Company Culture: Actions, not just words

I recently joined the marketing team at Scalyr. I left my previous role last fall and took some time off. After a bit of travel, I spent the last few months exploring what I wanted to do next. In my next opportunity, I wanted a product first company and a culture that aligned with my values. Throughout my search, I met with several dozen people and companies, some casual catch-ups and others more formal interviews. I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned in my process that ultimately made me believe Scalyr was the right place for me.

Career websites are not the whole story

It is popular these days to have a website that lists the company mission and values, along with open roles. This information is helpful to some extent, yet the interactions I had with the people at each company showed me the reality of their company culture and how their values were practiced (or ignored). For example, if a company claimed that moving fast was a value, but were slow to respond during the recruiting process, is speed truly a value? Likewise, if transparency was a value, but people were hesitant to share details about how the company was doing, it’s hard to trust that transparency truly is a key value of the company.

Differentiate through your candidate experience

Right from the beginning, Scalyr felt different. After reading the Company page, I knew I wanted to learn more about the company and see if what I read was true. I got introduced to the company through a mutual connection. Steve, our CEO, was incredibly fast to respond and introduced me to Rourke, our head of marketing.

In my first meeting with Rourke at the office, I started to get a sense for the company culture and team. Rourke was very transparent about the state of business and the status of the marketing team. He openly shared what was working and the challenges and opportunities ahead. He talked about the way the company worked and at first, it sounded too good to be true. However, after meeting more and more people who shared similar stories and experiences, it became clear to me that it wasn’t just words on a page or lip service.

Be deliberate about your interview process

My interviews went well enough that the team wanted to give me an offer. A few things stood out to me in the offer process that demonstrated to me the type of company I would be joining:

  • Speed – I had my offer in hand just a few days after my on-site interview.
  • Responsiveness – Any questions I had, the team was willing and able to support me. Steve, our CEO, willingly hopped on the phone with me to help answer some questions I had about equity. Rourke met me for coffee to answer some final questions I had about the team and role.
  • Transparency – Everyone at the company was incredibly honest about where things were and how the business is doing. Once I joined, there have been no surprises and being an employee feels like a continuation of the conversations I had in the interview process.
  • Employee Centered Benefits – Scalyr has many employee centered benefits, one of which stood out to me. The company gives every employee a sign on bonus equal to the amount of money it costs to exercise your equity. This is incredibly rare, especially for a company our size. It demonstrated to me that the company is incredibly thoughtful about developing benefits that help employees.

The way a company treats you in your interview process is a strong indicator of how they will treat you if you join. Actions speak louder than words, so pay attention to each step along the way and the signals the company is sending through their actions. Trust your gut in the process and be aware of what the company says versus how they treat you throughout the process. Each interaction is an indicator of what life at the company will be like, so pick wisely!

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