Create a cultural experience for recruits to help discover “fit”

Culture: wear it loud

Use your company culture as the first filter in the hiring process. If someone doesn’t like the experience, they are not a fit. Move on.

Culture is a powerful thing and when you get it right, it can be a guiding force in you business — how decisions are made, how innovation occurs, how people are motivated, what they are motivated to do…all culture. Whatever culture you create, it should be intentional, related to your mission and make it obvious to anyone who walks in the door what is important to you as a business.

If you make the culture obvious, make it loud and ubiquitous, you can create experiences for potential hires that expose them to the culture and really evaluate cultural fit — before you hire them.

AND 1 was a basketball company and we played hoops at lunch on the full size court in the middle of the office. Everyone who interviewed for a job over our first 100 hires had to play in the lunchtime run. Most people thought we were evaluating their game but we didn’t care if they could talk trash or hit a J with a hand in their face. We actually cared about the 5 minutes before the game. We cared how they reacted when we asked them to play — were they open to new/uncomfortable situations. We cared how they responded when we took them into the supply closet to pick out shorts, shoes and a shirt — did they love the product and engage in finding a cool hook-up with stuff that matched. We cared how they acted on the court — did they have fun and commit to the game or remain uncomfortable and nervous. For us, this was all about fit.

Recently I saw this piece on our portfolio company Fab.com and I think is shows how they are wearing their culture on their sleeve (and i don’t just mean Bradford’s ink). If I were interviewing potential hires for Fab, I would make sure to meet them at the front door and point them to the person they were going to meet — across the office. If they could walk across that office and not stop to look at something or pick up an item off someone’s desk just to check it out, I am not sure they would be a good fit. The company is all about design, the office is full of amazing design objects. It is totally subjective, but if a potential hire is not drawn to pick up at least one, does not appreciate an image or object for a moment as they head to their meeting, I would question if they are right for the job.(they are hiring by the way)

Creating the culture is the hard part, but once you have it, use it as the primary filter in your hiring process. It will pay off.