Interviewing a job candidate recently, Jobot founder Heidi Golledge kept pushing him for references--though he was clearly qualified. The applicant soon realized why. "Are you trying to find out if I'm a jerk?" he asked. Her unapologetic reply: "Yes."

Working at Jobot, an A.I.-based staffing and recruiting firm, entails much more than demonstrating your ability. "It's almost like dating," Golledge says. "Would I want to be married to this person for the next three to five years?"

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The 140-person, Irvine, California, startup has scaled quickly since Golledge founded it in 2018 using money from the $100 million-plus sale of her previous company, CyberCoders. Even more than people with great résumés, Golledge seeks those who are respectful. "A good culture isn't just about parties," she says. "But I do like to throw parties." 

Indeed. Celebrations at Disneyland. Quarterly extravaganzas at ritzy venues like the Pelican Hill resort. Last year, the company's aviation-themed holiday bash included helicopter rides. Top performers get a party each month, like a recent one that included a Celtic band and an Irish step dance contest. The incentives, Golledge says, keep employees happy and allow them to buy in. Literally: Jobot has a profit-sharing program that vests at five years; stay 10 years, and you get it for life. 

Jobot employees aren't the only ones who benefit. Each time the company places a job candidate, it makes a donation to the charity of that candidate's choosing. "People feel empowered here," Golledge says. "And that helps them do their best work."