Every company has a culture, good or bad. When it’s good—companies want to make sure each hire fits that culture. As the Happiness Captain for SR, it’s part of my role to make sure you’ll thrive in our culture. If the very thought of a culture interview terrifies you, keep reading to learn what culture fit is and isn’t.

Here’s what culture fit is not:

  • Shared hobbies
  • Someone just like the CEO
  • A certain demographic (ahem illegal)
  • Enjoying perks like free food, ping pong, etc.

Culture is:

  • A shared set of values and mission. If you don’t believe in our company’s mission how can we expect you to partner with our team each day in pursuit of achieving it?
  • The office environment. We work in 4 houses in cross functional groups that are in constant flux. It’s unique, but it’s not for everyone.
  • The office schedule. I’ve done an 8 to 5, 100% remote, + SR’s flex schedule. There are pros and cons to all. The same goes for vacation and dress policies. It’s important you find the one that works for you.
  • The company size + stage. We’re a small tech startup. This means that you’ll likely be wearing multiple hats in a fast-paced environment that requires quick learning and iteration.
  • Office norms. After values and mission I’d argue this is the most important piece of a company culture and I rarely get asked about it. Here’s some questions you can ask: What info does the company share with all employees? Are employees held accountable for company success? How does performance management work? How does the bonus program work? Is there a lot of red tape to getting things done? Will I own my projects? Understanding the answers to these questions will give you an idea as to how the company works and how you’ll work within it.

As a candidate, it’s so important that you interview us during the interview process + that you’re honest with us. It’s a loss all around when you get to an offer or even hire someone with a stellar skill fit only to realize that they’re looking for a culture in complete opposition to your own.

As a company, use your values to guide hiring decisions. One of our values is Think Big, Do Bigger. The spirit is an innovative bias to action. We ask candidates to tell us about a problem that wasn’t solved until they came along. I also always ask candidates to describe their ideal culture (+ I ask their references this), which of our values resonates the most with them, and what do they need to be successful. Read more about our culture interview process and the Square Root values.

Conclusion: Culture fit is so important for the candidate and the company. Candidates: make sure you find the culture that’s going to give you the work life relationship you’re looking for. Companies: make sure you’re investing in your culture + only hiring folks that will thrive in it.

Have questions? Shoot us an email to work@square-root.com. We’d love to hear from you!