People are the most important part of your company, so founders need to make time to connect with every new hire.
By Heidi Zak Co-founder and co-CEO, ThirdLove,
For the first five years of ThirdLove, my co-founder Dave and I met with all of the candidates we extended offers to in-person. Sometimes, only one of us would meet with them; more often, both of us would.
But as our team continued to grow and hiring accelerated, face-to-face meetings with every new hire became nearly impossible. So, we started doing something a little unusual–but incredibly practical.
Instead of meeting face-to-face with every candidate, one of us hops on a 15-minute call with them.
This is a time for us to speak to the candidate, ask what inspired them to join the team, and answer any questions they may have. Think of it as an “Ask Me Anything” session the candidates get to hold with the founders.
For us, candidates’ responses to the AMAs have been overwhelmingly positive.
Many people have worked in companies where they never once get to speak to a founder or CEO, so to be able to ask questions–even briefly–is refreshing. And while I wish I could say we came up with the idea, we actually got it from a friend who also happens to be the founder of a 700-person company. We figured if our friend could do it with a company that size, Dave and I could handle it at our company.
Here’s why a call with candidates is a great option for any founder looking to stay connected to their team:
It gives every new hire a glimpse into the leaders of the organization.
Senior hires know they’ll meet with a company’s founders soon after they join because it’s the nature of their position. Junior hires, on the other hand, generally have little one-on-one time with founders after they start.
The 15-minute calls are an opportunity to see deeper into the organization–who is at the helm and what’s inspiring us to continue moving forward. As a founder or executive, sometimes you forget how exciting it can be to join a new company, and more importantly, what that person imagines their own future looking like. Sometimes, these junior hires ask where we as the leaders see ourselves in five years. Other times, they want to know more about why we started the company in the first place. I’ve had candidates ask about what we’re most proud of accomplishing and the biggest challenges we’re facing.
No two calls are exactly alike, but they’re all meaningful in their own way. They give founders an opportunity to understand why people join the company–and what they hope to do once there.
These 15-minute calls also help us continue to deliberately and intentionally scale the company culture we set out to build.
As a business owner, people are your most important asset.
But as time goes on, and as you begin to bring more and more people on board, it can be easy to start seeing the roles that need to be filled instead of the energy you want filling the office. After all, that’s what “culture” is all about. It’s not whether you have an espresso machine in the office kitchen, or a Ping-pong table and comfy couches. Culture is about how people feel when they show up to work each and every day, and how willing they are to collaborate and connect with the rest of the team.
When we initially proposed these 15-minute calls to our hiring team, they told us it was a terrible idea–and for good reason. Dave and I are both extremely busy, and the recruiting team was justifiably worried about slowing down the process. But we felt it was important that we remain connected to the people who were coming on board, and for them to connect with us directly–especially if our expectation was for them to connect with everyone else and truly become part of the company’s culture.
Turns out, the scheduling hasn’t been a problem. I realized pretty quickly there was always a way to work 15 minutes into my schedule, and after seeing how much the candidates enjoy the opportunity, the recruiting team is much more enthusiastic about the calls.
Every business is different, and while these 15-minute calls may not seem to be a good idea for your company (especially if you’re going through a growth phase), the principle behind them is what’s truly important here. It doesn’t matter how fast your company grows, you should always make time to connect with the people its success hinges upon.