After COVID-19 hit, Bolt, a ride-hailing service provider and the 3rd fastest-growing company in Europe, found itself in a unique position.

While Bolt’s competitors like Lyft and Uber were laying off up to 30% of their workforce, Bolt raised €100M in funding. 

Which left us all but wondering how the everyday work and life in the company feels these days. Are they getting more job applicants? Are they thinking about layoffs as well? How is the recruitment team spending their days? 👀 👀 👀

When I met with Nik, the Head of Talent at Bolt in the company’s kitchen for the first time after 3 months, I had SO many questions for him. So I figured that Nik would make for the perfect subject for the first interview in a series launching in MeetFrank blog.

He said YES! 😍


The interview


Thank you Nik for taking the time to answer!! In the past few months, there has been news about Bolt’s competitors laying off up to 30% of their team. How are things going at Bolt?

Things are great. We’ve managed to keep the whole team employed. Many companies were forced to lay off employees but we were lucky to avoid making such decisions. This is mainly due the way Bolt in being run – well-organised, cost efficient and financially strong.


Bolt just raised a €100M funding round. Are more people reaching out to you to get a job in the company? 

Closing the funding round in such circumstances was pretty remarkable and it will definitely help us grow faster. And you’re right, my linkedin inbox is getting a bit out of control 🙂 

However, I wouldn’t say that the number of job applications has dramatically increased after the funding round. There’s a moderate growth trend mainly due to our improved employer brand while there’s an overall decline in the job market.


As we mentioned earlier, a lot of tech companies have laid off some talented people in the past 3 months. Is Bolt trying to find and hire them?

Yes, we’re monitoring key talent from competition and hoping to hire some. To be honest, we’ve always done that.


How do you usually find the candidates to hire? Do you publish a job offer and just wait? What % of hired candidates has been sourced and headhunted?

Apart from traditional job postings we invest a lot of time and effort into headhunting, social media, referral programs, hiring events and innovative recruiting platforms.

Only 30% of hires come from active applicants, even less in tech jobs. This means that we have to go and find the talent ourselves. Waiting for job applications will not get us far.


Nikolai from Bolt

Bolt has always praised itself for being the most efficient ride-hailing operator. Is hiring for such an efficient team different?

Bolt’s focus on efficiency can relate to each function inside the company, and recruiting is no different. We only hire when we need to. 

Priority is to solve problems with the use of technology and automation, not by throwing more people at the problem.


Have you revised the hiring plans for 2020 and 2021 in light of the potential economic slowdown?

We did. On one hand, we expect to hire less than in previous years and be mindful about the potential consequences of the crisis. On the other hand, we’re launching so many new products with ambitious plans to expand to new territories which means we’ll still grow the team quite significantly.


During COVID19 outbreak, hiring was paused in nearly all companies. What did the Bolt recruitment team do to stay productive? Did you have a chance to work on some things that you’d been planning to but never had the time for?

That’s true, we’ve also been postponing some hiring which is now fully back on track. 

During the down time we were focused on improving the systems, testing new tools and upgrading our own skills in online training and hackathons. In other words – sharpening our knives.

Nik & Recruiting Team at Bolt (photographer Mikko Leo Selg)

I happened to check out your LinkedIn profile and would say it’s the perfect example of a well-curated and informative profile. What are your top 3 suggestions to people looking to improve their LinkedIn profile to have higher chances to be found and hired?

  1. Keep in short and precise – only write the things that matter, the achievements that count. I like straight-to-the-point linkedin profiles just as much as I like 1-pager CV’s. Nobody enjoys scrolling through essays of text.


  1. Show some personality. We’re not hiring robots (yet), we’re building people teams. We’re looking for team members who will bring something new, not just “fit”in our culture but rather add to it. Whether it’s a fun fact, unique skill, impressive achievement or simply the way you describe your journey so far, be yourself and avoid the buzzwords.


  1. Set your goals. Think about who do you want to get noticed by? Which companies and which fields do you want to get into? Find the people who currently occupy those roles and look for patterns in their profiles. What is it that they have and you don’t? Once identified, you can get on the right track and obtain the missing experience, skill or qualification required to get where you want to.


What advice would you give to people looking to get hired in a fast-growing hot tech company like Bolt? 

Reality is that working in fast-growing companies is hard, no matter which role or department it is. There’s always an enormous amount of work that needs to be done asap without sacrificing the quality. This often means long working hours and a fair amount of stress. Reward, however, is worth it with the amounts of learning and the quality of experience you’ll gather. 

My advice at first would be to evaluate your real motivation because startups and high growth companies are not for everyone. If you still want to join – try to obtain the needed qualifications as soon as you can, pimp up your LinkedIn profile and start job hunting. There will be a lot of rejections, failed interviews and high competition but perseverance will always get you there.


Nik interviewHow have you set up Bolt’s recruitment team? Are you assigning hiring jobs to the team based on region, specialty, seniority or something else?

The recruitment team is split into two parts: technical (product & engineering roles) and non-technical (operations, HQ, sales and support roles). 

The rest is flexible as we don’t want the routine to take over. This means that each team member will work on a mix of senior and junior roles across a variety of locations. By doing that we’re always exploring new markets and meeting new people while sharing expertise inside the team.


Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! To end the interview, we’ve got 5 rapid-fire questions to you.


What’s your favourite question to ask at interviews?

Describe the achievement you’re most proud of.

What’s the biggest challenge when hiring people to Bolt?

Challenges vary per location and function. Talking about HQ, there’s a tiny local talent pool and a struggle to relocate the right people to Estonia. The increasing popularity of remote work will surely solve this soon.

What are your favourite recruitment tools and channels?

Linkedin recruiter, AmazingHiring, Mixmax and MeetFrank.

If you weren’t a recruiter, what would you do?

I’d be an unpopular singer or “the always injured” athlete.

Got any summer vacation plans?

Just Helsinki for shopping and Riga for partying. I’m also invited to a wedding in Bali but let’s see if the universe will make it happen, fingers crossed.

Nikolai Kabatsikov at Bolt (photographer Mikko Leo Selg)