I have interacted with two companies in the last couple of months that have very distinct cultures. This in itself isn’t unique, however their approach to hiring as a means to make sure they find the right people is much longer and more intensive that I’ve seen before.
The first is a game development company based on the west coast. This company has an incredibly flat organizational structure and has an incredible pool of very talented software engineers working there. They have a handful of senior managers and tech leaders, but it is individuals who drive how they want to lead. It seems you excel by stepping up and offer to fill a gap, find a solution, rally the troops. The team members I interacted with definitely play hard and work hard. They work late, the play their own games and work on side projects to resolve real technology issues.
The second is a consulting company based on the east coast. This company works with clients to solve really complex business problems. They also hire very smart people and encourage them to find their path and expand into the role they want. It was very bluntly stated that this company is a relationship company. If you do not make a personal connection, you will never successfully get passed the systematic screening. This applies for both jobs and business partnerships.
Both of these organizations have interesting hiring practices. Recommendations from existing employees goes a long way to getting you in the door, but it is not the end of the process. The gaming company has a 4-6 month interview and decision making process. The consulting company has a 6-8 month interview and decision making process. And this is for people who have established the connections and deemed worthy of an initial look. Multiple phone and in person interviews occur. I’m sure there are situational questions and aptitude tests that go along with this. The gaming company requires a unanimous vote from everyone that participated in the interview process.
This all seems a little bit crazy but I guess it is not, especially if it works. Both companies believe strongly in their process. As I heard from the consulting company many people stay for extended periods of employment in a time where this becomes less common. The gaming company is younger, but seems to have fairly little turnover among their ranks.
Should other companies follow the leads of these companies? I’m not sure. I’ve always thought that hiring quickly and firing more quickly were better approaches. I wonder if that’s because my background tends to be with smaller companies where there is more immediate need versus luxury of forward-thinking? Is there a certain culture or structure that this works best in?