How This Company Bounced Back After a Toxic Hire
"Culture fit" is the Holy Grail of hiring, but when Tracy Lawrence launched the catering startup Chewse, in 2011, she gave experience an inflated importance.
“We’re really into transparency and talking truth to power, but we didn’t always have a way to vet it,” she says. That led to a toxic hire: someone with crazy-impressive skills and market chops but a passive-aggressive streak. Fast-forward six months and the Chewse culture was marked by whispered unease and gossip.
“We couldn’t even pinpoint why everything felt so wrong at first, until another employee brought it to our attention,” she says. Though parting ways with the bad hire was quick enough, righting the culture took more time.
Now Lawrence makes sure that culture questions -- Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss. What’s the most difficult conversation you’ve had with your manager? -- are in every interview. “Even from the first hiring phone call, we’re up front about our culture,” she says. “If giving honest feedback or getting hugs doesn’t work for you, you shouldn’t work here.”