Last summer, Phase2's BuilDesign entered its fourth year with a lot of excitement and a bit of pressure—considering past successes from previous classes.
BuilDesign is a program specifically created to recruit and foster the next generation of talent at Phase2.
The 12-week program brings together development, design, project and product management—and gives participants the opportunity to learn as a team with our top leaders at the agency. Each apprentice is not only given a specific course of study, but also matched up with a Phase2 mentor (along with guidance from management).
As has been the case in years past, a balance of process and intuition was vital to our approach for BuilDesign 2018. Additionally, we wanted to stay true to our continued values under the Phase2 Diversity and Inclusion initiative.
We set forth to light up all of these priorities, in what would be the largest hiring class in our four years of BuilDesign. To tackle the challenge, we broke the process down into some key, approachable steps:
We wanted to really get the word out there for BuilDesign 2018 and make sure we had a large pool of applicants. We leveraged online postings, blog responses, employee referrals, some university sites, and even received applications from folks we had met at conferences and local developer events.
We certainly saw diversity in the overall group of applicants, from people with roots from all across the globe, to candidates who had former careers as musicians and teachers. The result was impressive and very high volume for us—as we ended up receiving hundreds of applicants, overall. To fit our hiring goals, we would have to triage to accept a select 5%.
Strength in Size, Variety & Geography
One person should never review 250 applications.
Therefore, we enlisted the help of a dozen or so Phase2 folks from around the country—many of whom were already spearheading the curriculum for BuilDesign 2018—and “divided” the applicants for review. We were very careful to look for the same, or similar, skills and traits on resumes. (These were predetermined items that we agreed upon prior to BuilDesign and very much in alignment with Phase2’s overall criteria.)
We took about a week+ to sort through applicants, and reconnected as a group with our thoughts.
A resume—and sometimes an adjacent portfolio—can only tell so much of someone’s story.
We wanted to give applicants a chance to express themselves more completely; and, more specifically—how they felt their skills were relevant to BuilDesign 2018.
Through our initial evaluation, we sent out follow-up notes to the top applicants. Each application contained some instructions and eight questions in which the candidate could really express, in their own words, why they were going to be a match for BuilDesign 2018.
The majority of the applicants replied with excitement, but what really stood out were the candidates who were able draw specific parallels between their skills and interests and the needs and opportunities at Phase2.
But, the best-of-the-best applicants expressed this alignment with creativity and passion.
From that group of responses, we then set 30-minute interviews for qualifying applicants over a two-day period in our Portland, OR office. In total, there were 25 interviews over sixteen hours and 11 Phase2 participants!
(It was an intense two days, but the interviewing team was certainly ready.)
So, after 250 applications, two days of interviews, 12 weeks of the BuilDesign program, and six offers—we’re excited to announce our BuilDesign graduates (and newest full team members):
Ian Goodrich - Associate Developer
Jennifer Grace - Associate Developer
Melinda Lease - Associate UI Designer
Alla Nikiforov - Associate Creative Designer
Brittany Peters - Associate Product Manager
Abel Trotter - Associate Developer