Breaking up with my boss. My oxio hiring story.
Transparency
July 13, 2022

Breaking up with my boss. My oxio hiring story.

Picture of article author Shion Periy
Shion Periy
Customer Care Agent

TLDR:

  • The oxio application process is a little different than what you may be used to.
  • There are 5 stages during the customer care hiring process, including writing a breakup letter to your boss.
  • Skills are cool, but the right attitude will get you much further here.
  • While the process may differ between departments, we’re always looking for A-Players that will be a good fit at oxio. And vice-versa: how oxio will be a good fit for them.

It was March of 2021. Lockdowns were the new norm, and the landscape of the job industry had completely changed as we knew it. As I lay in bed at 1AM scrolling through online job postings on my phone, something rather…well, odd caught my eye.

It was a job posting for a Customer Care Agent position, at an internet service provider. While a few things stood out to me (fully remote, passion for the written word, showing off mad skills!?) one part immediately grabbed my attention. “We are not huge fans of resumes. Instead, drop us a line and tell us about projects you are working on, your experiences, what makes you tick and what you think you can bring to our amazing team.” Since highschool, I’d been groomed and taught to craft this perfect reflection of my professional career known as a resume, and for the first time in my life, I’m being asked to toss this “crutch” to the side and just…talk about myself, with no set structure? Now you have my full, undivided attention.

BUT, as I quickly reminded myself, it was 1AM, and I needed to get some sleep. This position sounded like a great opportunity, and I told myself that first thing in the morning, I would apply to this resume-less (if that’s not a word I officially dub it here first) job posting. The next morning came, and I eagerly made my way to my desktop to get cracking on this application, but something was wrong. The job posting was gone. I thoroughly searched, but it was not coming up. (Spoiler: I later found out the posting got taken down after just 1 day because there were over 200 applicants.) Thanks to the good grace of the almighty Safari web browser, I still had the tab open on my phone and found the application email to which I could write to. This sounded like such a unique opportunity, I had to give it a shot.

And so, for the first time in my life, I applied for a job without a resume. I wrote about my past career experience, why I thought I’d be a good fit here (after doing some research on the website), and even mentioned my die-hard love for UFC. No, there’s no cage fighting at oxio, but like the listing encouraged, I just wanted to be myself and show a bit of personality. And thus began my unique application process with oxio.

This is not your folk’s job fair.

While a typical job application process will consist of a resume and interview, oxio takes the insight gained from both of these and expands upon them further. Applying for a job has drastically changed over the years. From wearing a button-up shirt, shaking hands, and venturing out … to staying at home, writing an “about me” in pajamas, and making a good first impression through a webcam. However, while wearing pants may no longer be a requirement, being well-prepared and conveying your skills are still valuable priorities when applying for any job.

It’s important to still have transferable-, systems-, people-, and self-oriented skills that you can now display through the written and verbal word in an online format. Skills can be taught and acquired, but at oxio we place great emphasis on two things when assessing candidates.

What makes someone a good fit for oxio?

And vice-versa, what makes oxio a good fit for a potential candidate?

As the founding Customer Service Manager at oxio, Alexandre Verret believes it is first important during the interview process to assess how a candidate would mesh with the rest of their team.

"I think when it comes to hiring people in the customer care team, it's a lot more about the attitude than skills. It’s not often I'll come across someone who has been doing customer service at a business like oxio for a long time (there are not a lot of digital internet providers). Because of that, we have to teach the skills to new hires. Some other departments will put more emphasis on skills for sure, but attitude will play a big part. The logic is simple: we are building a team and we want the team to work well together; team members need the right attitude that fits with the rest of the team."

After reading that, you may be wondering, “Well… what is the right attitude?” At oxio we have many diverse and unique individuals, so it’s not necessarily about fitting a certain mold. Simply, it's more about being an autonomous individual that can work well with others. Someone who is a teacup-is-never-full type of person (I may have just butchered that proverb) that has an unsatiated hunger to learn and work on self development. Our department heads provide insight into this later in the article, but if you can’t wait, scroll to the bottom!

The five stages of applying at oxio.

Next, let’s take a dive into the 5 stages of the application process for a customer care agent. These stages differ by department, but ultimately candidates across the company are hired for similar qualities & attributes (more on this later).

Let’s take a closer look!

The stages are designed to engage with applicants and assess a multitude of skills.

