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Detroit Labs

1050 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

Nathan Hughes

Detroit Labs is one of those companies with a good problem, acquiring talent. The downtown Detroit-based software firm's custom mobile app services are so in demand it is having a hard time recruiting programmers to keep up.

"We have never stropped recruiting and interviewing since we opened our doors in 2011," says Nathan Hughes, co-founder of Detroit Labs.

Hughes oversees hiring at Detroit Labs. That means tracking down a lot of referrals and finding people with the personality that fits the company's culture. It has grown to 54 people, which is no small accomplishment considering the intense competition for software developers that often command six-figure incomes.

Hughes and Detroit Labs' executive team had to get creative to get there. It employs everything from a non-traditional company-wide interviewing system to an apprentice program. The newly instituted apprentice program has added a significant shot in the arm for the firm's recruiting efforts.

Detroit Labs' apprentice program trains new mobile app developers over a three-month period. During that time the apprentices serve as full-time employees of the company and have the opportunity to become full-fledged members of the firm at the end of the program. There are a dozen members in its first class right now, and it's taking up the time of 1.5 employees to run. It's time well spent as far as Hughes is concerned.

"In southeast Michigan there are tons of people who are very talented and have lots of potential but for whatever reason didn’t get into software," Hughes says.

Detroit Labs
also isn't a big fan of resumes from potential job candidates.

"We don't accept resumes," Hughes says. "We call resumes creative writing for the wrong audience."

Detroit Labs makes its hiring process all-inclusive inside the company. The form let’s its employees meet job applicants and give their opinions on whether they would be a good fit for the company. If a couple of employees have a negative view of an applicant despite a vast majority liking that person, the chances of that job applicant being hired plummet.

"All of these things slow us down, but it helps the team work very efficiently together," Hughes says.

- Written by Jon Zemke

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