Step 4: Candidate is asked to produce a personal review of the HBO series, Deadwood (maximum one page)
I love it. Over time our hiring team has grown to love it too. At first they thought it was a crazy and perhaps arbitrary question but trusted my judgement (and respected my unfettered powers). This essay is a very important question we ask candidates, and here’s why:
1. There are no laws here
Our workplace culture, on the frontier, is lawless and its people must police themselves. Great candidates acknowledge the efforts that the people of Deadwood made to create loose structure when none is present for the common goal of creating a civil society.
Our team can wear what they like, show up to the office whenever they like, and so much more I can’t even imagine is policed within traditional work culture. It’s not that none of it matters, it’s simply that it's within the power of the employee to determine what’s appropriate for what they want to accomplish at Frontier.
2. There is no language filter
There’s some words you wouldn’t hear at Frontier, but by and large it's appropriate to use whichever word you damn well please. Technology breaks, storms hit, and shit happens. As to the show, rare is the candidate that doesn't note the ‘fucks’ and ‘cock suckers’ said in the first episodes of the show.
We’re a tight knit group of 12 and it's my hope that everyone is their true selves here. If you don’t take us as we are, well, GTFO. And, in our pluralistic office full of creative energy and diversity, how would we be our best if we put restrictions on language?
3. You need to be resourceful to work here
How often do you get to test a candidate's ethics and resourcefulness prior to an interview? This element of the test often goes unnoticed. Deadwood is not available on Netflix and thanks to the demise of Blockbuster, is not readily available. Of course, it’s within arm's reach of anyone wanting to be a pirate.
And, at Frontier, we want pirates.
4. It’s the frontier, your survival is your job
It’s called Frontier for a reason. Our company exists to explore, to take risks, to try new things, to constantly change, and grow.
To work at Frontier is to thrive in uncertain conditions, to adapt, and to embrace failure. Not only are employees asked to continuously learn, our culture encourages challenge, autonomy, and purpose.
A candidate, on seeing the harshness of the pioneer culture, who remarks on it bitterly, would not survive the winter with us. Best for them to find the stability of local government.
There’s more to it than these main points, especially as it relates to how candidates for particular positions respond (you wouldn’t believe what graphic designers do with this question). The point I’d try to make to employers is not to ask this question, but to give candidates the Kansas City Shuffle.