A different approach to hiring
We've been asked many times over the past month how we do what we do. Our prices are unreal, our tactics are not normal yet produce continuous results, and our work/life balance is only like the most successful and profitable businesses. I thought it would be good to start telling people how we do what we do being we are always asked the question every month. I feel that it will also help other businesses. We will start with the most basic of processes which are hiring of the right people to do the job.
To start with our process for hiring is like every other process. You cannot study for it. People are routinely pushed to study and prepare. To us, a great interview means you cannot study for it. Your personality is as important to us as your technical skill. You need to have a passion for what you will be doing as it is that passion that is a key feature we want out of our team. Many that come are still in school or just graduating college.
Speaking of school, you do not have to have a college degree to work with us. Most do though that work with us as a team. We believe that school might not be right for everyone. People who have a true passion, talent, and love for something have a skillset that school cannot fully teach.
Most everyone that is brought on as an intern which means we are grabbing those just getting started with a fresh idea and may not have fully learned where they want to be in life. They are individuals that are truly fresh, innovative, and quick to handle change. Being a company that strives for continuous change that is something we definitely want.
We look for someone that is free-spirited and self-motivated. Being we have Nerf guns in the office and a ping pong table (that really almost never gets used – but a great conversation piece). We want those free thinkers but also those that are able to work on their own. After all, this is a business and being so we don't want someone we have to babysit. Those that have needed to be babysat will always fail with us as we are a very busy bunch.
One of the hardest items we have found is that we have four core rules. The first we call rule #1 of "no lying" or being honest. This is critical to a person's success and actually is what kills most new people off. If you are able to get through the process and are brought onboard those that don't have this as a core of their being will not last. Our next rule is security. This is not just computer security for confidentiality of our clients. We deal with unique clients and we don't talk about them. We often know of new products they are releasing, new patents they are working on, and even marketing tactics they don't want to know about. Security comprises more than just protecting your email, website, and company data. The third was at one time our weakest component. It wasn't that our customer service wasn't good, it was. We used technology too much. We were only sending emails and not talking with our clients. Now the phone is an integral part of our overall success and human to human conversations typically happen more than email communication. This also eliminates any miscommunications. The last item of our company core rules that a person needs to be on is an environmental impact. This means that you need to look for ways to improve our environment whether it is just picking up a piece of trash blowing by, recycling (we're still waiting on the city to give us a recycling can). We use our neighbors for now as they are just awesome.
The fun for us begins the process. I receive one to three resumes per week from people wanting to work in the web design, software development, graphic design, marketing, social media, or writing fields. Every application received is looked over and I look at where we are planning on growing, if we have a spot available, and if after reading the application if they might be a good fit. Even with no spots open if we feel it would be a good fit and no position available we offer a person the option for sales. There are reasons for the dreaded sales role. It shows us your commitment, you get to learn about every aspect of the company, and when it comes time to grow an area of the company if we know your passion is in that area we offer it internally first. Every application received is always responded too. Many a few days later as after reading, I think about who the person is, what they are looking for, and I always sleep on any decision.
The interview processes you could say is completely different from everything else we do. Many will have just one interview and that's it. Sometimes we go more with the more being more technical in nature and is based on the role you will be doing. We will normally meet at Uptown Café which is a small coffee shop around a mile from the office. This has a few benefits. First, I love coffee. Second, it puts a person into a more relaxed and non-traditional interview process. The final reason is being this is a public setting you can see how relaxed someone is when they are surrounded by a lot of people which tells us how well they can interact around people they might not initially know. During the interview, we talk. There will be talk about the position, a ton about who we are as a company, and what a person likes to do in their life. During the entire process, questions are always asked and answered as completely as possible.
During the process, we will talk about the long-term vision for the department they are looking to be a part of, who they will be working with, and the reporting structure they would be a part of. The biggest aspect I look for in talking is will you be outgoing, are you a person that will fit our company culture, will you add value to our company, and will we be able to help you grow as an individual (I feel this is as important as anything else).
As I said, in the beginning, you cannot prepare for our style of hiring as it's based on your entire life. You have been training your entire life for this position and no amount of preparing will get you prepared beyond "living".