Take stage 1 for example. In the initial job posting (which can be found on sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and on our very own website), it clearly states NOT to send a resume. Low and behold, most applicants still send a resume. Remember when I referred to it as a crutch? Sending the resume at this stage may be viewed as not reading instructions clearly, or not putting in the effort to craft an original ‘about me’.

For context, check out the original Indeed job posting below:

Stage 2 further examines one's writing skills (we are messaging customers online all day). If there are many grammar or spelling errors here, it can also show a lack of effort and/or attention to detail. But similar to stage 1, this is an opportunity to let personality shine and separate yourself from others. This is also where you get to break up with your boss (more on this to come!)

Stages 3 & 4 are the interview stages. Finally, face to face (well…through a screen, c’mon it’s 2022), and a chance to meet and hopefully impress management at oxio. I vaguely remember telling the manager at the end of the first interview that I was looking forward to sharing meat smoking recipes with him in the future (context: during the interview, I discovered we both shared a passion for meat smokers). He responded by letting me know there’s many great websites online with these recipes and I remember thinking “Oh. I guess I’m not getting this job” (In case you were wondering… ). Thankfully I received an email a couple days later that I was being moved to the final stage, but as you can probably guess by now, the interview process was not just about discussing internet services. In fact, I’d say only about a quarter of my initial interview was spent discussing knowledge on internet services/products. Alexandre Verret describes this type of interview best:

“There is also a question of feeling during the interview. If the candidate can easily switch their mindset from ‘This is a formal interview’ to ‘This is a different kind of interview where we just discuss openly’ it is a really good sign. You can easily see when someone understands the vibe quickly and when someone just never gets out of the ‘This is a formal interview’.”

The fifth and final stage is the infamous offer for a role at oxio. Now this offer, should you choose to accept it, comes with a job, benefits, and recommendations for great bathhouses in Europe (will have to ask our CTO and Co-Founder Francis for more context). But, if you feel perhaps oxio is not the right fit for you, that is also perfectly okay, and you can politely decline. No hard feelings!

Now, what separates those who make it through the 5 trials…er...stages from those who don’t? According to Kosta, the head of our Customer Care department, it comes down to the following:

Humour, understanding of the questions and relating a true life experience...if they can demonstrate that they understand what good as well as bad service is, that will help us understand if they will get us. Now if they give us one liners, put little effort in the questions - that is a red flag to us. You may have an amazing resume and experience but oxio is not like any other company, nor do we want to be like all the rest. We are looking for A-Players in every field who bring empathy, drive and passion to the job every day.

As Kosta mentioned, it’s ultimately A-Players that make it through the 4 stage gauntlet and are sent a competitive offer (pssst-everyone knows each other’s salaries) for a role at oxio. The 5 stages are designed to help recognize A-level talent and characteristics that stand out, and those who will mesh well with the rest of the team. An A-Player encompasses many traits and feats that our very own CEO has taken the time to explain at length what an A-Player is for himself and for oxio.

The breakup letter.

Now, I mentioned this a couple times already in this article, but during stage 2 of the application process, I was asked to do something I have never done before. I had to break up with my boss, before even meeting him. Not just that, but I had to write a breakup letter. Do people still write breakup letters? You mean I can’t just block this person on all social media and take up a 12-month gym membership like how most breakups go? I was intrigued. Fuelled and excited by this new challenge, I then spun perhaps the most compassionate letter I have ever written to someone:

The purpose of the breakup letter expands much farther than I initially thought when writing mine. Turns out, as a customer care agent, we have to sometimes break up with customers. This means letting people down easy when it turns out their address is not serviceable by us at the moment. The breakup letter also demonstrates empathy. Empathy is a common trait among those working at oxio. When it comes to helping out customers, expressing this is especially important so people know they’ve been heard, and can feel more at ease knowing the person they are talking to better understands their situation. Writing this letter allows candidates to demonstrate this, with a humorous twist. This was also another opportunity to demonstrate mad writing skills, and, perhaps the only time in someone’s life, where they will have to break up with their boss before actually getting the job.

Check out some more breakup letters of other staff here at oxio!

I am very sorry to have to put this in writing. However, this does not take away from all the good times we had together. Unfortunately, those good times have become more and more scarce over the years. You've probably noticed, but we're growing apart and I now feel like I'm in the company of an old friend rather than my soul mate. The way you look at me, I think deep down you feel the same way. I don't hold any animosity towards you or bad feelings or anger. I will always keep the positive from our relationship, but this is where we part ways. I hope you will understand and that we will remain on good terms. ~ Nycolas

Are you an A-Team Applicant?

