Do company values really matter? They do if you are looking to scale a business. 

In order to scale you need the strongest people, but the strongest people don't need you…or your company. 

What High performers need is to understand how your company brings value to their world, personally & professionally. And how we bring value through value alignment. 

Value alignment is the catalyst for performance and retention. When a person is misaligned with the company values, they underperform and/or leave. 

As a startup company, every person who is misaligned is a setback of 3-6 months of productivity.  So, before you hire another person, incorporate your values into the interview to encourage the strongest people to join your company. Giving your business the fuel for success.

Guest Bio:

Ken Babcock is the Co-founder and CEO of Tango, which allows users to create beautiful step-by-step tutorials of any digital process without the performance art of video recordings. 

Ken, along with his co-founders Brian Shultz and Dan Giovacchini, dropped out of Harvard Business School during the pandemic to start the company. Since then, the company has grown to over 150,000 users and 25 full-time team members.  

Prior to HBS, Ken spent most of his career in the Bay Area at Uber, where he helped scale launch operations through playbooks and best practices. 


  • Why building your interview around your values is so important
  • How to build your interview to gain evidence of value alignment

Challenge today?

  • Bringing values into the interview process
  • Defining how to show up for an interview
  • Principles of how we evaluate people
  • Training people on how to interview

Why is this important to the company?

  • Every hire is important
  • Critical that the process was not shooting ourselves in the foot
  • Great experience brings great people 

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Defocus on skills.

How do we solve the problem? 

  • Framework for Evaluating for Values

    • Define Your Values
    • Training
    • Defining what a good/bad answer is

▶️ Take Action

Avoid indecision and move past points of uncertainty. Value speed.

🚀 Aim High

Set uncomfortably ambitious goals. Reject mediocrity.

🌎 Embrace Diversity

Bring our true selves to work each day. Seek unique perspectives.

🌱 Leave It Better

Be an owner, not a renter. Cultivate a growth mindset.

✨ Customer Love

Serve the end user and listen closely. Make magic.

🏆 Team First

Winning as a team beats winning alone. Lift up others.


  • Develop a recruiting process document
  • Shadowing
  • Hot to operate during an interview
  • Time, opener, 

Initial Phone Screen - 30 minutes

Purpose: Determine whether a candidate’s experience is relevant to the role. Understand whether the role matches what they hope to do next (scope, career path, salary expectations).

🚀 Aim High. Set uncomfortably ambitious goals. Reject mediocrity.

  • Attributes: Passion, Champion’s mindset, Ambition, Optimism
  • Sample Questions:
    • How do you think this role fits in with your career goals?
    • What are you most proud of in your career?
    • What’s your underlying motivator? What’s your why?
    • Do you think you're ready to make the jump?

Hiring Manager Phone Screen - 30 minutes

Purpose: Determine whether the candidate would thrive on this team and whether the team would be up-leveled by this candidate

🌱 Leave it Better. Be an owner, not a renter. Strive to improve 1% each day.

  • Attributes: Growth mindset, Humility, Ownership, Feedback-oriented
  • Sample Questions:
    • What are your development areas? How are you working to address them?
    • Tell me about a project that fell short of expectations. What happened and how did you fix it moving forward?
    • Fast forward five years - assume Tango was a great experience. Describe what might have happened.
    • What's a tough piece of feedback you received recently? How are you working on it?

Technical Screen - 60 minutes

Purpose: Determine whether the candidate can execute in the role at a high level.

▶️ Take Action. Avoid indecision and move past points of uncertainty. Value speed.

  • Attributes: Resourceful, Decisive, Problem-solving, Truth-seeking
  • Sample Questions:
    • How do you approach projects where the scope is overwhelming?
    • Tell me about a time where you had to act on incomplete information.
    • What's the first thing you'd want to do if you started tomorrow?
    • Tell me about a project where your hypothesis turned out to be wrong.

Virtual Onsite - 30-45 minutes each

🏆 Team First. Winning as a team beats winning alone. Lift up others.

  • Attributes: Mentorship, Collaboration, Communication, Gratitude
  • Sample Questions:
    • Tell me about a colleague or manager you admire. What qualities do you try to emulate?
    • Tell me about a team dynamic that just wasn't working for you and others. What did you learn from that?
    • What do you need from your team members in order to be successful?
    • How do you pay it forward in and out of the workplace?

Customer Love. Serve the end user and listen closely. Make magic.

  • Attributes: Listening, Perspective-shifting, Humble, Creative
  • Sample Questions:
    • In prior roles, what have you learned about your customers?
    • How do you incorporate the customer’s perspective into your work?
    • Tell me about a time at work you made a mistake.
    • What does it mean to you to deliver an “Aha Moment” to a customer?

🌎 Embrace Diversity. Bring our true selves to work each day. Seek unique perspectives.

  • Attributes: Unique, Conscientious, Self-aware, Inclusive
  • Sample Questions:
    • You've just been notified you have to give a Ted talk in 15 minutes. What's your topic?
    • What have you changed your mind about recently?
    • Tell me about a time at work where you really thrived. What contributed to that?
    • How do you incorporate feedback into your work?

Closing Interview - 15-30 minutes

Purpose: Sell the candidate on the company’s vision and the quality of the team. Answer any remaining questions.

  • Sample Questions:
    • How did today’s interviews go? What excites you most about the opportunity?
    • What hesitations do you have?
    • What timelines or competing processes should we account for?
    • Are there any other questions I can answer?

Answer Quality Rubric




  • Fails to directly answer the question

  • Does not articulate role/impact on broader team

  • Lacks a cohesive narrative in communicating responses

  • Poor attitude towards past experiences that failed to meet expectations

  • Questions back to interviewer are exclusively from self-interest 
  • Answers the question, but does not extrapolate beyond situational elements

  • Understands goals and role relative to broader team

  • Thoughtful narrative in responding to questions, but examples lack tangible or sizable results

  • Grateful for past experiences, even if some did not meet expectations

  • Questions back to interviewer include a focus on goals / responsibilities for the role
  • Answers the question and highlights learnings and reflections

  • Deep understanding of personal and team-wide goals and how their role influences outcomes

  • Cohesive narrative in responses with measurable and significant results

  • Reflective on past experiences and finds nuggets of learnings / improvements at each juncture

  • Questions back to interviewer build on the conversation and touch upon company goals



  • Thumbs up or down
  • Do not require unanimous thumbs up
  • Debrief, revote
  • verdict

Rick’s Nuggets

  • 4 to 6 values is all you need
  • Phone screen 
  • Working session

Key Takeaways that the Audience can plug into their business today! (Value):

  • Integrate your core values into your hiring process and beyond! (performance management, operating cadence, etc.)
  • For early-stage companies, you need to toe the line of “always be selling” and evaluating candidates
  • Requiring unanimous decisions on candidates can actually force a regression to the mean and avoid taking risks on high-potential candidates. 

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