A giant barter in Grenoble to recruit at Troccauris

Written by Sarah Spitz, on 16 January 2019

Troccauris, an online bartering platform, needed to hire a business developer in 2015. But after several disappointing hires, the startup wanted to approach recruitment differently. Gone were the formal interviews: the bartering season was officially open!

Following several unsatisfactory hires, Troccauris began questioning the process it was using: while tests could quickly weed out multiple developer candidates, assessing all the skills and personality traits of a sales profile was more complicated. In November 2015, a new business developer was needed, and the startup decided to take matters into its own hands and embrace unconventional recruitment.

Thus, on November 10, Troccauris enlisted the help of our friend Margaux from neojobs, who helped them launch a somewhat crazy challenge to their six candidates: a day of bartering competition in the city center of Grenoble. Just like that.

Initially, each candidate had 4 seashells (the cauris, an ancient currency of exchange and the symbol of the startup): the winner would be the one who managed to obtain the item with the highest value through successive barters by the end of the morning. Just exchanges were allowed, no cash involved. Among the items obtained by the end of the day were a new teapot, a bicycle basket, and hair care products.

Unconventional recruitment allowed us to get to know her. We didn't need to force anything. Furthermore, Claire's skills, which we identified 3 months ago, perfectly match what we were looking for and what we needed. - Audrey, co-founder of Troccauris

Why bartering? Because it's the essence of the platform they created.

Why a seashell? Because it's their logo.

Beyond gamifying their recruitment, it's a real communication effort in complete coherence with their profession, their values, and their culture that is implemented for this extraordinary day.

Since the game only lasted the morning, the afternoon was dedicated to a brief presentation so that each candidate could present what they had learned from the morning, using the medium of their choice. Thus, oral ease, creativity, and understanding of the company's culture could be assessed directly after the game phase. The skills observed throughout the day are numerous: ability to present the company, approach people on the street, decision-making, strategy creation, goal achievement, sales pitch, negotiation, interpersonal skills, oral fluency, adaptability, reflection... In a traditional recruitment process, it's difficult to assess all these skills simultaneously.

Claire, one of the participants hired following this day, gives a very positive assessment: it allowed her to interact with the founders and understand Troccauris's vision. And from the recruiter's perspective, it's also a success: hiring a candidate who feels already well known facilitates the decision-making process and allows for a much more natural integration afterward.

The impacts are rather impressive: following this unique recruitment session, two candidates were hired, the number of applications doubled, and the number of daily unique visitors tripled!