Francisco Morales

Lead recruiter, backend engineering

Francisco Morales

Lead recruiter, backend engineering

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  • Hear from Francisco, Talent Acquisition Team

Hear from Francisco, Talent Acquisition Team

What attracted you to join Canva?

I’ve always had an interest in technology, I was building computers at age 6. So joining a high growth technology startup in Australia and hiring some of the best engineers from all over the world, that’s everything I could ask for as a recruiter. 

The opportunity to help build the early team of such a fast growing company was very attractive to me. When I met Mel and Cliff I really understood what they were trying to do, and talking to the engineers I could see they were really passionate about what they were building.

What does a typical day in recruitment look like?

There’s no typical day in recruitment! The core of my role is meeting and talking to backend engineers. It’s great to meet people everyday who understand the Canva vision and let them know what we’re doing here. One of my main roles is to evangelise the high performing engineering culture, but also to see if there’s a connection there between the candidate and the business, and whether their professional goals align with the goals of Canva.

A large part of my day is spent with the team, working to optimise our processes. Maybe we’ll find out that a certain part of the interview process isn’t converting well for example, so we’ll try to discover the reason why. Sourcing and market mapping takes about an hour each day, and some of my day is spent dealing with external recruitment partners. If I’ve got engineers in the office for interviews though, my main job is to make sure that they’re having a good experience and being fed! We always want to make sure that the candidate has a good experience and takes something away from the process, whether they get the job or not.

What do you find most interesting about your job?

The most interesting thing for me is that I’m constantly learning. The more I learn about software engineering, the better I become as a recruiter. The more I learn about growth marketing, the better I’m able to position what we’re offering in the market. We’re all about doing recruitment well, not just pushing through deals.  

I also love all the different people and personalities that I come across in this job. I speak to people from all over the world who want to work at Canva. Understanding their stories and backgrounds and the kind of work they’ve done is always fascinating.


What do you find most challenging?

Keeping up with the pace of a company like Canva is a challenge. We need to hire a lot of people, but the bar is also very high. In a high growth business like this, priorities change quickly and what was important last week might not be important this week. Maybe the role you were sourcing for has suddenly changed, for example. The systems and technologies we’re using are able to adapt to changes like that though. I can take that candidate list I’ve sourced and store it, so I can pick up hiring the conversations later. 

How would you describe the culture of the People team at Canva?

The people team communicates really well. We can get in a room, have the difficult discussions and always come to a reasonable solution. We’re all natural communicators, so we understand that you need to be collaborative and compromise in order to get things done. We’ve got EQ in spades. We’re a team with a common mission, sharing our learnings and even our candidates from time to time. There’s always some friendly competition and banter, but fundamentally it’s a collaborative rather than competitive culture.

You always hear about “culture fit”, but we like talking about “culture add”. Being able to bring people on board who can add to the Canva culture, not just be the same as everyone else, is really important to us as recruiters, and we have the same attitude when bringing new people into the Talent Acquisition team.

What are some of the benefits and perks available to the recruitment team at Canva?

There’s the Canva-wide benefits of course, like breakfast and lunch, gym membership and flexible hours. Flexible hours are really important for the recruitment team, because we need to talk to candidates at times that suit them, and then be able to take that time off later. In general we get a lot of leeway and budget to do what we need to do, whether that’s trying out new sourcing platforms or job boards, international calls or just coffees with candidates. 

Recruiters at Canva get to drive the whole recruitment process, that’s a big perk for me. We aren’t micromanaged. I’ll meet a candidate and discuss a role, then during the technical challenge we help the candidate with any issues they have, then we set up the final interviews and challenge review. The decision whether to hire is made by the engineers who interview the candidates, but during that process I also have input, I can say “I think this person can make it, I think they would be good for Canva”. So as recruiters we are really structuring the whole interview process. It’s nice to get that kind of trust from the teams we’re hiring for, as well as the founders themselves.

What skills or attributes are you looking for when hiring people for the recruitment team at Canva?

You have to be smart, brave, humble and care about what you’re doing. That’s my own version of a culture statement by Mark Britt, who used to be the CEO of Mi9. We need smart people that can identify a problem, come up with a solution and execute it. I’m looking for people who aren’t afraid to get on the phone and have a difficult discussion, or make the occasional cold call. We also look for people that are humble though. It’s not a macho, competitive culture, and we don’t want big egos. We need people who can be challenged in the way they do things, because that’s how you learn.

We’re all in this together, and we all have to care about the other people here, the candidates and the needs of the business. It’s called the “People team”, and we treat people like people. That also means being transparent and honest. Sometimes if you really care, you have to disagree with people, and that’s OK. Maybe there’s a candidate who’s very qualified, but they want a higher position than we’re able to promise them. In that case it’s not in anyone’s interests to hire them, even if your job as a recruiter is to get people in the door. So there’s tough calls to make, and I look for people who can make those tough calls.

Canva needs people who are driven to build something bigger than themselves. That’s how we’ll stay the leader in this domain. We need to hire people that will allow our teams to hit their goals, but also stay happy and cohesive.

We also want recruiters who are dedicated to particular business areas and can talk to candidates on a low level about their specialities. By specialising like this we get a lot of buy-in from applicants because we really know the subject area. Internally, it means that the engineers and other teams trust us to make informed decisions. 

Why is now a good time to join Canva in recruitment?

Things are really starting to happen now. In the past year we’ve doubled in size, the variety of roles is growing and new teams are springing up. Previously the hiring focus was more on engineering, but now there are lots of areas in the business which are growing in size. A new recruiter could potentially immerse themselves in UI/UX related roles, for example. Whichever hiring field you go into, you’ll be working with some of the best practitioners in the world to find new team members.

It’s an exciting time because there’s still so much to do. We’re still very open to suggestions about our processes in recruitment, so every new team member can make a real impact.