Hi 👋 I'm Ingrid. Not that long ago, I was in your position. I was searching for a new job and had to navigate these waters. Job interviews are a difficult reef to get through!
Now I’m a Talent Acquisition Manager at Meilisearch. Though I’m on the other side of the process now, it was my experience as a candidate for Meilisearch that made me want to join the company. During my first interview, it became clear that Meilisearch strives for transparency, openness, and authenticity. As a candidate, I could already imagine what it could be like to work there.
An important part of my role today at Meilisearch is to be the safekeeper of the recruitment process. Our goal is to hire people who are the best possible match for us, in a reasonable amount of time, while providing candidates with a great experience.
I have spent time designing our recruitment process. For us, what you value in work is as important as your technical skills, if not more so. This is why I am iterating more specifically on steps that will help us assess if candidates share our core values.
So how do we assess this crucial, but apparently very subjective characteristic? What does “value-fit” even mean? In this blog post, I will explain this specific aspect of the interview process, how we assess the value-fit generally, and tips on how you can prepare yourself as a candidate.
What does value-fit mean?
You’re probably like me: when you apply for a job, you want your values to be shared by the company. Since joining Meilisearch in October 2022, I have observed that value-fit is mainly about ways of collaborating. When assessing value-fit, we focus on how your work style aligns with our values and culture. Additionally to questions about your experience and technical skills, we ask questions about your communication style, work preferences, and interpersonal skills. This will help us clarify your compatibility with the future team and our values.
We defined our values in 2020. We chose to put forward characteristics that represent us individually and collectively. These values might mean completely different things in other companies, and we have tried our best to describe our work values at Meilisearch.
Our values serve as the basis for our strategic decision-making and impact our company’s culture and individual behaviors. We use them in our career review process, in the objectives that we set for ourselves, and, as you may have understood, in our recruitment processes.
The term “value-fit” itself can be subject to misconceptions, especially the fact that value-fit in people's minds means recruiting people who look like us or share the same interests. For us, it is rather the opposite. We are looking to hire outside of groups of people who are similar to us.
We acknowledge the importance of inclusivity, and we believe that hiring for value-fit supports diversity. Studies have shown that people with similar values and work styles are more likely to collaborate effectively, leading to improve teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
It doesn't matter if we don't have the same background if we're trying to hit the same goal.
How do we assess value-fit?
As a candidate interviewing for a full-time position, you should expect 4 to 5 steps: meeting with a recruiter, the hiring manager, a skills assessment, a team-fit interview, and reference checks.
Evaluating value-fit is not a question of intuition or feeling, which is why we have integrated value-based questions into every step of the recruiting process.
Value-based questions are behavioral questions, that showcase how you handled different work situations in the past. As a recruiter, when I ask a value-based question, I’m looking to get a better understanding of you as a team member.
Depending on the role you are applying for, we identify different skills and abilities stemming from our values.
Here are a few examples of value-based questions:
- Please tell us about a time when someone took a decision you didn’t agree with, in your previous job. What did you do? Looking back, what do you think about this decision now?
The goal of this question is to gather a specific example of how you handle disagreement with colleagues. At Meilisearch we value the disagree and commit principle. For example, if you join our engineering team you will see that people thrive on input from everybody and openly share their opinions and objections, without letting this difference become an obstacle and stop the team from moving.
- Please tell us about a time when you didn’t have the knowledge/experience to work on a task, what did you do?
Team members at Meilisearch find solutions together, and are not afraid to ask for help when they don’t know. With this question, we try to assess your ability to collaborate and share knowledge.
Some preparation is necessary when getting ready for a value-fit interview. We want to give candidates all the information they need to succeed in their interviews. Below are some guidelines to help you.
How can you prepare to answer value-based questions?
Figuring out how to showcase your soft skills before an interview can be challenging but should not be underestimated. When you’re clear about what you value in work, you can’t lose; this will help you find a company where you’re happy to work, and showing you’ve prepared for these questions can make a big difference in the eyes of interviewers.
Here are a few tips:
- Before the interview, research our company's values; this will help you understand our company’s culture and what we stand for.
- Reflect on your values: take some time to reflect on your own values and what is important to you. This will help you articulate your values and how they align with ours.
- Practice answering value-based questions: prepare concrete and meaningful examples of your past experiences, such as successful work collaboration or communication with your manager or team, how you received feedback, and what you learned from your mistakes.
- To answer behavioral questions, use the STAR method; find a concrete example, and practice describing it in the following order: Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- During the interview, ask questions about the team, our values, and how they are lived out in the workplace. This will help you understand our company's culture and values better.
- Keep in mind we are not looking for a 100% match with our values. No one at Meillisearch matches our values 100%. In recruitment, unless we spot really big red flags, what we are ultimately looking for is a good balance between what you value in work, and what you know how to do.
To make sure we get a clear view of what those are, we will do our best to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to give you all the information you need to succeed in your interviews. We truly believe that candidates who are well prepared and in excellent interviewing conditions will better show who they are, which is ultimately what we’re really interested in.
As a recruiter, I can tell you that value-fit is critical in the recruitment process, and it goes beyond technical skills and experience. From my personal experience as a candidate, I know how important it is to assess how your work style aligns with a company's values and culture. That's why, at Meilisearch, we are committed to hiring people who share our core values while promoting inclusivity and diversity.
Interviewing at Meilisearch is a two-way process, it is not only meant for us to get to know you but also for you to understand if our work environment would suit you and a place for you to grow.
Have a look at our open positions! I’m looking forward to discussing all of this with you in person 😉