My hiring process at oxio was something I will not soon forget. From abandoning my resume, to breaking up with my boss, to being interviewed and talking about my favourite game (Dead by Daylight), to eventually being sent an offer for a position at oxio. I can say that no other application process in my professional career even came close to being this memorable, or made me feel more valued coming into a new job. To be honest, I didn’t even know the difference between a modem and router at this time!

Before working at oxio, I was a personal trainer. As a part of the very first Ontario team, I came to find out that I was hired with a baker, a student, a construction labourer, and a semi-retiree. I guess you could say this was the beginning of our very own breakfast club, and none of us at the time (save for one) really had much knowledge about internet services/products at all. As quoted from Alexandre Verret earlier, these types of things can be taught. Our breakfast club was able to take on our upcoming roles because of our autonomy, empathy, attitude, and passion for helping others.

While the 5 stages and breakup letter are unique to working in the customer care department at oxio, you may notice some commonalities across our many different departments. If you’ve ever worked in or have an interest in Dev, Tech Support, HR, or Marketing, you may find some valuable insight from some of our other managers below.

Antoine ~ Head of Product Design:

“I would say that apart from the typical qualities we look for in a candidate (passion, curiosity, professionalism, attitude, etc.) software engineers at oxio have a lot of ownership over the work that they do and they demonstrate a lot of autonomy and leadership. Much more than in other companies where I worked in the past.”

Olivier ~ Head of Engineering:

“We look for people that are — or will become really quickly — productive, autonomous and caring. To be productive, you need to master the basics of computer science, master the modern technologies we use daily, and master the art of prioritizing the right tasks at the right time. Being autonomous means being able to learn by yourself, unblock yourself whenever possible, and not wait for someone to explain in detail what is expected from you. To be caring in this context is to care about the quality of your work. It’s about taking ownership of what you develop and ensure it’s well-designed, robust and that it’s something people will love to use every day.

oxio might not be a good fit for developers that are looking for intense daily coaching. We are a very fast-paced environment and we definitely expect a high level of autonomy from the candidates. Of course our senior team members are always there to help and coach the more junior ones, but we assume the level of direction needed decreases over time. Also, oxio might not be a good fit for candidates that are uneasy when working with a high level of uncertainty. Doing innovation also means the work you have done is not perfectly groomed or scoped or even completely understood. A lot of iterations with trial and error is required to figure out what products and features we need to build.”

Audrey ~ Head of People & Culture

“When we are looking into applicants, we are looking for people who can breathe and live our culture, AND be great at their job. We are looking for A(ttitude)-Players. We are looking for curious, open-minded, humble, empathetic, and transparent people with a good amount of skills in what they do, but attitude always comes first for us. On the candidate side, we don’t determine if we are a good fit for them, we let them decide that by opening the discussion about it, by being transparent on who we are, what’s the job to be done, and what are the expectations. We let them ask questions, and we answer them, so they can make the best choice. The fit needs to be mutual or it’s never gonna work.”

Jessy ~ Head of Tech Support

“We are looking for enthusiastic tech and techno lover-people! We need good thinkers and positive people because we have to deal with strange situations, and we always need to keep in mind that without the customer we don’t have a career! More precisely:

  • Deep thinker
  • Ability to deal with complex IT situations
  • Team building oriented candidate
  • Able to give good feedback during our interview process
  • Ability to develop good troubleshooting skills during the technical test
  • Good communication skills”

Caro ~ Head of Marketing

“The attitude of the person will be the key to their success with us. If they show great curiosity, openness and are not afraid of change, they could be the next player on the team. They should not be afraid to think outside the box, should not be afraid of failure, should not be afraid of the unknown, and should not be afraid to take a step backwards. Of course, the basic technical skills needed for the position must be met. However, if the person has some shortcomings, but still shows a willingness to put all efforts in place to quickly improve, their profile could still be considered.”

No matter your role or position at oxio, each department looks for similar qualities that include but are not limited to: autonomy, attitude, passion for learning, and being empathetic. We all align to a north star and all move onward in the same direction together. While the application process does and will change and evolve for each department, the core qualities that are sought after do not.

Interested in breaking up with your current boss, and then breaking up with one of ours? You may just find yourself with a new job. Drop us a line!

Article written by Shion Periy while bugging all of management across oxio. Kindly adapted by Danilo. I swear my French is improving.

Picture of article author Shion Periy
Shion Periy
Customer Care Agent

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