Tonic Design is seven years old and employs a staff of approximately 60 rockstars headquartered in Philly. We started as two different companies: One focused on software development, and another that was focused on creative, digital design. Both companies started in 2010 and merged in 2014.
We’re a digital experience agency that provides best-in-class products for clients, so our capabilities and expertise vary. Our team is made up of designers, software developers, project managers, user-experience specialists, strategists, and a handful of folks who hold various administrative roles. We serve large brands like Johnson & Johnson, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Ralph Lauren. We help our clients with a variety of projects from designing and building websites and mobile apps to creating digital business strategies for their products. ?
Our general focus is providing large brands with consumer-facing digital products. That could include creating a soup-to-nuts concept, conducting user research, and testing and validating an idea. We often build the actual product but are often engaged in concept validation, design-thinking, and workflow for the client’s development team.
When people talk about culture fit, it irks me a little bit. The only people who don’t fit in our culture are jerks. Anybody who’s willing to learn, work side-by-side with others, and not have an ego is more than welcome in our office. Our office is laid-back, but everybody works hard. We just expect people to be good to each other and work well. We allow people to work from home and are accommodating of work/life balance, as long as our team members are accommodating of their project team and co-workers.
We have a nice office and do all the typical startup stuff. We have our ping pong table, kegerator, and all these things. I think those things are almost a baseline in companies like ours and don’t define our culture at all. I think our people define our culture. We have a great crew, and I’m proud to work alongside all of them.
We sponsor an initiative internally to promote more women in technology. We’ve held public forums and roundtables in our office on the subject. We’re also preparing to sponsor a mentorship program for young women who want to get into STEM fields.
I try to gauge the candidate as a person. I ask about their resume and work experience and let them talk so it’s more conversational. Not everybody works like that, but I try to go into the room and get a read on the person. I let them speak and work off their answers.
Interviews vary depending on the position. I oversee the recruiting process and allow it to be flexible. Our Head of Design likes to be methodical and write out a clear interview process with specific questions. He likes to ask candidates about how they approached a past project and why it was successful.?
We trust our team. We trust the hiring managers or department heads to be the arbiter of the interview questions and lead the process. They’re going to be responsible for the new hire, so I’m not going to dictate process or questions to them. They know what they need, so we empower them to take the lead.
I also believe too much rigor and process makes for a boring interview. It doesn’t allow for curve ball questions or conversational interviews. Like I said, we have no requirements for the type of person we hire. Our candidates don’t have to have the cut-and-dried years of experience or certain type of degree. We’re looking for people who have the right mindset, and I think our flexible hiring process caters to that.