Company culture: The gatekeeper

Illustration of: Today at Payt

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Sander Kamstra
Written by Sander Kamstra LinkedIn profile
Sander Kamstra is director and one of the founders of Payt. He is an entrepreneur in heart and soul. He likes to work with people who are just as driven as he is to achieve success by setting the right priorities and making smart choices.

My name is Sander Kamstra, director and one of the founders of Payt. In growing from an attic idea to a serious organisation, I regularly encounter moments that I think have an impact on our company culture. With this series of blogs, I will try to describe every month a situation that shows who we are as a company. I will give you a glimpse into life at Payt.

The case: hiring a new employee, what is really important?

Our company is all about making software. We provide Software as a Service, also called SaaS. In the first years, we came up with almost all the new features ourselves. But with the growth of our customer base, new ideas increasingly come from our customers. These ideas come from sales, support, implementations, webinars, birthday parties and so on. We collect all new features in Github (a development platform) and have weekly meetings to prioritise and assign them to the developers. The developers have regular contact with the customers they make software for. We are therefore looking for developers within Payt who also like communicating with customers and see it as an addition to their development work.

Currently, we have a vacancy for a senior frontend developer in the Netherlands. A young guy applied last month, graduated one and a half years ago. Everything was just right; he is smart, has relevant experience and is driven, we saw it all in our minds. Two developers with 20 years of relevant experience had already spoken to him and were enthusiastic. He had knowledge of all the used software and also of new software, which we do not use at the moment. 

Our recruiter had done the first intake. She was also very enthusiastic. But something had struck her. He set a great store by the label ‘senior’. However, it was enough for a third interview. Soon the discussion was where it should be. Not about content, but salary demands and blowing away people with too little knowledge. The litmus test had been passed.

We slept on it, but I could sense from everything that we should not do it. At Payt, the person with the most relevant knowledge decides. And above all, we do it together. So it is with great pain in my heart that we let this opportunity pass. It is more important to keep the team together and to work in good harmony. No important new force can do anything about that.

And what happens next to my great surprise? Within 24 hours of making such a painful decision, a developer calls and asks if she can join our development team. She now has three years of experience and says that she is obviously far from being a senior, but thinks she can grow a lot with us. She is hired within two days. Great!

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