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Hiring for cultural compatibility in a startup is key

Written By:
Eden Elder

As FullContact’s Chief People Officer and the newest member of the team, I’m blown away by the large amount of employment interest we receive week in and week out. FullContact’s fabulous brand speaks for itself and the essence of that brand is something that starts from within.

One of our core brand values is being awesome with people. But to ensure that we’re awesome with our clients, stakeholders, and investors, we have to first be awesome with each other. And for that, all I can say is WOW – the company culture here is unmatched. We work hard and we play hard. We value our values!

We have incredible benefits like 100% paid health care, paid PAID vacation ($7,500 per year), open vacation policy, 10 paid holidays, free RTD Eco Pass, powder day policy, work remote policy, casual dress code (we love flip-flops!) and many more. All of these benefits are designed so FullContact employees can focus on work when they need to, while not worrying about distractions. Once again, simply put, we’re being awesome with our employees and in turn they’re awesome with us so the entire company benefits.

It’s tough to keep a lid on something that so many people are truly passionate about, and, as such, we attract hundreds of resumes for our open positions. Candidates hear about us, read about us, and write to let us know they want to work for us. There are candidates that have been turned down due to a mismatch in skill set, yet they have had a taste of what it is like to be on the inside, and they keep coming back hoping for a better job match.

Having a fabulous brand is important to attracting fabulous talent. But that, of course, is only the first step. We also take interviews seriously!

What I love most about the interview process is that both skill and cultural compatibility are weighed evenly. If someone has a mad skill set but behaves arrogantly or otherwise poorly, there will be no opportunity for them! If someone shines in the ‘awesomeness’ department but doesn’t have the best skill set, there is also no opportunity for them!

When a potential candidate makes it to the in-person interview, there will be many (very friendly) eyes on this candidate. We ask as many culture questions as technical or job specific questions. We let our candidates meet their potential team as well as others. We take them out for drinks or dinners to socialize. We laugh and we have fun. We want candidates to feel like we’re on the same team even if we don’t find a match. There is a no-tolerance policy for arrogance and an “I am better than you” mentality.

At FullContact, we are your family away from home and so you’ll have to fit in. Do you remember bringing your girlfriend or boyfriend to meet your family? How long did that relationship last after you found out your family didn’t like this person? Well, it’s kind of the same at FullContact. We trust our employees’ instincts.

After all the interviews have concluded, the interview team debriefs and uses a 1-7 point system. A ‘1’ means that you would absolutely leave the company if we DO hire the candidate. A ‘7’ means you will absolutely leave the company if we DO NOT hire the candidate. If a candidate mainly receives 6’s and 7’s, we are pretty happy. A candidate receiving mainly 5’s may come back for additional interviews, however 4’s and below will get a call right away saying that they aren’t being considered for the position.

We are growing very quickly, but realize how crucial it is to maintain our company culture as we grow. Ask me in half a year how we’re doing and I’ll happily provide an update!

What do you think about our hiring process? Do you think it’s critical to hire employees who align with company culture? We’d love to hear from you – comment below or tweet us!

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