SmartRecruiters Blog

Crafting a High-Performance Culture

One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to craft your company culture. It’s also one of the hardest, because – let’s face it – you can’t dictate a culture. Ultimately, your company culture is going to be what people make it. But, as a leader, you ought to steer in the right direction.

SmartRecruiters has been 3 years in the making and just passed 60 people (most of them engineers) so it felt right to start putting words behind what had so far been just entrepreneurial instincts. So I asked myself recently, what sort of culture and team do we want to create at SmartRecruiters? What’s important to us to achieve our long term goals (a hiring platform that managers and candidates love).


Here are 10 things that I strive to instill as the foundations for the SmartRecruiters culture:

1. Hire the Best

A players deliver twice as much as B players. Worse: A players hire A players; B players hire C & D players. Hiring top level people is not hard. It just requires a good approach to source, engage and hire the right people.**

2. Strong Purpose

With purpose comes clarity. At SmartRecruiters, we want everyone in the world to have a good job. Our purpose is Zero Unemployment. Live and breathe our mission by dedicating time and resources to help people with low employability find jobs.

3. Total Transparency

Does everyone know how we’re doing? Communicate the plan. Share and discuss results regularly and openly. This shows everyone the bigger picture, making them a decision maker within their own destiny.

4. True Autonomy

Make sure everyone knows why they’re here, what their objectives are, how success is measured and that they have everything they need to be successful. Easier said than done. It starts with treating the team as adults: define internal rules that encourage self control and common sense over policies and processes.

5. Awesome Workplace

Make the office the best place to craft, encourage team building and collaboration. Don’t let office, systems or logistics get in the way of productivity and motivation. Without the right environment, the economics don’t work.

6. Striving for Excellence

Implement a 360 feedback mechanism. Promote excellence and refuse mediocrity. Really celebrate wins, and even more so, really learn from mistakes.

7. Top Compensation

Ensure everyone receives top market compensation, great benefits and a solid amount of stock options. Now that money isn’t a concern anymore. Let’s get to work. Real work.

8. Universal Mastery

Invest in people to help them be the best at what they do and set new standards for their field of expertise / share community. ‘You run the blog, great. How do you make the SmartRecruiters Blog a model case study at Harvard?’

9. Drive Innovation

Build a culture that encourages innovation, The Hacker Way. Reward the courage to fail fast. Implement data to identify successes and failures before you’ve overcommitted. Don’t be afraid to take risks in order to solve your customer’s problems.

10. Embrace Diversity

Build a diverse and inclusive culture. Diversity extends beyond ethnicity and into ways of thinking. Diverse minds – from many different backgrounds and experiences – make products and companies with greater perspectives.

The end result – if we get it right – will be an awesome team that is autonomous, accountable and united around a common purpose with an open – no politics – transparent culture to foster innovation, collaboration and excellence.

**That’s what we, at SmartRecruiters, do for living – help you hire the best. Join us.

Jerome Ternynck

Jerome Ternynck is the Founder & CEO of SmartRecruiters, the industry's premier talent acquisition suite to find and hire great people.