Here at InterWorks, maintaining a small group of amazing people is very important to me. Having 500, 1,000 or 10,000 employees just for the purpose of leveraging that army to hit a billion in revenue is simply not the goal. In fact, it just sounds horrible.
We take a lot of pride – and put a lot of effort – in having an amazing culture. This requires us to be vigilant about who is allowed into that culture and who will help propagate that culture. It sounds easy, right? Most companies say something similar, then focus all their HR efforts on getting as many new people through the door as possible. I feel like I have to push for the exact opposite.
Our interview process at InterWorks involves several stages. We have an initial phone screen, then one or two technical screens that often happen via phone or video conference. Should the person successfully navigate those meetings, we’ll invite them into our main office where they’ll often talk to anywhere between two and six additional people.
If all is still going well, they’ll head into my office where Staci and I will do the final interview. To the dismay of many a manager or team lead in need of a new hire, a lot of people will make it to this final stage only to get a “NO” from me.
To better clarify our philosophy for casual readers, candidates and even some of those dismayed managers, I want to talk about hiring and why this process is so important to me.
When hiring, there are only two choices: “HELL YES” or “NO”.
Would I Be Excited?
When I am evaluating a candidate, I am interested in hearing their story. I’m not first concerned with salary demands or their technical ability, and I’m most definitely not concerned with the role we are trying to fill. I simply want to know what makes them tick, what they are passionate about and if they have “the fire” in their belly.
My primary question is “Would I be excited to have this person at InterWorks?” If the answer is “they were OK,” “yeah, I kinda like them” or even worse “they could do the job,” then the answer is an absolute “NO.” Again, this evaluation is done almost 100% on personality; not previous experience, salary requirement, urgency of hire or geographic location. The same methodology is applied to someone new to the job market or someone who has been in the space for 20 years.
It has to be a “HELL YES.”
Not Everyone Gets It
Of course, this can be frustrating to hiring managers because they have work piling up and need a hire ASAP. They’ll get excited that they’ve found a person that has the skills and experience on their resume, but then we have to pass. It’s tough. I get it. But we can’t be short-sighted on this one.
I understand that we will end up weeding out candidates that may have been amazing. There’s even a good possibility of us making a mistake and missing out on someone great. Most importantly though, it means that the likelihood of letting anyone in the door that isn’t the right fit is very slim.
The right people – the “HELL YEAH” people – are out there.
Whenever I’ve questioned why someone is here, I can immediately think back to the interview. I can always remember the point where I gave in and thought “good enough” or “alright for the job.” This eats at me because I know the kind of organization that we’ve all worked so hard to build. Even worse, going against the philosophy does an incredible amount of damage – we’ve seen this happen again and again.
Finally, Firing People Sucks
I’ve heard people jokingly say, “We really suck at firing people.” It’s true, and this is why we can’t give in. If we keep our hiring practices tough, we really don’t have to fire people. Another reason to get it right the first time.
We need the right people; people who are hungry, people who come with excitement, people with eyes wide open who are ready to conquer the world.
So, as you interview candidates moving forward, whether you’re hiring for InterWorks or you’ve just stumbled on my post, I encourage you to consider this core philosophy of how we hire:
“If they aren’t a HELL YES, they’re a NO.”