5 Hiring Mistakes That Can Crush Your Company's Culture

Remember your first loan? You were excitedand apprehensive: Excited because now you had the cash to invest, apprehensive because you had just taken on a debt you would have to repay.

But that was okay, because you were confident you could create more value than the interest you would pay. Even though you eventually have to pay off a financial debt, gaining access to the right resourcesnow often marks the difference between success and failure.

That’s true for financial debt – but it’s never true for culture debt.

Culture debt happens when a business takes a shortcut and hires an employee with, say, the “right” the skills or experience… but who doesn't fit the culture. Just one bad hire can create a wave of negativity that washes over every other employee – and as a result, your entire business.

Unfortunately the interest on culture debt is extremely high: In some cases you will never pay off the debt you incur, even when a culture misfit is let go or leaves.

Here are five all-too-common ways you can create a culture debt that can keep your from building from succeeding.

1. You see the ivy and miss the poison

The skilled salesperson who in the short-term always seems to outperform her peers… but who also maneuvers and manipulates and builds kerosene-soaked bridges just waiting to go up in flames… won’t turn into a relationship building, long-term focused ambassador for your company just because you hire her.

The interview process is a little like a honeymoon. You see the best the candidate has to offer. If a prospective employee doesn't look like a great fit for your culturebefore he is hired, he definitely won’t be after he’s hired.

Never risk making a deal with the culture-fit devil. The soul of your company is at stake.

2. You discard the attitude and play the skill card

Skills and experience are worthless when not put to use. Knowledge is useless when not shared with others.

The smaller your business the more likely you are to be an expert in your field, so transferring those skills to new employees is relatively easy. But you can't train enthusiasm, a solid work ethic, and great interpersonal skills – and those traits can matter a lot more than any skills a candidate brings.

According to this study only 11% of the new hires that failed in the first 18 months failed due to deficiencies in technical skills. The majority failed due to lack of motivation, an unwillingness to be coached, or problems with temperament and emotional intelligence.

Think of it this way: The candidate who lacks certain hard skills might be a cause for concern, but the candidate who lacks the beliefs and values you need is a giant culture debt red flag.

3. You try to sell a used car

It’s tempting to over-sell a candidate on your company, especially when you desperately need to fill an open position and you've been recruiting for seemingly forever.

Don’t. Great candidates come prepared. They've done their homework. They already know whether your company is a good fit for them.

Describe the position, describe your company, answer every question, be candid and forthright, let your natural enthusiasm show through… and let the candidate make an informed decision. But, don’t oversell.

The right candidates recognize the right opportunities – and the right cultural fit.

4. You mistake the rumblings for hunger

Nothing beats a formal, thorough, comprehensive hiring process… except, sometimes, a dose of intuition and gut feel.

At my company HubSpot (grew from 0-500 employees in 6 years) there are five key attributes we value:

  • Humble. They’re modest despite being awesome. They’re self-aware and respectful.
  • Effective. They get (stuff) done. They measurably move the needle and immeasurably add value.
  • Adaptable. They’re constantly changing, life-long learners.
  • Remarkable. They have a super-power that makes them stand out: Remarkably smart, remarkably creative, remarkably resourceful…
  • Transparent. They’re open and honest with others – and with themselves.

In short, we look for people with H-E-A-R-T, because they help us create a company we love. So we always weigh our impressions against more qualitative considerations. You should too. Think of it this way: The more experience you have – the more lumps you’ve taken and hard knocks you’ve received and mistakes you’ve made – the more “educated” your “gut.” While you should never go on intuition alone, if you have a funny feeling about a candidate… see that as a sign you need to look more closely.

And look more closely.

For a detailed insider’s peek into how we think about culture at HubSpot, check out Culture Code slides)

Bottom line: Define the intangibles you want in your employees and never compromise by hiring a candidate who lacks those qualities.

5. You decide to double down

There are two basic kinds of risk you can take on a potential employee.

First the worthwhile risks: Taking a shot on a candidate you feel has more potential than her previous employer let her show; taking a shot on a candidate who is missing a few skills but has attitude in abundance; taking a chance on a candidate you feel certain brings the enthusiasm, drive, and spirit your team desperately needs. Those are good chances to take.

Now the foolish risks: Taking a shot on a candidate with a history of performance issues that you hope will somehow develop a strong work ethic; taking a chance on the candidate who left his last two jobs because "my bosses were jerks;" taking a shot on the candidate who has no experience yet only wants to talk about how quickly and often she will be promoted.

Why do you rationalize taking foolish risks? You're desperate. Or you're lazy. Or you have "other issues to focus on." Or you figure your culture is strong enough to withstand the impact of one ill-fitting employee.

Don't take foolish risks. They almost always turn out badly. Occasionally, take potentially worthwhile risks, because they can turn out to be your most inspired hires and, eventually, your best employees.

And never, ever take a chance that creates high-interest culture debt.

The cost to your organization is just too high. And, life is short.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Influencer.

