January 24, 2024

Otto Hilska

How Swarmia is building a world-class tech team?

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Podcast Summary: Episode of #TalentBuzz with Guest Otto from Swarmia


  • Host: Introduction to #TalentBuzz.
  • Guest: Otto, from Swarmia.
  • Topic: Building a world-class tech team in a SaaS company.

Otto's Approach to Talent Acquisition:

  • Experience: Otto has hired hundreds of people throughout his career, leveraging this experience in his current role.
  • Recruitment Strategy: Emphasizes understanding the needs of early-stage startup roles and adapting the recruitment process accordingly, including sometimes bypassing traditional steps like homework tasks.
  • Importance of Engagement: Focuses on getting candidates excited about the team, customers, and company vision.

Founding Swarmia:

  • Background: Former Chief Product Officer at Smartly.io.
  • Motivation: Experienced growing pains in software development and aimed to address these through Swarmia.
  • Early Stages: Conducted foundational research by engaging with engineering leaders, leading to the development of product principles.

Equity and Compensation Strategies:

  • Equity Allocation: Allocated 20% of company equity to employees, which is higher than typical startups.
  • Compensation Models: Various options for employees regarding equity and salary combinations, catering to different risk preferences.

Building Networks and Recruitment:

  • Importance of Networking: Otto highlights the role of community involvement and networking in recruitment.
  • Balancing Hiring from Previous Companies: Discusses the need to balance hiring from one’s network with creating a diverse and unique company culture.

Hiring Philosophies and Processes:

  • Hiring Philosophy: Always aiming to bring something new to the team, whether in skills, personality, or experience.
  • Interview Process: A combination of technical discussions, team interactions, and cultural fit assessments.
  • Decision Making: Final hiring decisions are based on comprehensive evaluations, with an emphasis on alignment with company standards and culture.

Challenges in Talent Acquisition:

  • Dealing with Hiring Mistakes: Otto emphasizes the need for quick action and systematic management when a hiring decision doesn’t work out.
  • Learning from Failures: Identifies the importance of learning from hiring mistakes to improve future recruitment processes.

Closing Remarks:

  • Host's Conclusion: Encourages listeners to share the episode and provide feedback for future topics.
  • Sign-off: Reminders to follow the podcast for more insights on talent acquisition in SaaS companies.

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