Transparency means not only acknowledging and understanding what the culture is but also what it isn’t.
You attract candidates by showing them what kind of organization you are building. You impress them by allowing them to see how amazing your product is. You sell them the dream and convince them this is the place for them to do their best work.
But you get great ones when you are upfront about what the culture really is. When you mention your core values and talk about how everyone on the team expects the best, how do they react? Do they shy away and ask about what the company can do for them? Or do they get excited and start offering solutions?
If you want to foster a forward-thinking culture of innovation and collaboration where people challenge each other and provide feedback, try challenging your candidates. If you want curious employees, hire curious candidates—the ones that ask the best questions and do the most research win.
Be transparent, you’re not going to scare people away, but rather, attract the kind you want.