We started by making a list of some of our top hires on the services team, and some of the hires that didn’t work out. We then listed off all the traits that either made someone great or that made them struggle, and noted trends along the way.
From there, we brainstormed questions or tests that would allow us to evaluate each trait and then divided those evaluation methods into the different stages of our hiring process.
Culture Fit Screening in Our Hiring Process
At each stage of our hiring process, we’re looking for something different to qualify someone as a good culture fit. Below I’ll break down some of the things we evaluate at each stage.
When a candidate fills out an application to work for IMPACT, it's their opportunity to make a great "first impression."
With a quick scan of the application, you can tell immediately if someone actually took the time to thoughtfully answer the questions, or if they just wanted to hit submit and move on to the next one. Reading “see resume” for each question or finding spelling mistakes throughout shows they aren't detail-oriented and possibly do not care about the position itself.
At IMPACT, we’re about quality work and building a positive brand for the company. If someone isn’t serious about representing themselves well, we can assume they won’t go above and beyond to represent the company well.
Here are a few screenshots of some of my favorite answers I’ve seen on applications that give some insight into culture fit:
I understand this person might not have anything to put for these answers, but when you’re representing yourself and making a first impression, there’s a more professional way to do it. Simply writing out “I don’t currently have a LinkedIn account” sends a better message than “nope.”
Even though I think we’re quite fashionable at IMPACT, we’re far from being fashionista.com. Obviously, this person just copied and pasted the same cover letter from a previous job application.
At IMPACT, we’re looking for people who not only have the attention to detail but would also take the time to write out a personalized cover letter. That demonstrates to us a clear desire to work for IMPACT specifically, as opposed to just any ol' company that will hire them.
While technically this person did give me a LinkedIn URL and a Twitter URL, I would hope the right applicant would understand that we’re asking for links to their profiles, not the websites.
Video Submitted by the Applicant
We recently started using Jobma, a video interviewing platform that will ask the applicant questions, record their answers, add it to their profile in our applicant tracking system, and notify us that the video is completed. Pretty cool, right?
Saying video is a huge part of our culture is an understatement. We need people who are passionate about video and are comfortable being on camera. (Or are at least willing to go outside of their comfort zone and try it!)
Some people even take themselves out of the process at this point -- possibly because they just don’t want to be on camera. While other people do submit videos only to find that they aren’t great on camera, or they simply didn’t answer the questions well.
Either through poor performance or self-elimination, adding video into our application process has helped us more effectively identify those who may not be the right culture fit for us.
1-on-1 Video Interview
This stage is a 30-minute live video interview with the applicant, and it’s our first chance to talk to them face-to-face.
Me pretending (shh…) to have a video interview with Shandia Drummond, our sales operations specialist, just so I could set the tone for the 1-on-1 interview.
We recently re-named this the “culture interview,” because we dig deep with culture-driven questions to see if someone fits what we’re looking for.
For example, one of the questions we ask is:
“If you were in my position, knowing what you know about your own strengths and areas of opportunity to grow, what are two reasons you would not hire yourself?”
This helps us to find out if they have self-awareness and a growth mindset, two things that are very important in the role they’d be taking.
During this stage, we take a regular part of the role and have the applicant complete it as if they were an IMPACT employee. For instance, when hiring someone for an account executive role, we have them perform a mock client call with one of our team members.
We need to see if they’re able to do the actual job and not just talk the talk.
While we do have a detailed rubric of things we’re looking for during this call, we’re also evaluating a few other things:
- Does this person sound IMPACT-y? (This is a difficult trait to put a score to, but you know it when you hear/see it.)
- Do they have the right attitude for working with our clients? (Another difficult one to grade, but easier to evaluate the vibe they give off on the call.)
Meanwhile, our rubric is grading things such as communication skills, ability to challenge, active listening, etc., all of which are important not only in the role but also as an IMPACT employee.
Call with Our CEO
Bob Ruffolo, our CEO, knows our culture better than anyone, and he wants to make sure we maintain it. During this call, he looks for any red flags we may have missed to avoid bringing anyone onto the team who isn’t a good fit.
Bob and me just hanging out, trying to be good culture fits. 💥