Alex Baldwin joined Hyphen’s A-team in May 2022 as a Legal and Procurement Associate after four years at investment bank Morgan Stanley.
His role is quite multi-functional as he supports our team and our clients with contracting and legal affairs, assists with our efforts to digitise our systems and collaborates with our Operations team in setting up client engagements.
As someone who has recently experienced our recruitment process, he is the perfect person to explain what those interested in joining Hyphen can expect. This is his story.
Questions based on real-life experiences in the initial application
For me, the application process was excellent compared to the usual types I completed as it felt relevant and insightful in a way that you don’t often see.
My application was a three-question challenge that asked me to give a concise description of how I would approach a series of incidents at work. The thing is that these were practical problems that I might come across – for example, one asked me how I would deal with losing contact with a contractor and managing an upset client.
This made that first stage engaging as I had to imagine myself in the role, consider the company’s needs, and the level of authority I had to make decisions. The application was short, challenging and less CV-orientated so it was quite an intriguing start to the process.
Getting to know each other at the interview stage
I had four interviews with Hyphen and even these were very different to what I had expected. This was partly because I met a different co-founder and team members in each one but also because they all assessed different things.
The first one, which was with Avi, introduced the company to me and gave me some context about how Hyphen was developing. He asked me for my areas of interest to make sure that it was a good fit for me as much as the company, which I thought was very good.
Next up I spoke with Michael, who presented me with a case study in an area in which I already had some experience. This required me to review some documents, develop a plan on how to gather expert knowledge for a client, and then pitch it. This was then analysed in real time, and I was challenged to defend my position, adding a level of pressure to proceedings.
My final interview with Erhan was more direct as he pointed out areas for improvement in my final pitch and assessed my ability and willingness to take on feedback. It wasn’t just a test of hard skills, it also looked at whether you would be a good cultural fit.
While it was great to speak to all three co-founders, having a phone call with Olgierd and Kamila was very useful too as it gave me an insight into the company’s culture. This was a behavioural and fit interview and in it, they asked about my soft skills and work experience, but it was great to get such a comprehensive overview of what to expect and what my colleagues would be like.
Having these discussions with key team members and the co-founders meant I was able to get a clearer understanding of what Hyphen is all about at an early stage and I was delighted to be offered the job and join such a talented team.
My first few weeks of work, both in person and remotely
My first week with Hyphen coincided with a co-working week in Budapest. This was a fantastic chance to meet the rest of the team and immediately get involved with discussions about the company’s plans for the next quarter. There’s a great balance between working hard and building team spirit, which is important for a remote-first company.
Hyphen doesn’t fit the stereotypes of a startup as unstable or chaotic; it was very clear early on that everyone is really focused and knows how to keep things running like clockwork. My first week working remotely gave me more insight into my day-to-day duties and while I was eased in, they really give me a lot of responsibility straight away.
After some time learning exactly what was expected in terms of supporting the Operations team, I had to cover for a colleague on leave. It meant I was both supported in figuring out how the company works but then also entrusted with learning quickly and doing my job. Since then, I have been looking at how to digitise our processes and have been supported by senior colleagues in proposing and making changes, which has been very satisfying.
Working with near total autonomy was a little shock to the system at first but now I am fully settled in thanks to the help and understanding of my colleagues. Hyphen really is a very collaborative company, even when everyone is fully remote, and given the size of it, you can really make a difference here.