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How To Utilize Core Company Values

Company Culture
Hiring
Managing Expectations

17 April, 2018

Shiv Deepak talks about how his company came up with a set of core values to inform their hiring process and define the company’s culture.

Problem

HackerRank was going through a stage of hyper-growth between 2014 and 2015, and we hired a lot of people very quickly. The problem with hiring quickly is that those people will often come to define the culture and values of the company, and we were risking accidentally hiring bad players. As we were growing, we realized that our method of company communication needed improvement.

Actions taken

We realized we needed to come up with a set of core values to define our company culture. We found four people in the company who had worked for a long time for the company, and who had performed extremely well. We then brought these people together to make a value-fit panel. Value fit and culture fit are extremely different - culture can't be measured in a tangible way, but value fit is more objective and people are measured against a given set of values. By coming up with values we hoped to reduce bias and improve objectivity. The value-fit panel brainstormed about various values they thought were important, and initially came up with six values. However, many of them couldn't be measured objectively or quantified. After several iterations, we agreed that the values should be customer delight, data over opinion, giver, and ambition. However, after interviewing candidates we realized that extreme ownership was a better fit, as ownership was much simpler to measure. By using these values to inform our hiring process, we have ensured that everyone in the company resonates with our core values.

Lessons learned

If you don't ensure cultural and value-based fit, you'll have no control over what the culture of your company is going to be. We also assess people based on these values, and have an award system set up so people can be awarded for things they have done that can be linked to our core values.


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