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Nov 20, 2018 1:48:20 PM

What do we look for in the people we hire

Toni Astala

Senior Consultant, Design & Strategy

Apply for the Associate Program 2022

What goes on in the head of the recruiter when they’re looking at your CV? How can you pique their interest and get them to really pay attention to your application? What should you emphasise about yourself?

Well, the bad news is there are no universal right answers — different companies and recruiters are attracted to different things. The good news is that when there’s no one correct way, you can find your own way and create an approach that works for you.

To help you with creating an application that catches the recruiters' eye, we asked 4 recruiters with various roles and locations across the Futufamily how they look at applications. Read their insights below, and apply to our open positions!


Matti Parviainen

Columbia Road Stockholm

I’m a designer first and foremost, but lots of stuff on my plate regarding HR, health & safety, trainings and recruitment as well.



Maria Calonius

Futurice Helsinki

I lead the tech and data science recruitment, student cooperation and employer branding here at Futurice's Helsinki office.


Lauri Eloranta

Columbia Road Helsinki

As a managing partner I handle a lot of sales, recruitment and operational matters that are needed for Columbia Road to grow and scale.


Chung Huyng

Futurice Berlin

My job is finding skilled, motivated and nice people, and convincing them to work at Futurice.


Anyone can list positive adjectives about themselves in their summary or about me text. What would you wish to see instead?


Show, don’t tell. Things that make your skills and interests more concrete are excellent areas to showcase in your application. A school or hobby project is a good way to demonstrate that you have what it takes. There are also many ways to show that you are interested to learn more about a certain topic: for example, taking free online courses on the matters shows that you are genuinely interested to develop your skills and knowledge in certain fields.


Projects you worked on outside of your working time, (learning) initiatives or groups you started and pushed in your previous companies, meetups you supported and attended (as a speaker or an organiser). And GitHub profiles.

What’s a key piece of information that many applicants don’t mention or describe about themselves, but which does increase the chances of you picking them for an interview?


A professional title. It doesn’t have to be the exact thing we’ve asked for in the job application, but if you describe yourself to be a “usability engineer” or a “service design multitalent”, it arouses my interest and I will look more closely. It doesn’t have to be funny, but give it some thought. This will not determine your destiny, but it can make you stand out.


Your passion towards our company and where you want to go with your career. We want to know why people want to work for us and how we can help them to flourish with their career. Another concrete thing is a sign of their expertise, such as a good code sample or GitHub project.

How should a candidate prepare for their interview?


We try to make the interview as relaxed as possible. It’s more of a chat about who you are, what you want and how you would fit among us. We look for motivation and ambition, and expect you to know why our company is a match for you.


It’s good to do some research of the company you are applying to: what does the company do and what would you be doing there. Having a few good questions about the company is always a good way to showcase your interest. Be prepared to discuss your long term plans as well. Where are you going and how can we help you get there? 

In addition to ‘hard skills’, such as specific programming skills, name one important ‘soft’ quality you’re looking for in applicants, and how you assess it.


Ability to stop talking — to listen and pay attention to what’s been discussed and asked. Many seasoned experts are so full of information and competence that they need to spill it all out, and the interview gets out of hand. We’re trying to cover a lot of ground and have some structure to help us do that — I promise you will get your chance to elaborate on the cool things in due time. Just like in client work, you need to listen and focus. It’s not only polite, it’s crucial for success.


Passion for what you are doing! A good indicator for passion is how long you’ve been coding or doing design work. The longer the better. Experience in different languages and platforms gives you more points. Knowing and being able to explain how things work under the hood is important as well, so that you’re not just blindly applying techniques.

Consultant mindset! Understanding the difference between the value that tech creates for others and the personal pleasure derived from creating something functional. Tech does not have intrinsic value. It becomes valuable only when it solves problems for people.

What are the most important soft skills you look for in candidates?


Above all you will need to be a nice person and generally good with people. You are most likely quite analytical and ambitious. It also helps if you are able to operate in ambiguous situations, meaning that you cope well with uncertainty.


As a digital consultancy, we work together with our clients. It’s good to have experience in client work and good negotiation skills. We look for damn nice people and humble team players. 

What would you like to say to people who apply right after reading this post?


Find what you are passionate about and go all in on that! Money won't buy you the feeling of fulfilment


Get to the point. Give evidence: show things that are in production, things that yield results.

Recruiting is fun!


The most enjoyable thing in recruiting is always the moment when you find a so called perfect match: situations where the candidate’s own desires and motivations align really well with ours, and vice versa. And especially the cases where you are able to make these recruitments happen, and genuinely help the candidate go forward in what they really want to do.

Now that you’ve got some ideas about how to present yourself, it’s time to go ahead and apply! If you’d like to hear what our 2020 Associate Program Roadies say about their summer at Columbia Road, read their thoughts here. You're also more than welcome to get to know the rest of us on our people page.

Check out our 2022 Helsinki Associate Program and apply now! We're looking for new Roadies to join the team in web development, design, marketing and sales! 👇


Apply for the Associate Program 2022

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