Not Every Agency Defines Culture The Same Way

September 13, 2018

Company culture is important. For many people it’s what keeps them at a company for years or encourages them to leave after six months. At Fast Horse we talk a lot about culture fit; we even interview for it. But how can you possibly know if you’ll be a good fit with the culture of a workplace you’ve never stepped foot in?

Company culture gets a bad rap sometimes, because at many companies — especially agencies — there’s a clear set of guidelines that lead to homogeny in staff. Most people don’t want to work somewhere cliquey, and in an industry lacking diversity in race, religion, and age, it can be dangerous to only hire people that fit a certain mold. It’s important for every company to establish what culture means to them; so, here’s a little bit about how we view culture at Fast Horse.

Culture Fit Is Not
  • Staffing the company with folks you’d like to get drunk with. (I’ve worked at that agency… and the hangovers get old fast.)
  • Only hiring people who have similar political and religious views
  • Hiring people with the same background and work experience
  • Recruiting solely from your alma mater
  • Judging fit based on how many times a person says f*ck in conversation
  • Looking for people that remind you of a young person who already works at company
Culture Fit Is
  • Hiring people who can collaborate with a team to solve problems
  • Staffing a company with folks you’d like to have a Slack conversation with at 1 a.m.
  • Bringing new and interesting ideas to the table from a vast pool of backgrounds and experiences
  • Allowing colleagues to express their opinions and thoughts without shutting them down
  • Accepting and accommodating colleagues who are different from you
  • Willingness to pitch in, even if it’s not your job
So, How Do We Determine In a 30-Minute Interview If Someone Might Be a Good Fit?
  • You bring examples of how you contributed to a team without claiming ownership of the entire team’s work
  • You talk about challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve solved problems individually and with a team
  • You have examples of things you’re learning outside of work — what you’re reading, and how you’re connected to a community
  • You’re not overly negative about everyone you’ve worked with and experience you’ve had
  • You’re passionate — about a job, a hobby, or your future
  • You don’t take yourself too seriously – you’re able to lighten the mood or make a joke in an uncomfortable or tense situation
  • You have work stories that are about actual work, not just about a happy hour, client outing, or night you can’t really remember