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How a Turkish Self-Managing Company Solved Its Hiring Problem with a Dating Approach

Joost Minnaar
Written by Joost Minnaar February 11, 2024

Finding the right people for your self-managed company is hard. You need more than skills and qualifications. You need someone who fits your culture, vision, and values. Someone who can work with your team and achieve your goals. But how do you find such a person? How do you avoid hiring the wrong one? The one who will quit, fail, or clash. This was the challenge that Latro Kimya, a Turkish self-managed company, faced. And this is how they solved it.

Latro Kimya

Some time ago we interviewed Latro Kimya's founder Haluk Can Hur for one of our Bucket list interviews (available on our Academy platform). Latro Kimya is a self-managed company in Turkey that produces and sells industrial chemicals.

Latro Kimya has a very unique and innovative company culture. They have no bosses, no hierarchy, no rules, and no limits. They call themselves explorers, and they value freedom, transparency, responsibility, and learning. They work on projects that they are passionate about, and they have full autonomy and ownership over their work.

However, in the interview Haluk also shared how their company culture is challenging and demanding. It requires a lot of self-discipline, self-motivation, self-awareness, courage, creativity, and curiosity. Moreover, it requires trust, respect, and collaboration. But also a lot of trial, error, and feedback. Basically, in the end it requires owning your shit, as they say.

Hire and fire your own team members

At Latro Kimya, the employees also enjoy the right to hire and fire their own team members. They thought that this would empower the teams and make them more accountable and responsible. However, this turned out to be not as simple as it sounds. The company faced a lot of problems and failures along the way.

The company learned this the hard way, when they gave the power of hire and fire to the teams. They thought that the teams would know best who to hire and who to let go. However, this resulted in a lot of people leaving the company within a month or two. It was a painful and costly experience for the company and the employees.

The company realized that they were doing something wrong. They realized that they needed:

  • a different way of screening and selecting the candidates,
  • to look for people who could take responsibility for their own actions and decisions,
  • to see the candidates in action,
  • and, to make the hiring process more fun and engaging.
Latro Blog

The dating approach

To solve their hiring problem, the company came up with their so-called 'dating approach.' This approach consist of three distinct steps:

  • the date,
  • the flirt,
  • and the fiancé.

Everyone that gets hired by the company now needs to go through these three steps. It gives everyone, including the candidates, enough time and space to get to know each other.

This is how each step works.

Step 1. The Date

The first step is the date. In this step, the company invites the candidate for a one or two hour zoom call, or a face-to-face meeting.

It is called a date because it is not a one-sided interview, but a mutual exploration. The company and the candidate both ask questions and check each other out, just to see if there is a potential match.

If both parties see and experience a potential match, they move on to step 2.

Step 2. The Flirt

The second step is the flirt. In this step, the company asks the candidate to join them for a couple of days of work in the office - the candidate is compensated for their time and expenses.

This step is called the flirt because it is a casual and fun way of exploring how it is to work together. It enables them to experience how they interact in a real work environment - to have a chat, tea breaks, and lunch together.

This step is all geared to see if there is a good mutual fit. If that fit is there, they move on to step 3.

Step 3. The Fiancé

The third step is the fiancé. In this step, the company offers the candidate a two-month trial period. They call it a fiancé because the candidate does not receives a formal working contract, but both parties show a serious commitment to each other.

During this step, the company and the candidate both agree work together for two months and see if they can work well together. They want to see if there is a lasting bond.

If that lasting bond is built, then the candidate will receive a formal working contract, and that is directly the end of their 'dating approach.' Because, just like in a marriage, you need to go through all the steps before you tie the knot.

An improved hiring process

The 'dating approach' turned out to be a successful way of hiring for the company. Their recruitment process now involves getting to know the candidates through multiple interactions, rather than relying on resumes and interviews alone.

Haluk believes that the method helps them find the best fit for their culture and values, as well as their skills and qualifications. He shared that since they are using the dating approach, the company has hired the right people for their roles, and built a strong and happy team of explorers.

So, if you are looking for a new way of hiring, you might want to consider the dating approach. It might help you find the right people for your company - especially if you are a self-managing company that values autonomy and collaboration.

Written by Joost Minnaar
Joost Minnaar
Co-founder Corporate Rebels. My daily focus is on research, writing, and anything else related to making work more fun.
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