Written Wednesday 29th December 2021

Interviewing Head of Engineering at Thriva, Yemi Awoyemi

We had the opportunity to catch up with Yemi Awoyemi, Head of Engineering at Thriva. Druthers placed Yemi in their role in Feburary 2021. Here is what Yemi said about being onboarded during the pandemic.

How did your first day/ week vary to other jobs you have started? How did they infuse their culture into your work from home scenario? Did it feel any different and if so, how did they do that? 

“My first week was different because I was onboarded during the pandemic, in February 2021. Going to a startup, I wondered whether all the systems would be in place, compared to bigger companies I’ve worked with. But Thriva was great, and the systems were in place. They onboarded new people on the same day, so every two weeks new people would join and you could get to know another new starter. I had a welcome breakfast with the leadership team which was fantastic and there were well set out plans for what you’d be doing in your first week.”

“The main difference was when you join a company in person, you have the chance to meet people in person — you might bump into each other getting coffee or you might happen to be taken for lunch because people know you’re new and want to show you the sights. Remotely, you don’t have that same water cooler chance meetings. At Thriva, we use the ‘Donuts’ automated system on Slack which pairs you up with people for virtual meetings, across teams. That helps you to have chance meetings with people in the wider company.”

What have they done to make you feel included? 

“One of the really interesting concepts Thriva has is a buddy system, a friendly face who understands the systems and teams who can help you.”

How much more effort do you feel is involved when working remotely and what do you feel are the biggest challenges? 

“Joining remotely takes intentionality, on behalf of the new joiner as well as the employer. You need to work hard to understand the business and reach out on your own. Existing team members also need to be conscious that people are new. We have a general Slack channel that everyone is added to, so you have visibility of who new joiners are and everyone can reach out to say hi. When you join a new company, you can tend to think you don’t want to disturb anyone who is busy, but if you don’t reach out when you work remotely then it can be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ which is a challenge.”

What’s the best or most fun thing that has happened to you since you joined?

“One of the most fun things that happened since I joined Thriva was a pancake judging competition, where people’s kids could get involved. My son loved scoring people’s pancakes. It allowed us all to get to know people’s families and their lives beyond work, which was a really good introduction and something that might not happen without working from home.”

How did they get across their culture to you? Did you feel it was authentic?

“I could see Thriva’s values lived out through the interview process. The people I met actually cared about the work they were doing and the people they were working with.”

What red flags are there for you in interview processes in general/what bad experiences have you had in the past?

“Where is the interview being conducted, is it in the offices? How many people know the role exists? What happened to the last person in the role? Is there clarity of purpose, vision and mission? Those are the kind of things I think about during the interview process. If people can’t clearly explain the vision, it’s a red flag for me.”

At Druthers, it’s our mission and our passion to empower organisations to find the best person to make an impact on their work, from a diverse shortlist of remarkable talent. Get in touch with us to find out how your business can make a positive change to your hiring and retention processes