Mon, 3 October 2016
David Klein, CEO and Co-founder of CommonBond discusses the exciting work culture and hiring process his team uses to bring in the best talent.
David Klein is the CEO and co-founder of CommonBond, an online lending company for student loans. It allows student to refinance their debt into a loan that consolidates several loans into one single loan and it provides a lower interest rate. David Klein co-founded CommonBond with two other MBA students whom he met in college when they realized there was a strong need for this type of service.
CommonBond has around 80 employees and their corporate culture is very important to them. They were rated one of the 50 best work places by Inc Magazine. David Klein believes that creating a great workplace is largely dependent on employees and that is why hiring is so important to him. In the hiring process he looks for four qualities in every applicant. All new hires must have strategic acumen—really good business judgment and the ability to act independently—the ability to execute, internal drive, and good character.
In creating the work culture, Klein and the rest of his team understand the importance of transparency. They hold weekly meetings on Fridays called Lunch and Learn where they spend the first 30 minutes listening to someone from the company talk about something new that is happening within the company and in the last 30 minutes they get to have a Q&A with Klein. During the Q&A session they can ask anything they want and Klein commits to giving them open and honest answers.
They also have a social mission where they promise to give assistance to a student in need for every loan that they fund in the US. It is their way of giving back to the community and they are the first and only financial company to offer a one for one social mission.
Some of the other unique things they are doing include a 12 week paid maternity leave and a 4 week paid paternity leave, unlimited vacation, catered lunches on Fridays, student loan assistance and monthly happy hours called Common Brews. All of this is planned by their culture team, which is a team of people that is randomly selected from their employees and rotates every quarter.
Their workspace is also worth mentioning as it speaks to the importance of transparency in the company. It is an open floor plan with high ceilings and wood floors. All of the conference rooms have floor to ceiling windows on 3 sides and they have common spaces with couches and chairs.
In order to work with CommonBond one must go through a unique hiring process. It starts off familiar with a resume drop, a phone screen and then an in person interview, but if you move past this part it becomes different. In the last step of the interview process every new hire has to do what is called a prompt. They are asked one big question or a few meaningful questions and they have to present their answer in some sort of presentation. The presentation could include a PowerPoint, an excel spreadsheet, or anything else the person can come up with. These prompts give CommonBond insight into the new hire’s personality.
So why do they spend so much time and detail in the hiring process and in creating an exciting work culture? Well, as Klein discusses, the more they focus on hiring and retaining great employees the more it creates a “self-fulfilling prophecy” where new people come in and they want to work at CommonBond because of the people they meet in the interview process. They want to work with smart, kind, compassionate, hard working people. And with this hiring process and work culture, those are the types of employees they bring in and retain.
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