Meet our prestigious former SDA student, Ainura Polatoglu. She had no previous experience in Software development and yet went through our program Software Development Academy, at the end of year 2020, and three months ago she landed her very first job in Sweden. Novare Potential matched her up with the fast-growing and innovative company SEBx where she now excels according to Martina Nordenson, Chief People & Organisation Officer at SEBx. In this interview we learn about why SEBx choose to collaborate with us when looking to hire, how soft skills are important during interviews and being successful at your job as well as about how to meet the challenges of working from home as a new employee.
What occupation did you have before your current employment?
My experiences are pretty diverse and all of them were back in my home country. I worked in an IT company, logistics, hospitality, and Embassy. In my last employment I was responsible for taking care diplomatic procedures for diplomats, managing Embassy transport and drivers and other corporate services matters.
How did you experience the recruiting process with Novare Potential?
I participated in a 4 months program, Software Development Academy organized by Novare Potential together with KTH University. After completion I took a summer break and was back to start looking for a job in the beginning of September. Some days later I got a call from Susanna Vaara, Senior Consultant at Novare Potential, telling me that one company is interested in my profile and wishes to have an interview with me for a Junior Backend Developer position. Since then, the process was quite fast and straightforward. Shortly, I was provided with available time slots for my first interview with Martina, Chief People & Organisation Officer, and Johan, Technical Lead.
I was very nervous as I didn’t expect to be invited into the interview so quickly, moreover it was my first job interview in Sweden. But I got really great support from Susanna and the whole Novare Potential team. They gave me tips on the interview, wishing good luck, and encouraging me that I am a smart, good candidate and that I would do good at the interview.
First interview was a non-technical interview, more or less to get to know me and my background. As Susanna had told me, Martina and Johan were very nice people and the interview went very smooth. Right after the interview, I got an email to do online tests. Since there were other candidates as well, I had to wait a couple of days until I got my results. After a few days, I got great news from Susanna saying that SEBx wishes to have a second interview with me. This time it was a technical interview with Daniel, Head of Backend Engineering, and Erik, Software Engineer. This time I got stressed even more as I never have had technical interviews before. I did not know what kind of questions to expect and started revising everything I learnt from the SDA course. No need to mention that I had great support from Novare Potential again! We had a really nice chat with Daniel and Erik, about my technical knowledge, and they explained what kind of systems and technologies they used at SEBx. I was given some technical questions which I think I passed successfully since I am working at SEBx now. Last interview was with the CEO of SEBx Christoffer Malmer and got a positive decision sometime after the interview. From that moment Novare Potential proved their professionalism again by professionally handling all the communication between me and SEBx, contracts and other work-related matters.
I consider myself very lucky to be recruited so quickly by one of fast-growing innovative companies in Sweden. However, of course it is also thanks to the hard work by Novare Potential employees.
Tell us a little bit about your new role at SEBx.
I work now as a Junior Backend Developer at SEBx. At this point my role includes implementation in Java for backend development, attending the team meetings, discussing various questions, learning, learning, learning. Since I have never worked before as a software developer, one of the biggest challenges that I had to overcome was to learn a lot of different systems and new technologies that SEBx uses. I am working on that with the great help of very helpful colleagues, various online courses that SEB provides and meetings with different teams made me adapt to the team and working environment quickly.
I was excited and passionate to become a software developer but was not sure how and where to start. However, I would say again that I am lucky because I am working in such a new fast growing start up, full of ambitious and curious people like myself. It’s been around three months in SEBx, and I can say I have learnt a lot already and there is still a lot more to learn of course. I believe there are lots of potential for me to learn and grow because SEBx always tries to use most innovative new technologies in the market and I think it is a big advantage for me as a person who just started my career in development. Due to my diverse working experiences and working in different teams, it taught me to be a good team player and I think my passion, enthusiasm can help drive me and the team forward.
Have you ever worked from home before?
I have never worked from home before, except one half of the SDA course. I think it is more challenging for a new employee I guess, since it is easier to adapt to the team, ask questions and have discussions any time when being at the office. It is also challenging to have online meetings, sitting the whole day in one place with headphones and looking at the screen all day. However, SEBx is very good at managing ‘working from home’-situations for its employees. They deliver big screens to home upon request, keyboards, and mouse to everyone who needs it. And everyone in the team is very kind, ready to help at any time, prompt with replies in chats and ready to open an online meeting to have a look at the code or explain something. It gives me a good example and encourages me to be an amazing colleague like them. Every Friday after work we have ‘fika’ or some time to play some online games or games created and hosted by our amazing HR Martina. It creates a unity feeling in the company. My tips, when work from home, is to never forget to take breaks during the day, go outside for a walk during lunch or do some workout. Also, virtual fika are important to attend especially when working remotely. In the online meetings, I personally feel like it is better to turn on the camera, that way you can see your colleagues and they can see you just like if you were in the office.
What does this job mean to you?
This job means a lot to me. First of all, it is my first job in Sweden and I know how hard it might be for expats to find a job in Sweden quickly and integrate to a new country. I appreciate both Novare Potential and SEBx for their hard work, searching for diverse talents, despite their nationality, gender, religious views, and other aspects. Both companies make everyone feel welcomed and included with no difference to others.
Also working as a software developer in a bank makes you develop not only technical skills but also understand the finance and how banks work in Sweden. SEBx is an innovative start up within SEB bank, striving to adapt newest technologies and be unique in its field. Since it is the beginning of a big journey for SEBx, there is no right or wrong, everyone is learning and always doing research together, and it is okey to make mistakes and learn from them, so in the future you can become better. These values fall in line with mine.
Why did you decide to collaborate with Novare Potential and are you happy with the outcome?
To be honest, it was a (very lucky) coincidence that we stumbled upon Novare Potential. We were looking to find a similar initiative and SEB already had a good relationship with the company which made the choice to start working with Novare Potential easy. Working with Novare Potential is very easy and straight forward. We have found a good way of collaboration and I think that it is the foundation to a successful partnership. Up until this day, we have had four great team members coming in from Novare Potential, three Developers and one Quality Engineer. We are super happy with all four of them, they are quick learners, curious and contributes to the team from both a working perspective but also from a team perspective. They are all very social and it did not take long until all of them felt like they have been with us forever.
What was it that Ainura did or said to make you think she is the right fit for the job?
It is hard to point out an exact thing she said, it was a combination of Ainura as a person, her background and competence that laid the foundation for us to see her as a fit for SEBx. For us, personality and drive are super important, since we are a small team, the personal fit to the team is key. Ainura was such a breath of fresh air when we first met her, she was showing great ambition and a strong drive to learn new things. She had a quite diverse background, both from the IT industry, logistics area and hospitality. On top of that she had taken the Novare course from KTH in Java programming. Her great personality, eagerness to learn, friendliness and good skillset, she was a perfect match for SEBx.
What would you say to companies who are considering recruiting from a more divers candidate pool?
It is amazing what advantages you get from having a diversified team. You learn so many new things everyday which is just enriching the life at work in my opinion. To bring in different perspectives and mindsets in everything we do really creates a problem-solving atmosphere and a very fun working environment! Currently in SEBx, we have about 60 team members with 15 different nationalities and we are working continuously to find our way to make the absolute most out of that diversity. I think that it is one thing to recruit a multi-national team, but it is another story to create a workplace that brings out the strengths from having a diverse team. So, as long as you do not forget that aspect of it – I would say GO for it!