src=”https://buffer.com/resources/content/images/2022/02/jose-hernandez-uribe-XRMjwcXExKY-unsplash.jpg” alt=”The 10 Questions I’ve Been Asked the Most in 400+ Values Screening Interviews”>
In the past year, we have brought in close to 30 new colleagues. For each hire, we have done 15-25 values screenings. Over the past year, I have done approximately 400 value screening calls. I also always give the call to applicants so they can ask any questions.
Over the past year, I have been asked some very insightful questions and noticed some trends. These are my top ten most frequently asked questions and the answers I have to them. A quick glance
- Why have you stayed at Buffer so long?
- How can you create culture in an isolated environment?
- What does Buffer’s career growth look like?
- What is the worst thing about working at Buffer
- What makes someone at Buffer successful?
- What is a typical day like?
- What do I need to do to make my schedule work in a particular time zone?
- What did the pandemic do to the company?
- Is the 4-day workweek applicable to all?
- Why is this job open now?
Why have you stayed at Buffer so long?
This question has been asked in approximately four of the five interviews I have conducted this year. This is a common question, and it’s for good reason. It is the basis of the “stay” interview, which is the opposite of an exit interview that occurs when someone leaves your company.
Here’s my response: It’s a common sentiment that I hear from Buffer colleagues over and over again. I’m here because this team is incredible. They care deeply about the work they do and those they are working with. It is amazing to see how talented our team are at what they do. Everybody strives to improve, and that motivates me to do better every day.
Buffer’s constant evolution as a company brings me joy and fulfillment. Since I joined Buffer in 2014, it has been a privilege to see us grow from 25 to 85. We are able to make mistakes, try new things and push the limits every day because of our emphasis on growth.
One of the most important things that has influenced me personally and is also one of my favorite aspects about Buffer is our perspective that even if it fails, we can still write an Open blog about what we learnt.
How can you create culture and camaraderie in a remote setting?
This article also includes this: How can you build a team across time zones and during a pandemic?
This is a big question so I will default to sharing a few blog post (including this one)
It all starts with our shared values and culture. All new hires are screened for alignment of values. We pair them with a culture buddy who can share their insights about our company’s history, culture, and jokes. We even have a Buffer vocabulary list to help you reference the many memes, gifs, and phrases we use.
There are many activities that keep conversation going and team engagement in focus, including weekly rotating pair calls, interest groups on Slack and peer masterminds. We also have casual hangouts on Zoom and small-group breakouts during All Hands.
What does Buffer’s career growth look like?
This is a difficult one in many respects. We have clear career expectations and clear career frameworks. However, there may be times when we see less turnover and therefore fewer management opportunities. Buffer has seen many times when we were able to transfer colleagues from one department to another. This is less common at the current size.
However, I always reply with the same question: Those who are truly interested in solving business problems at Buffer will be recognized and rewarded. Although it may take a while before the rewards are realized, Buffer really aims to recognize the hard work that was put in.
What is the worst thing about working at Buffer
This is a simple one, but I find it hard to enjoy more personal collaboration with my team.
We’ve struggled to get all our teammates together despite the reality of a global pandemic. It was two years before you could see your team members in person if you missed a retreat, when they were still available. The trade-offs involved in remote work are worth it. We can push the limits of synchronous work by our habit of writing communication and defaulting towards transparency.
What makes someone succeed in this role?
As I said above about career progression, I have seen the most successful teammates at Buffer over my eight years. They are the ones who can see a problem and then solve it. From what I have seen, people who are proactive and well-informed and are diligent with their time and energy are highly successful here.
Other key attributes of Buffer’s team members are their ability to communicate clearly and be self-driven, even in remote environments. We are also looking for people who can contribute to our values-driven culture and help it grow.
What is a typical day like?
The format of this meeting is different for each area, and it can vary depending on the goals or project. We generally have only a handful of meetings per week: bi-weekly or weekly one-on-ones, a company-wide All-Hands meeting or Town Hall, and occasionally a team-building chat such as a mastermind or pair call. There’s also a lot of Threads (which we use in place of internal email) and a bit of Slack.
Your team will dictate the rest of your day. It’s a great way to build trust and flexibility, which is essential for remote teams that are successful!
What do I need to do to make my schedule work in a particular time zone?
The answer is generally no. However, depending on your team’s composition and the amount of collaboration you need with colleagues across the globe, you might have to be up at the crack of dawn or stay up until the early hours. These meetings are shared by all team members and we try to distribute the burden to those most affected. If a UK teammate needs to meet someone in Australia, they will alternate who stays up late and who gets up early.
We rely on asynchronous communications, which allows everyone to work the 9-5 in their own timezone, while still being able move projects and tasks forward.
What did the pandemic do to the company?
The pandemic had a profound impact on how we approach work over the past two years. First, we cancelled our retreat in person, which set a new tone for the year about building relationships. To better balance life and work for our teammates, particularly parents, we switched to a 4-day workweek.
We lost some of our team bonding activities due to the shorter work week and reduced work time. This is something we are currently working on. As we continue to learn from our team and experiment, we’ll be sharing more information.
Is the 4-day work week applicable to all?
Simply put, absolutely! These are the things our customer support teams do to make it as easy as possible for our customers.
Why is this job open now?
This is a great question and our company growth has been steady. This is because We have deliberately avoided a “growth at any cost” mentality. Therefore, we balance growth within our team with revenue growth or mindful investment in our company based upon overall strategy.
The answer is often that we are looking to fill a role, seek a completely new role, or (for customer support teams) look for someone in a particular time zone for better coverage.
Bonus I have no questions because you are so transparent
If I hear it from a candidate, this isn’t usually a dealbreaker. It’s a great feeling to hear candidates tell me that they have read this blog for years, or have read through many articles since applying.
I would like to see more reflection on the role and what it is like to work at Buffer. Buffer values screening staff are encouraged to make sure candidates feel comfortable during interviews.
While we are open and transparent, we try to post as much as possible on the Open blog. However, things can change at Buffer constantly. I joke that once something is written on the Open blog it changes the next day. This question/response could be better handled by asking, “What haven’t you all yet shared on the Open blog?”
More to you
Which is your favourite question to ask during interviews? What other information would you like to know about Buffer We’d love to hear from you via Twitter!
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