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Work community interview of our new CEO

Roidu nominated its new leader a month ago: Juha Autio started as the new CEO at the end of September. Any new leader has an enormous impact on the work community, which is why it was not only surprising but also exciting that the Roidu team got to interview the new CEO before the final decision. “The CEO interview was very inclusive and community building “, describes Emilia Valkonen, our cheerful customer coordinator. “I think it’s a sign of good collective spirit and trust.

The founders of Roidu Arttu Viitanen and Antti Niinikoski had interviewed all of our staff during the summer and autumn, while they were looking for the new CEO. We were all asked what kind of CEO we would prefer and got to describe freely which qualities we expect of our new leader and why. “In a youthful, energetic community such as Roidu, it’s important that personal chemistries match and that all the team members fit in. By giving the entire staff an opportunity to participate in the CEO selection, we could take into account everyone’s opinion of his suitability. The staff represents the core competencies of our company and so they have a clear understanding what kind of leadership our team needs “, Arttu explains.

“The questions reflected us”

Arttu and Antti interviewed Juha many times in the previous months before bringing him in front of the team in the hot seat. We made him a survey – of course. Each of us got to ask whatever we wanted and the questions weren’t censored.The questions reflected us, they embodied our personalities “, Emilia describes the survey. “They also gave the interviewee a glimpse of what he’s getting into and gave him a chance to reconsider whether he really wants to come join this kind of group.” The questions were tough: Juha’s CV had been nitpicked and his previous employments, experiences and even the comments of his previous employees’ were scrutinised. A large part of the questions dealt with leadership and Juha had to argument why he’d be a good leader and how. There were obviously lighter questions as well about hobbies and GoT, etc.

The event was in fact Juha’s own idea: “The idea was modestly mine, I suggested Arttu at our first meeting that it might be a good way to get to know everyone on both sides.” Juha got to answer the survey the day before and did his best to ensure that the answers really reflected his persona and his opinions. “The questions were good, some were very personal, but I didn’t consider them uncomfortable, because I generally talk about all sorts of things with ease “, Juha describes the survey.

“Welcome to Roidu”

The interview itself started with Juha’s casual introduction after which we went through the survey together. Juha shed light into his answers and we got to ask him further questions. Juha obviously convinced us: after the interview one of us spontaneously welcomed him to Roidu and moments later we were enthusing over our new CEO in Slack.

Cynically one might consider this a show for the team to feel influence they don’t really have. But we all disagree. “I’m absolutely sure he wouldn’t have been picked if half of us would have considered him unsuitable ”, says account manager Teemu Kumpulainen. His colleague Katja Rantakeisu continues: “If we would have though him to be ‘just fine’, I’m sure it wouldn’t have affected the choice but if several of us would have opposed, it would have mattered. Roidu has always tried to recruit certain type of employees that get along well.”

It is true that working in an good, functional work community is not only more meaningful but also more effective, so involving the team in the leader selection is only wise. “Generally the staff has very little influence in most companies on any number of things, so this really has been great “, Katja concludes.

Kati Päivärinta
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