The Culture-Oriented 7 Step Hiring Process

As corporate culture is king, and three leading companies have published entire guides to their culture, it’s important to talk through an example hiring process. At Pardot, we spent years refining our hiring process, and were never finished. Here’s the core of the process we developed:

  1. Start with an applicant tracking system (e.g. Workable, Greenhouse, or Jazz) and require all candidates to apply through it
  2. Have an HR manager, office manager, or someone on the team do a phone screen for any candidates that meet the requirements with the goal of screening for culture fit (especially attitude)
  3. Require a written assessment of the candidates that pass the phone screen (I like a two-page essay and technical test)
  4. Bring in the candidates that pass the written assessment to meet with the hiring manager and a few members of that team (always require unanimous decision among interviewers when hiring)
  5. When there are multiple great candidates available bring the leading candidates back in to meet with the hiring manager and a separate set of team members
  6. Invite the candidate(s) that pass all steps to interview with the founders of the company and a separate culture check team purely for the purpose of assessing culture fit
  7. Send out a job offer to the top candidate by way of the hiring manager and have one of the founders also send an email expressing their excitement for the person to join the company (closing the candidate is extremely important and shouldn’t be taken lightly)

Bonus: offer a $10,000 referral fee for anyone who brings in a candidate that’s hired for a tough-to-find position.

This seven step process helped us scale Pardot beyond 100 employees and build an environment that was rated the #1 place to work for multiple years.

What else? What would you add to a culture-oriented hiring process?

One thought on “The Culture-Oriented 7 Step Hiring Process

  1. Like David, Quickparts had a very procedural approach to hiring that we adapted from the GE Topgrading approach.

    Key things we did that were not listed (we did a similar process as described) included:

    Chronological In-Depth Survey (CIDS) for each candidate. This helped us understand how the candidate progressed through their life and provided insight on their values and decision making

    DISC profile. This was helpful in assessing the personality types to the positions. They were for reference only but helped identify potential mis-matches to positions.

    Quantitative-Verbalization Testing- this was a standardized 10th grade level, timed, test that everyone took. We accidentally hired someone that was illiterate in our early days (another story) and this test became an amazing piece of information about what people know…Interestingly, we found the programmer area positions performed worse (even on the math). We had a high dollar DBA candidate make a 50 of 100..WOW.

    Computer Skills- this was a timed, basic Word, Excel, Internet Search test that anyone proficient at these tools will fly through…WOW….this really identified the folks that claimed to be proficient from those that were not. If you have to teach the new hire how to use the basic tools of their job, then it’s going to take time before they can do their job.

    Reference Checks FROM the Interview…we used TORC (threat of reference check) during the interview and asked for the names and numbers of people we discussed during the interview…we were NOT interested in the standard reference list. AND we had the conversation with these references..They are amazingly informational after you know the history of the candidate.

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