Why recruiting starts way before you post an ad?

What Inchoo prides most in are the people working here. All of them smart, capable and brilliant in their own way, they’ve built a culture which encourages initiative and bravery and cheers on the ones seeking knowledge. But, along with company growth comes the ever growing responsibility of finding the best possible new employees. Here’s how we do it.

We don’t have HR. Well, not the “real kind” anyway. There is no single person in charge of recruiting, selecting, leading, managing and developing people. There is, on the other hand, a sense of common responsibility when it comes to creating the culture of both work and fun.

On the other hand, we have people who are, a bit more than the others, in charge of finding new ways of approaching to prospective employees. One of them is Zrinka Antolović, our event coordinator, and the other is Dunja Vorkapić, our office manager.

Here are the key takeaways from our conversation.

Zrinka, your official title is “event coordinator” – what does that have to do with attracting new talent?

When it comes to recruiting or attracting new talent in general, I handle the part related to students and the local community. They are, after all, the pool of people we want to recruit from. That’s why we set a clear goal of strengthening the local PHP community and stimulating young people to start working with PHP.

In order to achieve that, we started working on the PHP Academy, our most recent project which we’re having with “Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology Osijek”. Concept is rather simple: Inchoo’s senior developers will teach students PHP on practical examples.

This is just one of the many of our activities which are related specifically to students. We want to engage in a conversation with them in order to more easily recognize their needs. All of that results in creating an environment and a culture they want to be part of.

Another bonus would be working on or participating in dozens of projects related to IT through a local NGO called “Osijek Software City”. We are one of the proud founders and active members and over the last few years we’ve seen the number of people working in IT jumping from 300 to 1000 due to our activities! Who needs a better motivation than that?


Dunja, why is this unusual process of recruiting – offering knowledge in exchange for a 2 or 3 applicants – extremely important for the firm?

Since business is constantly growing, we have new job openings every few months where we mostly seek for ambitious and perspective backend developers (besides frontend developers, designers and consultants). Given the fact that there are few good men 🙂 in Osijek and the region of Slavonija and that they’re, when it comes to employment, often considered unattractive by the people from the rest of Croatia and foreigners, we at Inchoo had to come up with some creative solutions.

After a lot of brainstorming, we agreed our activities should be more focused on younger population such as local high-school students and faculty students – it means we figured out we have to work on “creating” future employees, not only finding them.

As Zrinka mentioned, one of the projects we’re currently working on is PHP academy on “Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology Osijek”. Academy will be held for 1 month by our senior developers. They will tutor 20 chosen students on various semesters. We believe this is a great opportunity for us to share knowledge and experience, and for students to show their interest, improve in quality or just realize PHP and web development aren’t the right choice for them – we’re ok with that too. We are aware that Academy will, among 20, bring out 2-3 talents. Our mission is, through time, convert that 2 or 3 to employees.

Zrinka, have you seen effects of this kind of recruiting on the local community? What are the benefits of this kind of recruiting?

There is lack of communication among employers and employees in the business world. They are not aware of the fact that they need each other. We want to bridge that gap and become more approachable. That’s why we organize or participate in events which enable students to hear, first hand, what do we look for in prospective employees and how they can apply for a job at Inchoo.

I talked with friends, students and interns – people who heard about us or had an opportunity to interact with us in some way – and the overall comments are positive. What students seem to appreciate the most are the firms going out of their way to communicate with them. We want to offer more by going to them and they seem to recognize and love it.


Dunja, how do you see the future of recruiting for Inchoo? Do you think this will pay off in the long run?

Besides regular job openings, we will keep making effort on improving students knowledge; involving them in real projects and solving real problems. Until now, we did so by organizing different kinds of projects and internships in each department. In the future, our plan is to go in depth and continue long term cooperation with schools and faculties so the expertise they offer to their students would be more in compliance with IT sector demands.

As I mentioned earlier, our mission is, in a way, “creating” future employees. We know it takes time to see the actual results of our efforts but as someone once said – patience is a virtue.

As you can see, today is not solely about finding the right employee as it is about creating one. Offering knowledge in exchange for a perfect addition to your team of PHP experts is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it strengthens your bonds with students, professors and the local community in general – at least in our case.

What are your experiences? Feel free to share as we all feel finding a great PHP developers is sometimes just as hard as finding a unicorn (if not harder).

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  1. Great post, Ivona. I’m very interested in your hiring practices as you guys seem to have done an incredible job of scaling your team. I was curious – when you said “Given the fact that there are few good men 🙂 in Osijek and the region of Slavonija and that they’re, when it comes to employment, often considered unattractive by the people from the rest of Croatia and foreigners”, what did you mean by that?

    Why are they considered unattractive?

    1. Hi Kalen,
      thank you for your comment, glad you liked the post!
      When it comes to employment, it’s a rather bad situation here, especially in this part of Croatia. A lot of young people is moving out of the country in search of better work conditions and life standard. One of the things we like to point out is the fact that they don’t have to necessarily move out – they just need to find a job in a company which supports standards and values they have. We, obviously, strive to be that kind of company. 🙂 Hope this answers your question.

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