Published by Calendly - January 8, 2015

The secret to hiring the perfect culture fit, every time

To meet the needs of their dynamic market, Smallbox requires more from its staff than stiff, polished resumes; it needs people dedicated to growing the local community while maintaining clients’ creative integrity.

“Something like 89 percent of people leave a job because they’re not happy. Even if that statistic is overblown, even if it’s only 50 percent, that’s an epidemic.”

–Sean Storin, CEO, OneDegree

The smart owner knows that without good employees, there’s no such thing as good business.

Employees are the business.

They bring the product to life.
They develop relationships with your customers.
They tell the company’s story.

Without your employees’ innovation and energy, your company loses its identity. And without their passion for the work they’re doing, you lose your company.

Indianapolis-based digital agency SmallBox knows this. With a hyper-sharp focus on serving local businesses and giving back to their community, they’re dedicated to cultivating a team that’s excited to create meaningful campaigns for clients–one that’s personally invested in expanding the company.

Founded in 2006 by a pair of friends deeply entrenched in the local music scene, SmallBox naturally attracts all manner of creative businesses and established nonprofits to its client roster. To meet the needs of their dynamic market, the company requires more from its staff than stiff, polished resumes; it needs people dedicated to growing the local community while maintaining clients’ creative integrity.

Without rigorous attention to culture fit, SmallBox would lose the vibrant, locally-focused spark that delights its clients in the first place; they’d become another niche-less online agency.

Of course, finding such passionate, focused team members takes a lot more than just skimming resumes when a position opens. For SmallBox’s Chief Culture Officer Sara McGuyer, it takes conversations with eager applicants each Wednesday afternoon, every week of the year.

SmallBox’s strategy to hiring for culture fit, every time

Sara’s goal is to ensure that SmallBox’s brand and culture are always in sync, so she devotes a large chunk of time to finding new employees who will prove an exceptional culture fit. This, she says, “is where Calendly is super valuable for me, because I schedule so many interviews each week.”

Well-aware of the the importance of knowing the right people for the right job, Sara interviews candidates on a weekly basis–regardless of whether or not SmallBox currently has an open position.

The process begins when someone fills out the contact form on SmallBox’s website, and the applicant’s information filters into the company’s CRM.

“I read every single one of those applications,” said Sara, “then let them know whether we do or don’t have a position that matches what they’re looking for.”

Sara has set up a series of filters in her inbox that automatically sort applications based on applicants’ desired roles. She’s also created several event types in Calendly, including an In-Person Interview and Informational Interview. If a position is open, Sara invites the applicant to book an In-Person Interview through Calendly, then adds them to a Google spreadsheet to keep track of her interactions with them.

If the applicant’s desired position isn’t currently open, Sara emails them the link to her Informational Interview, inviting them to book a phone call. This call helps her determine how the applicant could further SmallBox’s community-oriented culture if a position opens in the future.

“I use the Informational Interview event type a ton,” she said, “That way, when we do open a position, we already know a couple of people who would be a good fit.”

Since Sara has set up custom questions within Calendly to gather applicants’ contact information automatically, she always knows who to call at what time, and where to reach them without confusion.

“I’ve committed to keeping Wednesday afternoons open just for speaking to people who are interested in SmallBox,” she said. “So every Wednesday, Calendly tells me exactly what I’m doing and when.”

How hiring for perfect culture fit helps SmallBox give back

In addition to developing the most devoted staff possible, Sara is positive her weekly Informational Interviews pay off not only for SmallBox, but for Indianapolis’ local business community as a whole.

“It really is a benefit to the greater tech and marketing community here,” she said. “If I interview someone who has great potential, but I don’t have room to bring them on, I can refer them to a contact at another Indy company, which allows that company to then grow their business.”

By building the search for culture fit into her weekly routine, Sara ensures that all new hires are happy in their roles, excited to uphold the SmallBox’s values and, ultimately, committed to helping the agency grow.

Your Turn

What have you done to make sure new hires continue to further your business? How would increased attention to culture fit benefit your company?