At Culture Amp, we do a founder interview for everybody that joins the company. So, late in the interview process every candidate gets the opportunity to meet with one of the founders. While we don’t tell people who they can or can’t hire, I do want to meet people as they’re coming into the organization and know who they are.
We're now hiring about 15 people a month, so it’s a fairly large commitment to continue to have a founder interview for every person who joins the company. I still firmly believe in the value of the founder interview because of the insight I get about the people we're looking to bring into the company and the way our hiring managers understand and prioritize different candidates.
It also gives me the opportunity to sell the vision of the company and convince candidates to join us. I want to help every person who comes and joins the company to believe that this is the right place for them to be.
Finally, I don’t consider myself to be an intimidating person but I know that it’s easy for new starters to feel intimidated to come and speak to me. They’re not intimidated by Didier, they’re intimidated by the CEO. When I have an open conversation with somebody who’s considering joining the company it makes it easier for them to come up and chat to me or shoot me a note on Slack when they start work.
People ask lots of different questions during their founder interview but the most common one I’m asked is “What do I need to do to be successful at Culture Amp?”
I have two pieces of advice that I offer when I answer that question:
1. Find ways to create relationships with people outside your office
We have four offices - Melbourne, San Francisco, New York, and London. So it’s important for people to find ways to create relationships outside the office they’re based in.
While we're a pretty fluid, agile and open company, it makes it hard to do wayfaring and know who has what bit of information. It can be overwhelming to new people but everybody needs to find ways to connect with people outside their office. There’s no one office where the majority of value or experience sits.
It's extremely hard to make those connections. When people come in they learn, listen and pay attention but connecting with people outside of their office takes time and effort. It means taking calls at odd hours. Part of the reason I give this advice is to give people a reason to try a bit longer and not give up just because it’s hard.
Lots of people do this well. Some do this because they have natural empathy. They may be in one office but they’re always thinking about how they can bring in this person here or that person over there. Then there are other people are just naturally curious. They connect with people and are always willing to reach out and find out about things.
We also encourage people to connect by joining things like our Camper Coffee Lottery. This is powered by a Slackbot called Donut that connects people who might not otherwise meet.
2. Spend time with the product
The other piece of advice that I give new people is to not neglect their time with the product. There are so many things that you need to do to be successful in your role that it's easy for weeks to go by without actually using our platform. But there’s no better way to do any role in this company than to become better at understanding the actual product.
We use our platform internally for a lot of things and I always tell people to go in an look at new results themselves or come up with questions and see if they can answer them. Our product team also deliver regular updates and communications so people can stay up-to-date with new changes.
This is so important because it’s about customer centricity. We exist because we solve a problem for customers and our software is the way to solve that problem. Having people spend time on the product allows them to give better feedback to other people, both externally and internally. Our potential is bound to the quality of our product and we should never forget that.
We now have over 230 people and are adding about 15 new people a month. As we continue to grow it becomes even more important for people to connect with others around the world and to spend as much time with our product as possible.