Hiring for Cultural Fit

If you read my blog last month, you may have taken a moment to consider your company culture: what did you find out about it? More importantly, what do your customers think about your company’s culture? Are your employees a good fit to provide the emotional connection your customers crave, which turns them into advocates for your brand?

Whose Job Is It?

Whose job is it?

Recently I assisted a company in staffing in a new market. They were not having an easy time finding the type of employees who they were looking for; those who would easily connect with their customers. The General Manager felt that it was the fault of the Human Resources team. When I found this out, I inquired, “Isn’t recruitment everyone’s responsibility?” He looked at me like I had three heads.

Every day we encounter the types of employees who provide us with exceptional service, and we think to ourselves that they would be a great fit within our organization. Well, engage them and get them in front of the right people! If you are blown away by great service while you’re shopping and your company has a similar position, offer that person your card at the very least!

It’s been said, “If you want shiny, happy people, then hire shiny, happy people.” It seems simple, right? In today’s work environment, the impact of peers is too great to ignore, so organizations must start intentionally finding high performers with a high culture fit. Furthermore, organizations must be ruthless when it comes to rejecting individuals who aren’t a great fit. Even if they come across as high performers, they can wreak havoc on the positive, collaborative culture you need to create.

Can You Train for Cultural Fit?

Training

Why not just hire people who have experience, or who seem eager to learn in order to train them to be part of your culture? Well, you cannot train for cultural fit, according to Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success. “If an employee doesn’t fit the mold, then it’s going to be nearly impossible to force it on them. They will eventually get frustrated and quit because they will want something that you can’t provide them.”

Will They Fit In?

Fitting in

Here are some questions that will help assess culture fit in an interview:

  • What type of culture do you thrive in?
  • What values are you drawn to, and what’s your ideal workplace?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How would you describe our culture, based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?

Finally, expose your candidates to a larger picture of what it would be like to work at your organization. Give him or her a tour of the office and a chance to see how employees at all levels interact with one another at meetings or during lunch. Pay attention to the candidate’s comfort level, and gather feedback from staff. The candidate whose behavior and values are consistent with your organization will naturally rise to the top.

Sources:

  1. The 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace: Results From the 2014 TINYpulse Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture Report.” TINYpulse. Oct. 29, 2014.
  2. Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press, 2013).
  3. Harbour, Sarita. “Beyond Skills: How to Hire for Cultural Fit.” Business News Daily. July 28, 2014.
  4. Bouton, Katie. “Recruiting for Cultural Fit.” Harvard Business Review. July 17, 2015.

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