Lumberjacks. They are brave people who don’t stop until the job is completely done.
This friendly figure totally impersonates our company culture.
Talking about culture often sounds bullshit. And to be honest, I was the first to laugh when I saw culture quotes posted on startups’ walls. “Pfff”.
But I have come to realize that we at Forest actually attach extreme importance to our values.
It was mainly by working on our recruitment framework that I realized our hiring decisions were closely tied to the fit between the candidates’ values and our own.
In fact fit with our company values is often the main reason we turn down applicants!
To clearly define these values and to be completely transparent with our future lumberjacks, I decided to write this blog post… instead of just displaying them on a company wall :-)
Lumberjacks have a strong drive and sense of purpose
One of the first things we look for when interviewing a candidate is how determined he or she is to join our company for a crystal-clear position and responsibility.
Especially for business-related position, many candidates apply without knowing precisely what they want to do.
Typically, these kinds of profiles wish to join an early-stage company to be involved in many different things: sales, marketing, customer care, etc.
And it’s perfectly fine!
But the thing that matters to us is to be sure we work with people who know exactly in which context they want to evolve and who are able to take clear ownership of their position.
Lumberjacks speak code
The secret sauce to create a universal back office lies in the tech.
We have created an extremely technical and generic foundation to be able to handle all of our customers’ very specific use cases.
It means we all know the web applications’ fundamentals and understand the full potential of our solution. Even our CFO did Le Wagon :-)
Lumberjacks operate like clockwork
We help operationally intensive businesses to scale their operations.
For this claim to hold true, we cannot make any compromises with our own processes. We are literally paranoid about documenting and mapping all of our company’s processes. And, we regularly revisit our existing processes and rebuild even more robust ones.
We are convinced that the Back-Office-as-a-Service will become a commodity in a few years. It means there will be a lot of different players on the market.
And we truly believe the best way to grab first place on the podium is to act like machines from day 1.
Lumberjacks don’t leave anybody behind
Mapping the business processes is as important as executing them efficiently. And we all know a process always involves a lot of different people.
If there is a weak link in the chain, the efficiency of all the other team members involved is likely impacted.
Lumberjacks have this at heart and always take time to extend a friendly hand to their teammates, rain or shine.
Lumberjacks learn from each other
Despite the fact we are looking for people focused on a mission, lumberjacks cannot wear blinders.
We truly believe that a person cannot be successful in a role if he or she doesn’t receive all the inputs from the other teams. That’s why we put a lot of energy into sharing knowledge inside Forest.
For example, a Sales person cannot sell anything without perfectly mastering our product. And to be able to do so, he or she needs to understand the tech and receive guidance from our tech team.
Similarly, a Product person cannot think about a feature without knowing exactly the use cases and all the customers’ reluctances, which our Sales and Customer Success teams can fill him or her in on.
Lumberjacks exhibit high resilience and move mountains
For many of us, working in a startup is a no-brainer. But it’s not the case for everyone.
There are risk-averse and risk-tolerant people. If you are in the first category, it can be hard to withstand a startup’s emotional roller-coaster ride.
As with any startup, everything seems easy, clear and bright from the outside. But trust me, it’s f***ing hard for everyone!
Long story short…
If there is anything I’ve learned over the last years, it’s that the culture fit must be perfect, otherwise things just don’t work out in the long run.
So take time to define your own values first before looking at the company’s. This will save you a lot of time in your job research.
From our perspective it’s a waste of time to start our recruitment process with a candidate who has all the required hard skills and discover later the culture doesn’t fit.
But we feel it’s even worse for the candidate. Spending time within a company whose mission you deeply love just to realize that you don’t share the same values is a horrible feeling.
And if you do feel like a lumberjack, by now I’m sure you will know what to do ;)