Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

Choosing Candidates Who Share Your Company Culture

Company Culture

11 May, 2021

Jimmy DePetro
Jimmy DePetro

Director of Engineering at Wag Labs

Jimmy DePetro, Director of Engineering at Wag!, teaches us how to spot a potential hire that will mesh harmoniously with the rest of the team and the company culture that you all share.

Problem

My management style has always been about getting the right people into the room. You have to hire the right people at the end of the day, whether you’re a manager or the CEO.

One challenge that I’ve faced is deciding whether or not a potential employee is a good fit with the culture of the company in the long-term. Engineering is a very skills-based occupation; you can throw whatever technical challenges you want at an Engineer, and, if they know their stuff, they’ll usually be able to get by. However, even the most technically-advanced Engineer will not thrive if they do not subscribe to the culture of your organization as a whole.

Measuring a match in personality during the interview process is extraordinarily difficult. Many professionals are well-practiced interviewers; they smile and have all of the right answers to give. As a manager, you need to ask yourself how they will fit in personally with the rest of your team. It’s Friday at 6pm, and everybody is trying to go out, but there’s a P0 project on the line with a production issue slowing down everybody’s progress. How are they going to work through that?

Actions taken

Try to notice these finer details from the get-go. Do they have an ego? Are they receptive to feedback? You can ask those questions straight-up in your interview, but you’ll rarely get a genuine answer directly.

It all comes down to what the person wants and where they’re at. If they’re not open to feedback or change, it can be difficult to convince them otherwise. Sometimes, it is best to simply part ways. Others with good intentions will be more open to growth.

I try to notice whenever somebody like this is willing to invest in themselves and to evolve in order to work with my team and I. As long as they have the right attitude, technical ability is secondary. We can build you into the best Engineer that you can be. We will find a place for you in this company.

Lessons learned

  • Clear expectations are a must. The tricky part is understanding how an employee best receives these intentions. Some people are verbal. Others need more hand-holding or some sort of written communication - goals, deadlines, and milestones that keep them on track.
  • Check in often when necessary. Present the roadmap and look for the person who says “Yes.”
  • As a manager, every person that you work with, you learn something from them. Everybody has different working styles, ambitions, and goals. The more types that you’ve met and managed successfully, the more diverse your managerial experience will be. You will be more comfortable and more prepared for any situation down the road.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Managing Team Collaboration After an Acquisition

10 November

Han Wang, Director of Engineering at Sonder Inc., shares the ins and outs of working successfully with the other half of the team after a merger.

Acquisition / Integration
Large Number Of Reports
Company Culture
Performance
Han Wang

Han Wang

Director of Engineering at Sonder Inc

Creating a Cultural Shift for Effective Meetings: Building a Writing Culture

10 November

Han Wang, Director of Engineering at Sonder Inc., talks about adopting a writing culture for making team meetings more effective.

Remote
Company Culture
Meetings
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Han Wang

Han Wang

Director of Engineering at Sonder Inc

How To Fast-Track Your Way Up The Corporate Ladder

28 October

Sudheer Bandaru, CEO at Insightly Analytics, shares how he dealt with employee turnover by enforcing a cultural shift.

Goal Setting
Company Culture
Leadership
Career Path
Sudheer Bandaru

Sudheer Bandaru

CEO at Insightly Analytics

Improving the Quality of a Platform with Empathy

25 October

Mustafa Furniturewala, VP of Engineering at Coursera, describes how he improved the quality of his company’s online platform using empathy, enterprise mindset, and a company-wide vision.

Alignment
Architecture
Goal Setting
Company Culture
Roadmap
Mustafa Furniturewala

Mustafa Furniturewala

VP Of Engineering at Coursera

Overcoming Hiring Constraints

25 October

Mustafa Furinturewala, VP of Engineering at Coursera, speaks on overcoming the constraints of hiring in the Bay Area by opening a Toronto office and emphasizing the importance of local recruiters, brand awareness, and team culture.

Goal Setting
Remote
Company Culture
Hiring
Mustafa Furniturewala

Mustafa Furniturewala

VP Of Engineering at Coursera

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.