Octopus Energy is made up of 1000+ fantastic people working on stuff you'd never expect, all pushing hard towards a shared goal: driving the global green energy revolution. In our Spotlight series, we'll introduce you to some of the brilliant people behind the scenes.
Sotiris joined Octopus two years ago to work as part of the rapidly-growing Leicester Operations Team. He's part of our hit squad on recruiting, working hard to ensure we're hiring the right people to join the octopus family.
Recently I had a virtual chat with Sotiris to discuss a day in the life of an Octopus team member, and the innovative changes he is working on to ensure our recruitment is fair for all.
Samsam: So what do you do at Octopus?
Sotiris: Over the last 2 years, I've worked as part of Octopus' customer service team, which means chatting to customers every day via email and on the phone to help with any questions or issues they have with their energy accounts.
Sotiris at a not-so-recent staff party. Remember parties? 😢
I'm part of the greatest team to grace Octopus Energy: Team I.
We do customer service a little differently here – every energy specialist is put in a small team of ~10 people who can help customers with their problems end-to-end. Each team looks after a small group of customers, so every team is like it's own mini-business, and customers get to speak to the same team each time they get in touch.
I'm also part of Octopus' hit squad on recruitment, changing up the way we hire to help grow our customer services team in the most ‘Octopus’ way.
Samsam: What does your day to day look like?
Sotiris: The great thing about Octopus is that every day can look different, and you are always encouraged to explore your interests. Lots of my team members have moved to managing teams of their own or taken on roles in specialist areas, and I have progressed to recruiting bright and brilliant new energy specialists – though I'll always still spend a bit of time each week speaking to customers.
I find resolving complaints really satisfying, especially when it involves a complicated investigation.
When I first joined I was super nervous about speaking to customers on the phone but it was quite an accomplishment to be able to successfully deal with a customer issue and actually hear the service made their day.
It never fails to put a smile on my face and to this day I love that part of the role.
Samsam: What is the best part of your job?
Sotiris: I really value the importance of a personal touch when it comes to dealing with our customers, and I've really enjoyed being a highlight of someone's day.
I've really enjoyed being a highlight of someone's day, going above and beyond, whether it’s sending flowers to someone going through a difficult time, or a Christmas card to someone who's been living on their own.
Samsam: Have you always been interested in Energy and Sustainability?
Sotiris: I have always tried to be environmentally conscious but working for Octopus has taught me so much. It's amazing to me how much of an impact we have been able to have on our industry and the environment. The recognition we have had for our technology and approach in trying to revolutionise the energy industry has been pretty inspiring.
Samsam: What is it like helping to recruit for Octopus' team and what drew you to it?
Sotiris and team leading one of our recruitment Discovery Days
We have created ‘Discovery Days’ which take the focus away from CVs as a way to combat potential unconscious bias – our recruitment team now have no previous knowledge of the background or even last names of participants.
They involve a fun icebreaker, Zoom group exercises based on customer scenarios, a Q&A and a panel interview.
These many group activities and challenges throughout the day allow us to really see how every applicant performs, so we can pick the best people for the job.
Diversity has always been important to us, but the George Floyd protests really brought home just how crucial, and expedited key changes we wanted to make.
Something that we're quite proud of as a company is that we don’t just do the token social media posts but actually follow through – raising funds, looking in on ourselves and then working together as a team to put that to good use.
It would have been so easy to just do a quick post and then go back to normal, but that’s not how we do things.
Samsam: What are you looking for in a new hire?
When we say 'team players' we really mean it – Octopus is full of people who genuinely want to see each other every day.
Mostly, we are looking for people who share our ambition to make a huge, positive impact on the environment.
We are also looking for team players who match our enthusiasm, work ethic and our general outlook.
I think these things are a huge part of why we have been able to grow so fast in scale.
Favourite Octopus party?
I got pretty lucky in 2019 where I happened to be travelling between the offices and talked my way into all 3 Octopus Christmas parties which was amazing (here's a snap of one of them – believe it or not, the theme wasn't 'loud shirts!)
Another favourite was one of our team parties in London, where we hired out a bar that was essentially one massive ball pit complete with UV lights and cocktails.
Your most memorable day at work?
It’s a tie between the first Discovery Day and my One Year Octopus Anniversary where I got tons of balloons and presents from the team.
To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
Best TV show to rewatch?
Best Greg story?
At our party celebrating 500,000 customers we hired a big bouncy castle and Greg was one of the first people to jump on. He just sprinted up and there's something about seeing your boss do a backflip on a bouncy castle and triumphantly raise his arms up that makes you think ‘that’s a cool guy.’
[Editor's note: We searched high and low for photographic proof of the backflip but none could be located. Sotiris is an honest guy though, so we have no reason to doubt him. Here's a picture of our CTO buried under a pile of fluffy octopuses from the same night.]
Favourite holiday you've been on?
Oh that's tricky. Just before I joined Octopus I spent a few months at an American Summer Camp where I was a lifeguard. I love Watersports and teaching so it was an incredible experience.
Samsam: How have you been keeping yourself entertained whilst working from home?
I am very grateful as my life hasn’t been affected as much as other people, and I live with people I love. It can be hard to stay entertained sometimes but I have been keeping busy with baking, running and doing things I would otherwise not get time for.
We also went all out for Christmas with our decorations and even bought three Christmas trees which was definitely interesting…
Samsam: What work have you done at Octopus that you’re most proud of?
Definitely the changes to our recruitment process, and improving it so we are hiring the best people for the job, regardless of their background. The traditional recruitment method creates homogeneous work spaces whereas our way isn’t concerned with your background, what you look like or even your previous performances – it’s just about your current merit.
I’m really proud of it, the whole team works really hard at it and it’s already created a more inclusive environment.