How to find your people: Notes on hiring and interviewing for kind humans

Kayak from above with 4 rowing people. Blue and aqua water background. Sport and moving concept. Red kayak and 8 paddles.
Posted by
Picture of Renee Fujii
Renee Fujii
Head of Talent
Kayak from above with 4 rowing people. Blue and aqua water background. Sport and moving concept. Red kayak and 8 paddles.

Our Head of Talent, Renee Fujii shares interview tips and our cultural philosophy in this post about how we hire people at the intersection of smart and kind.

Hiring the right people is hard: Kindness matters

As Leadership IQ reports, only 11% of new hire failures are due to lack of technical skills. The other 89% of new hire failures are related to attitude. So, when we recruit and grow our team at Vendia, finding kind humans is critical. After all, a great teammate is more than technically proficient. A great teammate elevates the company, their coworkers, and our work itself. At Vendia, we believe a big part of this greatness is kindness.

Our co-founders created our the Kind Humans Policy (KHP) so that Vendia will be an environment where people can be their best selves and do their best work. We’re in the business of making sharing better, so we want to work with people who work well with a team but aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions.

We don’t hire smart jerks, nor do we hire sweet people who can’t get stuff done. We hire people at the intersection of smart and kind. Because, being a kind human doesn’t mean showing up as smiles and rainbows all the time. When we don’t see eye to eye, we constructively disagree in a respectful manner. At the end of the day, we want everyone’s voice to be heard and respected.

Brilliant, mean people need not apply

Interviews are a relatively short timespan to evaluate whether or not a candidate is the right fit for the role and company. Vice versely, the candidate has to make sure the role and the company are a right fit for them, too.

At Vendia, our interviewers evaluate candidates on both the technical skills needed to be successful in the role as well as how they exhibit qualities related to being a Kind Human. We look for people who treat others with respect and care and have examples that speak to that. We suss out the kindness piece through asking questions related to previous experiences:

  • Our interviewers use the STAR method.
  • We ask questions that start with “Tell me about a time” or “Give me an example.” With this, we’re looking for specific examples from a candidate’s professional career that give us insight into what it’s like to work with them.
  • We’ll ask questions related to how candidates work with teammates, how they deal with difficult people and how they support others.
  • We also want candidates who value a good work environment and ask questions related to it. Fit has to work both ways! Ask us about KHP. Ask us how we exhibit it. Ask us what happens when people are rude in interviews. (Spoiler: That’s a no from us.)

Assuming the interview goes well, we’ll make an offer. As part of the offer packet, we ask candidates to agree to KHP. It’s that important to us. We want people who are excited to come to work and create amazing things with kind, smart people. No Sunday Scaries here.

Join us

If you’re looking for a place where you can show up as your best self and not have to worry about jerks, we’re hiring kind humans. Explore our careers page and follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.