Why Starting Out in a Coworking Space is Good for Your Startup

Since the inception of coworking spaces in 2005 at Spiral Muse by Brad Neuberg, the practice has spread to major countries in Asia and Europe.

So, What was so Great About Coworking?

The emergence of a 'Coworking space' provided a great networking platform that balanced independence of self-employment with involvement in a community of working with others. This appealed to entrepreneurs and freelancers, leading to a widespread adoption.

According to an infographic released by Officevibe, 70% of coworkers felt healthier than they did while working in a traditional office setting.


It also reported that 40% of workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors, and solopreneurs by 2020. These findings signify the growth of a coworking culture in future.

Is Coworking a Great Idea for Startups?

Anthony Marinas, the sales and marketing manager at Grimes, puts it simply in 'The State of Coworking in 2015',  that people now want to be a part of a community and not a company.

Stressing on how coworking is a great option for most startups, Anthony further explains-

Instead of working with a team of 2-3 members, working in an environment surrounded by 100 people on a daily basis, gives you an opportunity to make a professional as well as personal connection.

This not only cuts down your office space budget but also opens up the possibility of bringing forth innovations with other like-minded people.

Coworking Space or Traditional Office Space: What is Right for You?

As Rebekah Kowalski, VP & Principal Consultant at Right Management shared her views in an interview for Centre for the Study of the Workplace. During the interview she said, to choose between a coworking space or a traditional office space, businesses need to evaluate their workforce and understand their employees’ needs.

To help you arrive at a decision, here are some questions that you should be asking yourself:

  1. What is your office culture and what do you want it to be?
  2. What is right for your workplace profile?
  3. What are you trying to achieve?
  4. Who are your talents and what are their needs?

However, if you prefer control over your work environment or crave for a personal space, a traditional office space is a better option for you.

When it comes to cash flow, coworking spaces become an attractive option as economy and resources are shared. Unlike traditional startup costs, like office furniture, Internet & telephone bills, utility & service charges, etc., in a coworking space, you are not required to spend a lot of cash upfront. It lets you focus on your growth.

In a story published at Nerd Wallet, Nick Clark, founder of The Common Desk, maintains that a business could save 75% in total costs in opting for a coworking space, making substantial savings over the years!

Various Benefits of Opting for a Coworking Space

1. Affordable Office Space in Prime Locations

For a small business, one of the biggest challenges is getting an office space in prime areas while they are still bootstrapping. Saving this trouble, coworking spaces provide affordable in-demand spaces, the types of offices and locations that you couldn’t otherwise afford to have.

Once you have chosen the place, you can get to the work right away as the amenities and utilities are already set up.

2. The Flexibility and Scalability for Startups

Another major benefit of opting for coworking is the flexibility of accommodating changes to the size of the team. Whether your business expands or contracts, you can easily upgrade or downgrade your space requirements anytime as needed without requiring a yearlong commitment from you.

In most coworking spaces, you can opt for a one-time pass, monthly, or yearly membership plan accordingly. You can also opt for a private office or an open coworking space.

It also gives you the flexibility to change your location as you please since your leasing terms are not binding.  

3. Collaboration: All in One Place

It gives you the opportunity to collaborate with a community of  talented people from different professions who you otherwise might have never necessarily interacted with. It provides an opportunity to trade skills to get a project done, or outsource projects to other teams when they are more specialized than you.

As Dodd Caldwell, founder of Loft Resumes and MoonClerk, explains in 'The Future of Coworking and Why it Will Give Your Business A Huge Edge,' sometimes it is as simple as tapping someone outside of your team on the shoulder and asking their opinion. Other times, it is catching a quick whiteboard sessions with other team(s).

Cutting to the chase, coworking gives you the opportunity to tackle and solve problems from a variety of angles.

How do You Know Which Coworking Space is Right for You?

With the boom in coworking spaces, you can choose one that focuses on a particular industry or varied ones. A focused space gives you the benefit of working with people who are thinking about the exact problem that you are thinking about and thus, leading to a greater productivity.

In a coworking space that is open to varied industries, you are surrounded by professionals coming from different backgrounds, where you get more ideas for running your business successfully. This diversity in turn promotes your creativity by giving you a perspective on things each time.

To find the right working space for you, here is a to-do list for you:

  • Make a list of things that you would like in your workplace and the things you would hate.
  • Visit the workspace and find out the things you like about it. Ask yourself if they will make you more productive.
  • Find out if their work culture fits yours. For example, if you are looking for a more focused space, then you should opt for one that has the flexibility of private work stations.
  • Find the coworking space that offers simple registration, billing and leasing terms. 

Most importantly, while you are short-listing coworking spaces to work in, remember to choose the one where members are complementary to each other and not competitive.

According to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, 71% of professionals reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, 62% in an improved work quality.

Therefore, if you are an entrepreneur with a small team seeking to lease a private office, you should consider leasing a coworking space before you sign the final contract.