Cultural Fit Matters

By Alison Diana  |  Print this article Print

The pendulum is swinging in favor of employees again, according to channel executives, who say the labor market has tightened and they have plans to hire. But they won't be looking to hire just anyone. Do you fit the bill?


"All our founders came out of big companies. One of the foundational premises of the companies was, we don’t want this to be a place where we don’t want to show up every day. We made a lot of decisions about culture. It starts with, number one, respecting people as decision-makers—the idea that an individual is not replaceable," said Elfanbaum. "With peer-programming, you’re explaining your thought process. They either love it or they say, 'Oh my God, I want to go back to my cubicle, put my headphones one and write code.  When we get the really good people here, they really thrive in the environment."

Individual respect is critical at xkzero, as well. Eight of the company’s 11 staff once owned their own businesses, something Ziliak respects and seeks in new employees, too.

"What we’ve discovered is—we’ve had nobody quit but we’ve had a handful of people that we’ve parted company with because they weren’t the right fit for our organization—is that every consultant needs to be entrepreneurial in a small business otherwise you can’t compete with bigger companies," he said. "The one thing in common is that the others who used to own their own business don’t want to seem to go back to go their own business again. We’ve tried to create a culture for them that allows them to be entrepreneurial. We know they’re productive because they have track records."

The solution provider also tries to avoid hiring people who bring unnecessary drama to the workplace, said Ziliak.

"The last piece, maybe the most important piece, but when we talk internally about who we are and what’s important to us, one of the qualifications we have in our company is no jerks and no bullies. Not a week passes when somebody mentions it at some point. We’ve all worked with jerks and bullies," he said. "Especially if the jerk or bully is a productive person who for some reason has a client following, then you have to deal with different standards of behavior. You get people who might be otherwise quite well-mannered who aren’t as comfortable anymore. It’s something we look for in interviews. We’re an idea company. The last thing we need, as an idea company, is minds crowded with unnecessary drama."