People often ask Daina Trout how her company Health-Ade Kombucha grew from a side hustle run from her apartment into a company with more than 200 employees.
It's "really simple," she tells them. It's all about the culture interview, one based purely on whether or not an applicant fits the company's values. Even if a candidate's resume is perfect, failing the culture interview will take a person out of the running for the job.
Getting that culture fit is the only way to keep the "wheels from falling off" during extreme growth, Trout says.
The culture interview is conducted by someone totally separate from the candidate's application process. In fact, the interviewer won't even see the candidate's resume. About 20 staffers at Health-Ade are trained to do culture interviews including Trout, who makes time to do a handful each year.
Health-Ade does the culture test in the final stages of the interview process, when managers are really excited about a candidate and know the person has the right skill set, Trout says. "They're not assessing [candidates] for their ability to do that job, they're assessing them for their culture fit," Trout says.
In the culture interview, each candidate answers between four to eight questions related to the company's values, which include grit, optimism, authenticity and leadership. "They're soft values so objective measurements aren't possible," Trout tells CNBC Make It. "We're looking for the interviewer or manager to use these as [guides]."
The questions during Health-Ade's culture interview are phrased more conversationally than interview questions asked during their traditional interview.
For instance, instead of asking "What is your biggest strength?" applicants during the culture interview might be asked "What is your ninja power?" Trout wants candidates in the culture interview to be more candid and show their true personalities rather than give a cliched response.