Captain's log, stardate d411.y38/AB
Having a strong company culture sets the expectations for future hires and lets them know in advance how's your day-to-day like in your company. In this post, we explain how our company culture has helped us to hire faster and better.
Since we came up with the idea of founding MarsBased, we were determined on creating a different company. We wrote about it in our previous post How We Came Up With Our Company Culture.
Not only because it was going to be our first venture but because we knew that a lot of companies we would be competing with get company culture wrong. We have since played that to our advantage.
My two founding partners and I have worked in and with a few companies throughout our careers, most being consultancies. A lot of them seemed to struggle in passing down their values to their employees and, most of all, in hiring developers.
We believe that both situations can be solved by having a strong company culture. Why? Because in our case our company culture has allowed us to hire better and faster.
We can break down the how in three pillars. Let's review them!
1. Our company culture sets us apart from other companies
In nowadays business world, new companies are being created every day. Never before in history have there been as many companies as there are today, and thanks to the internet, we can meet and work for companies from virtually anywhere in the world.
Some are global while some are local copies of companies who are thriving in other countries, and then we've got myriads of SMBs trying to navigate the seas of business without being swallowed by the giant corporations.
In such a scenario, no wonder how people have a hard time telling one company from the other. In competing companies - same sector, space and even, maybe, the same country - like N26 and Revolut, or Basecamp and Redbooth, just to name two examples, how do you pick which one to use, buy or even work for?
It boils down to company values and culture.
Revolut have got a company culture of work hard / play hard, pulling long shifts and working even on the weekends to meet their ambitious growth goals, and have a cocky-funny tone in their communications, sometimes bordering on downright arrogant. N26, on the other hand, have a more sober approach in their tone, and their company culture is more focused on balance and doing things the right way, never compromising politeness.
A similar thing you will find in most competing businesses: they have different management styles and values, and those are being used to stand out in this crowded world of abundance of opportunities and competitors.
In our case, our culture of transparency, of less is more and of always erring on the side of quality, for instance, sets us apart from most development consultancies, whose strategy is to get projects at any cost, compromising quality and employee satisfaction (and, more often than not, client satisfaction as well!).
Our values have earned us some clients, who have preferred to work with us because of our vision of the world and how we operate. Therefore, by defining our core values, we define what we stand for as a company.
A clear example of this is we don't do overtime as a general rule. 40 hour work weeks are the rule and we ask our employees to think long term before working over eight hours a day. Since most consultancies do pull long working days (including weekends), this is a clear differentiation point for us. Because by standing out from the rest, it is easier to become top of the mind for your audience, potential hires or potential clients.
2. Our company culture helps us to screen candidates (and it helps them screen us too!)
We communicate our values in everything we do. We do it explicitly, by publishing articles on our blog post, organising events, talking at events, or even with our playbook, and we also do it implicitly, by living and breathing them in our daily life.
Since we've been around for well over five years now, we have built an audience. Developers we've met at events are reading our blog, following us on social media, attending our events or the conferences we speak in, or even receiving our bi-weekly newsletter.
That means, that we are appealing for this audience. Developers who want to work in a quiet environment, with a healthy company culture and with a charming team of incredibly-skilled professionals (and, most of all, really good people) are the ones who most likely we want to work with.
While we don't actively pursue attracting talent with our marketing actions, we have learnt that it actually works pretty well for us. We mostly communicate to share what we're doing, in hopes of getting new clients, but truth be told, it has brought us to meet a lot of interesting people who want to work for us.
However, we sadly get a lot of applications from people who just apply for everything and anything, and don't even read the job descriptions. Just by taking a look at their applications we can know if they're a right fit or not:
- Is the writing clear and precise?
- Do they drop the ball every time you agree on a certain action?
- Are they on time for the videocalls?
- Have they read the job offer at all?
- Do they mention having read our blog or having followed us for a while?
- Have they taken the time to research our company and mention specific things they like?
Most of the points above are related to our values or can be linked to a certain aspect of our company culture.
On the other hand, being so transparent about our company culture also means that potential candidates can screen us too before we even meet them.
People not interested in our company culture will most likely not apply for a job at MarsBased, and that saves us a lot of time we can invest in the good matches.
Because we believe that everyone's time is precious, we share as much as we can about our company so that only people who are really interested spend time doing the job interviews. We want to be very respectful of everyone's time, and by being so open, we believe that most unfit candidates filter themselves out on their own.
3. Our company culture allows us to hire faster
Even though we receive lots of applications, we are not a company that hires anything that moves. A lot of high-growth startups and big corporations have either big headcount goals or high employee attrition, very often optimising for volume in detriment of quality.
In our case, every person who joins our team becomes a key asset, and impacts our company tremendously. We need to be very selective of whom we hire, but we do so by nailing down a very specific persona, and filter out invalid candidates with some of the tips I shared in the previous section.
But how do we hire faster? Well, first of all, by really focusing on the right fits, and by always leaning on having fewer candidates but better ones.
We also do only two interviews: a general one, where we get to know each other with the candidate, and a technical one. Our interviews are never excessively long, and by doing two, we are true to our principles of less is more. We'd rather take only two interviews but prepare them really well, instead of having everyone go down the same route of pre-packaged and generic interviews.
Because of our company size, we can also tailor them to almost every single candidate, which also speaks about our values at length.
Another thing contributing to speeding up the hiring process is most valid candidates have already bought into our modus operandi and don't need to be convinced in the interviews. This way, we can spend more time getting to know them better and talking about what really matters, instead of pitching them how great it is to work with us.
Alright! Here's our take on how a strong company culture can help you to hire faster and better.
What other things do you think I've missed or want us to cover in future posts? Kindly let us know in the comments section below while we prepare our next post!