Building a Team with Lithios Values
The Power of a Team
At Lithios we have a small but talented team of designers, developers, and operators. By working in unison our team is able to build applications for large Fortune 500 clients and nimble startup organizations.
It is imperative that when we look to add new members to our team that we only hire the most talented employees who uphold our rigorous standards. Over the years we have developed a multi-step process to source, screen, and hire new employees that ensures that we bring on only the highest caliber of talent to work on projects for our clients. For our organization to be successful, our team must be aligned in the way that it operates and in our shared core values.
Every organization needs to establish a clear set of values for its employees to abide by. This article from the Harvard Business Review highlights the importance of establishing values that are deeply integrated within all components of an organization vs. aspirational values that can be unclear or lack specificity. By establishing clear and direct values, an organization can hold its employees and customers to a standard of excellence that leaves no room for ambiguity.
In this blog we will unpack our values and how we identify candidates that will surpass our expectations. To start, you can read about our values below:
Move with Urgency and Focus
Our customers entrust us with their money, their businesses, and their livelihoods. When we mess up, miss a deadline, or slow down, it matters.
Pay Attention to Details
Details are what make the difference between good products and great products. We strive to listen, understand, and execute in building detail-focused software.
Getting in front of problems is always better than solving them after they happen. It is imperative that we identify, address, and alleviate potential issues before they arise while keeping in mind optimizations and areas we can improve.
Learn and Teach
Software design and development is an ever-changing ever-improving field. It is essential that we hire team members that take an active approach to learning and teaching others around them.
Formulate Strong but Malleable Opinions
As an organization, we have no room for toxic egos. It is critical that we operate by making informed and confident decisions while maintaining flexibility to change our perspectives after gathering more data.
Finding employees that will exemplify our values is critical when building a team. Our teams ability to operate and deliver a quality product to our clients depends on the good work of each individual.
The most talented and productive employees an organization hires want to work with employees who are forward thinking, humble, and capable. The best employees often end up picking up the slack for employees who do not follow a shared set of values in the way that they communicate and execute on tasks. So how do we identify candidates with our shared values?
Start with the Basics
Many candidates that we evaluate disqualify themselves at an early phase in our hiring process. We look at hundreds of candidates for our job openings and oftentimes see spelling issues, cover letters addressed to the wrong company, and general lack of attention to detail. The materials we are viewing are supposed to be the BEST representation of a candidate and their background so if we see these issues it is an obvious red flag. People make mistakes and in rare cases we feel strongly about a candidate’s background, portfolio, and other materials to give them another shot but oftentimes this basic set of requirements can be the initial filter.
Ask Pertinent Questions
After evaluating a candidate’s basic competency and communication skills, it is critical that we ask questions to candidates to make a determination if they align with our open position requirements and more broadly, our organization and its goals. We take comprehensive notes in each of our phone screening and interview calls to capture the nuance, semantics, and tone of responses to each question that we ask. Some questions that we frequently ask include:
- Why specifically do you want to work at Lithios?
- What is something that you can teach other members of the team?
- What is something that you want to learn at Lithios?
- How do you best communicate and receive feedback?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to pay close attention to details?
These questions ultimately hit at the heart of what we want to know about a candidate. Do they care about the work they will do for us, do they communicate well, and do they uphold our high standards and quality? By asking these and other, value-related questions, we can get a well-rounded perspective of our potential employees.
Trust but Verify
After asking value related questions, we often will request that our candidates share with us 2-3 references and complete a small exercise so that we can better understand the way that they think. By asking for references, we can speak with colleagues and other individuals who have historical experience working alongside or supporting our candidates. We can quickly learn candidate strengths and weaknesses as well as the environment and experience that the employee previously received.
When completing a basic hiring exercise (a simple coding project, a design mockup, or biz dev analysis) we often can quickly see how a candidate thinks and determine if they will be a fit for the role. In situations where we are choosing between candidates with similar experience, this can serve as a mechanism to decide between potential options as well.
No organization should hire a “maybe” candidate. We have often found in our sourcing process that there are candidates that meet some or most of the criteria we hold but are lacking in a few areas. For our organization, lack of experience, background, and education do not disqualify a candidate. What is more important to us is that they clearly and repeatedly show diligence in meeting our values. If an employee is constantly late to meetings, has issues in communicating, or otherwise reasonably is not aligning with basic standards, this is a red flag to how the candidate will engage long term and disqualifies them in our hiring process.
For some technical and design positions, a basic amount of experience IS required but generally we are strong believers in giving less experienced employees a chance to prove themselves if they clearly align with our values. Historically we have hired farmers, servers, and non-college graduates who have turned out to be some of our best employees simply because they aligned with our core values.
If you are interested in learning more about life at Lithios or want to join our team, drop us a line! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our open positions on Linkedin.
Kyle Linton is the VP of Operations at Lithios. He focuses on reducing blockers and creating repeatable processes for the internal teams. In his free time, he partakes in interpretive dance.