From the innocent age of 3 to the adult age of 23, I was in a serious relationship with the school system. But with graduation lurking around the corner, I knew it was time to embark on a new adventure. It was time to pull out the dreaded blazer and skirt combo from the back of my closet (you know, the one reserved for every “business formal” event that your ripped jeans weren’t invited to) and try to find a job in Human Resources where I could put all the knowledge I had gained in school to the test.

Happily, I found that elusive first job, but from the moment I walked in the door, I realized that the company I had joined didn’t take the textbook approach.

At school, I was taught about the resources in Human Resources but here at Jonar, I have learned about the human side. So, after my first year in these new casual big girl pants (the power suit has been put back in the closet!), I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned by thinking outside of the textbook. 

I was taught that job descriptions should stick to a specific template (you probably know it well: general description, tasks and responsibilities, qualifications and education requirements...).

According to the majority of job postings on Indeed, to wander outside of the standard template is basically a cardinal sin. At Jonar, we don’t write standard job descriptions because we’re not looking for standard applicants. If you’ve ever come across our job descriptions, you would have encountered knights in shining armor, unfettered honesty, personal stories, and yes, the Hemsworth brothers. We’re proud of who we are and by showing our true colors from the get-go, we weed out the candidates who see our quirkiness as an imperfection and attract the ones that can relate to it and hopefully add to it. At the end of the day, we don’t write job descriptions in the conventional format because we are not looking for conventional candidates that apply to a job because they check the conventional boxes.

We encourage all our employees to be their genuine selves at work so by starting with an authentic job description and giving them the freedom to be themselves during their interviews, we’re practicing what we preach.

Fun fact: the most common answer we get to the question: “What made you apply?” is: “Your job description!” 

At school, I was taught that the treacherous annual performance review is a necessity for professional development and accountability. 

If you genuinely care about your employees and their performance, you shouldn’t be putting them in a position where their palms are sweaty and their blood pressure skyrockets in anticipation of the dreaded performance review meeting. We don’t think you should have to wait an entire year for constructive feedback or to learn that co-workers hate the way you add emojis to all your emails.   

We’ve replaced these dreaded sessions with bi-weekly or monthly check-ins that focus more on learning and growing. At Jonar, we’re suckers for in-the-moment feedback, so we give employees the opportunity to rectify their behaviour (or at least be conscious of it) while it’s still fresh. By addressing the issue before it turns into a pattern, it saves us all from any awkward big conversations down the road. 

By fostering an environment where getting and giving feedback is a good thing, you’re showing your staff (and they’re showing each other) that you care about their growth and wish them to succeed. What’s more, we’ve worked hard on creating an environment where employees feel accountable to their teams (and not just their managers), so everyone is encouraged to respectfully call out their teammates if they’re doing something that’s hurting the team. We’re still not yet at the point where people are over the moon excited to get (and give) feedback, but we’re actively trying to get there.

At school, I was taught to treat interviews like examination rooms.

Assigning tests during the interview process, whether they be technical, scenario-based, or otherwise, are a popular way to get a sense of a candidate’s skill set. Even just a standard behavioral interview can sometimes feel like you’re passing some kind of examination with the interviewer hammering you with a list of pre-set questions and then transcribing your responses. 

That’s not how we roll! Interviews are stressful enough, so we try to make it as stress-free as possible. The tone is casual and we treat it as two parties getting to know each other, where both sides are interviewing to see if it’s a fit. There is no pre-set list of questions so there is no way for the interviewee to prepare and give us rehearsed answers. We want to hire really great people, not people who are really great at interviewing. Each of our questions is customized on the spot with our values in mind. We don’t even do technical interviews at the internship level - and we’re a tech company!  That’s because we believe that if the foundation and the eagerness to learn is there, we can teach anything. 

After school, I learned that I had a lot left to learn!

Since joining the team at Jonar, I’ve learned humans are warm-blooded, multidimensional, and complex beings - and one size doesn’t fit all. I am proud of our company’s philosophy to treat people like people and this philosophy is evident from our HR policies and practices to our product design and development. Our way may not be the best way for everyone but it’s resulted in an amazing team that works well together. And for me, one of the best parts of my job at Jonar is that my learning didn’t end when I graduated from school. It continues every day as we try new and innovative HR ideas to help everyone here to be happy and successful.