we can help them to flourish in their careers.

How about some advice for other growth company owners?

Esmi: Finding the right talent is crucial. Really try to get to know each other already in the recruiting process, be open and honest. It’s always a leap of faith, trust is essential.

Antti: Make time for the onboarding process, getting the new team members quickly and efficiently integrated into the team is in everyone’s best interest.

Want to work with us? See our open positions and apply!