Tutora – finding the right team

Tutora is an online marketplace for students and tutors. SME caught up with co-founder Scott Woodley to find out what the business looks for in a team member…

How many employees do you have?

There are currently only the two of us, but we’re now seeking another Developer to join our team. Upon securing investment, we’ll also employ someone to take on the administrative burden and free up more of our time to promote the business. Ultimately, we aim to keep the business lean, and to make the site as intuitive as possible, to afford our users as much flexibility as possible.

What do you look for when you are recruiting?

We want our employees to be: skilled, honest, hardworking, to have an entrepreneurial spirit and to be likeable.

We set up Tutora with the aim of helping parents and students find the best tutors, and we want people who share that goal. In looking to do that, we’ve also built an ethos between Mark and I, and through the site. We try to be open, warm and honest with our users, who know we’re a small team, trying to do our best for everyone. We need the people who join us be incredibly competent with a great skillset, but also people we can trust to work independently. They need to have the tenacity to spot a problem and bunker down to find the solution, which is what we mean by having an entrepreneurial spirit. People often associate being an entrepreneur with making money, but we feel that it’s about spotting problems and solving them in new and innovative ways.

Finally, we want it to keep being fun. We’ve been friends for over 15 years, so we need people who we can get on with, which means that they definitely need to get sarcasm.

What attributes are necessary in your business?

Having empathy. I think this is the most important attribute to have in life and business. Every business should be aiming to solve a problem, and, to do that, you’ve got to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to understand their hopes and fears. We try to do that for our tutors, parents and students so that we can create a product that works for everyone. In an industry where we’re dealing with education, children and their parents, it’s being able to know what parents want, what they want to avoid, and being able to satisfy them in both regards. It’s then about communicating that understanding and why we can deliver a real solution for them.

What makes you a good employer to work for?

I don’t know. We’ve not done it yet!

We’d like to think that we’re pretty empathetic guys, who work very hard but are flexible about how we do that. If we can find someone with a similar ethos to us, I think they’ll love joining our team.

We’re hugely ambitious, and if they have that similar passion for building something great, then we’ll happily reward them for it, and give them the independence to work on things they might not have scope to in larger more restrictive organisations. I guess that’s the beauty of working at a startup or SME.

Also, without sounding like a 90s ‘cool’ new brand where everyone wears high-waisted jeans and black turtlenecks, we like table tennis and going for a beer.