An Interview with Marina from Katipult

Katipult Technology Corporation is a Canada-based FinTech company with team members across the globe. We provide software solutions for powering the exchange of capital in equity and debt markets. Our software is used by companies working in the equity capital market, real estate, or lending.

How old is Katipult?

Katipult evolved from the custom development company JOI Media, which was founded in 2008. After years of working in custom software development for enterprise clients in Canada, in 2014 our founders saw a massive opportunity in private capital markets. Using the founder’s own finance knowledge, combined with the feedback from our growing client base, we created a cloud-based software infrastructure that enables firms to design, set up, and operate an investment platform.
In 2014 we became a global organization with team members from countries across the globe.

How many years has Katipult worked remotely? 

Almost 95% of Katipult’s team has been working remotely from the very beginning, so 6 years now. Part of our team living in Canada had a coworking space, but due the Covid situation, we are now a 100% remote team.

Can you give us 5 tips to boost team engagement?

  • Start with a proper onboarding process (training, providing the right tools, a mentoring buddy, involved managers, a company handbook) – the importance of this process does not need to be discussed, we all know how crucial this phase is in laying the foundations for long-lasting engagement. No one wants to feel like they were thrown into the ocean without a life jacket during the first weeks with your company.
  • Communication is key (regular, open, transparent, and constructive feedback, plus a quick response time) – it is important to maintain constant communication with your team members so that they don’t feel isolated. Communication should not be limited to just job-related things, it should also aim to bring a sense of belonging and care for your team members. Sometimes a simple “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?” or “Is there anything I can help you with?” can contribute to a sense of belonging. 
  • Regular team meetings 
    • 1:1 meetings – team members and their managers.
    • All-hands meetings – the entire team.
    • Video calls are a must! Just like with in-person meetings, we love to see our colleagues when having a call.
  • Flexibility – offer a flexible working schedule if possible.
  • Team-building activities – in person whenever possible, online during Covid. 

How about some tools to keep a remote team engaged?

Our team uses:

  • Slack – Daily communications. You can use many Slack App integrations that are designed specifically for team engagement and appraisal such as Assembly, Donut, etc. You’ll have to do some research to figure out what best suits your team.  
  • GSuite – Google tools, including shared drives that are accessible to the entire team at any time. Team meetings via Google Meet OR you can use other platforms like Zoom, Skype, etc.

Can you give us 3 tips on competing with other remote companies hiring tech talent?

My focus here won’t be on salary or benefits, where everyone knows that you definitely need to be competitive. There are also other important things to consider if you want to stand out as a company:

  • Tech savvy recruiters – speaking the right language can boost candidate interest in the position and the company.
  • A fast and clear interview process – you want your candidates to understand what they can expect during the process and you want that process to be fast, so you don’t lose them because the other company is quicker to make offers. Skilled and talented candidates are rare gems that you really want to adorn YOUR team :).
  • Give feedback to candidates regardless of the outcome – inform the candidate about your decision even if they aren’t a good fit for your organization. Doing this says a lot about how you treat your employees and reflects the culture of your company. Present your company in the best possible light and remember that you only have one shot to make a good first impression.

How do you effectively hire remotely given the wide array of cultures, engineer profiles, salary ranges, and applicant experiences you encounter?

Hiring for a remote position will bring you a lot of applicants from all over the world, so you need to know the needs of your company and the position itself. You should think about some not-so-job-related criteria for your hiring, which will help you to shortlist your candidates effectively. In our case, some of the criteria considered are: 

  • Time zone – most of the team is in Europe, whose work day overlaps with that of Canada (where the rest of the team is located), so we focus on applicants from Europe who will be able to work during similar working hours. Of course, you can bring someone onboard from more eastern countries if that suits your company, but our current focus is on the countries where we already have team members.
  • Budget – this may be related to location as well. See if your budget allows you to hire somebody from a country with higher hourly rates. For remote positions, where the candidate lives is not on the top of our list, but again, your budget must be considered since salaries vary from country to country.
  • Communication – this is crucial for us; we eliminate all candidates whose English is not up to par for effective communication. We have a lot of non-native English speakers that apply for our positions, and smooth communication is very important in remote teams.
  • Culture fit – this is also a crucial criterion for us. Of course, it’s hard to determine from video calls if someone will be a fit for the company culture, but you can find out a lot about their culture just by conversing with them. We had a situation in the past where we needed to hire an experienced developer pretty fast, and our focus at that time was more on technical skills. We didn’t think how someone behaves was so important, as long as they had the right skills for the position and they would do their job well… trust me when I say this was a bad decision.