The Kano Interview Process

People are extremely important. The people we hire are the fabric of our operations and build the culture of our company. At Kano, both our people and the culture we foster have been paramount to our success. Selecting the right people to join our team—those who share our values and exhibit the behaviours that teammates can count on them for—gives us confidence in achieving our company goals. 

Building that team all starts during the hiring process, which is why we are so attentive to it.

"If you can hire people whose passion intersects with the job, they won't require any supervision at all. They will manage themselves better than anyone could ever manage them. Their fire comes from within, not from without. Their motivation is internal, not external." - Stephen Covey

A solid hiring process ensures our team is united on executing the company vision. Imagine an elite rowing team pulling in sync, but then a “new team member” joins and is just slightly off; that small change throws everyone off-kilter. This may seem like an exaggeration, but being forced to course correct is not only time-consuming for everyone, it’s really expensive for the company! Hiring the right candidate saves us a lot of time and money; in tech companies, where people costs are the major expense, these costs (and savings) can be significant.

Do you have any idea how much an interview actually costs? We’ve calculated that a mis-hire who works at the company for a period of three months can cost upwards of around $25K. This article by Talent Partners would argue that these costs can be significantly higher, and if you really want to geek out, download this tool that can help assess the cost of a mis-hire at your company.

The results? Someone who doesn’t work out absorbs a lot of resources from the company while also detracting other teammates from their regular workloads. Efficient hiring—streamlining the hiring process so that it has the highest amount of impact with the lowest expenditure of time—just makes economic sense. Ultimately, it’s also better for long-term productivity and team dynamics. 

Here we dive into our hiring process and how we assess if a candidate aligns with Kano, as efficiently as possible.

Step 1. The Phone Screen  

We start with an introduction, typically in the form of a phone conversation with a member of our HR team. While the purpose of this is to get a general sense of who an applicant is as a person, we also discuss current projects Kano is working on to see if it’s a good match. It’s just as important for a candidate to understand the position and feel confident about moving forward in the hiring process as it is for us to feel positive about their potential in working with us.

Step 2. The Technical Test 

Next up is our chance to see the candidate’s skills in action. This obviously differs with each role and sometimes isn’t even part of the process, but is our way of gauging a person’s skill set against the job requirements. 

It’s also important to note that, as a growing company, we are looking for candidates’ growth potential and our technical tests may push boundaries around what kind of experience the candidate actually has. This isn’t a deal breaker! Often our search is around a candidate’s potential to grow, so we throw in questions to see their thoughts around leadership and career aspirations.

Step 3. The Interview 

The candidate has flexed their skills and is up to the challenge, now it’s time for them to showcase themselves in person. During the interview they’ll also meet the team members they might be working with and learn more about what they would potentially be working on.

This interview is usually broken up into multiple sessions, but the basic format includes a focus on the technical end (usually based on the results of the technical test) and a deep dive into the candidate’s career history.

Kano is a values-driven company, so, in listening to how a candidate answers our questions and reflects on past experiences, we are also focussing on how they align with our company culture.

During the interview we really encourage candidates to ask us questions so they can get a feel if Kano is a good fit for them, as well.

Step 4. And maybe more… 

If a candidate is a thumbs up after deliberation with the team, we always check references before extending an offer.

Sometimes during an interview the candidate will show us something that makes us feel they would be better suited for a different role within Kano. In those cases, we follow up to explain what we’re thinking and bring the candidate back for more discussion.

No matter how the process ends, we always get back to candidates to let them know how the process went and why we went in the direction we did.


Key Takeaways for companies

  • Throughout the entire process, try to get to the bottom of what you don’t know about a person as quickly as possible.
  • Live your company core values! Bring them into your hiring process so you can target applicants that will understand, and be motivated by your company and business.
  • References can sometimes feel like an annoying afterthought, but they can make or break an opportunity for an offer.
  • More communication is better than less.
  • Ask new hires for feedback on their interview experience with your company.
  • Iterate, modify and adjust your hiring process based on your experiences.

Key Takeaways for job seekers

  • Questions are a good thing! They show you are invested, interested and motivated. 
  • Tell us what works for you. We recognize you have needs and accommodations, and we’re happy to work with you to find something that works for all of us.
  • An extra interview isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It just means there’s something we want to know more about.