Hiring is the single most important thing that we can do as a team. Culture is the result of people, not an artificial layer on top. An effective team is far more productive than a dysfunctional one, so our main focus must be: Will this person complement and improve our culture?
IMPORTANTLY: “Culture fit” does NOT mean “Looks like us”. It means that a person embodies the qualities we value:
Is communicative. Clear, honest, kind communication helps us focus on what’s important and spend less time in discussion.
Has a critical attitude towards work. Makes good decisions whilst not necessarily accepting the status quo. We won’t always start in the right direction, and we can’t waste time working on the wrong things.
Is kind, diligent, proactive. Works to share their knowledge and help their teammates.
Has a growth mindset and cares about doing excellent work.
Is humble. We’re often wrong and we learn every day.
These attitudes can come from anyone. We will not discriminate in any way, including but not limited to: Race, age, religion, orientation, gender identity, national origin, education, disability or family status. If we work under shared values, a team from different backgrounds will have broader insights and produce a better product.
Everyone has unconscious bias; we must actively work to compensate for those in our hiring practices. Otherwise we risk rejecting someone who would have made an excellent addition to our team.
An interview is not a “test” for candidates. It’s a conversation, designed to find people who share our values and would improve our team. To that aim, we should:
Provide clear, concise job descriptions. No corporate language. Give people a completely realistic picture of their day-to-day work.
Provide clear information on salary + benefits. Preferably a range with a set salary for an “ideal” candidate. (Note: consider the effects of being under-paid during your career. A salary “based on experience” or negotiated based on previous pay locks you into compensation below your ability. This can be an accidental blocker for under-represented demographics, e.g. the 25% pay gap between male and female tech staff.
Have a well understood and transparent interview process.
If you need to test for code quality, how and when do you do that? For seniors with good references, you really need to spend multiple hours pairing with them. That time should be compensated for. I.e. a day or afternoon of paid freelance work as a final step.
Who will the candidate be meeting, and what will be talked about?
Review your interviews – can you improve them in any way?
The candidate should meet a broad range of our team. E.g. senior managers, new hires, etc.
Do your best to help them feel relaxed. Interview nerves have absolutely no bearing on experience or ability.