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Five Ways to Hire Talent for Cultural Fit 

Culture is the glue that keeps businesses together. It is a key driver when we are recruiting for WhiteCollarBlue, we strongly believe that with the right personality, drivers, and traits – a person can learn the skills needed for the appropriate role (within reason). 

We have focussed many of our blogs on culture, around all of the aspects of culture and what culture actually is. We will never get sick of writing about Culture!! – you’ve probably figured that out already.

The results of poor culture could be devastating! With poor culture, comes high turnover, toxicity in the workplace, decreased productivity and potentially a decrease in sales.

Before you can hire for cultural fit, we need to first know what kind of culture we are recruiting for. ‘Here’s one I prepared earlier’ – click here to read about six types of culture in the workplace. 

Cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and be able to adapt to the core beliefs and behaviors that make up your business. Studies show that an employee who fits well into a business, with their co-workers and superiors will have greater job satisfaction, are more likely to remain with the organisation, show superior performance and also be happy going into work every day. 

It’s important to understand that hiring for cultural fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are all the same. The values and attributes that make up a business’s culture can and should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce. For example, if collaboration is a key business value, people who have a genuine and authentic belief in the value of collaborative work will be a stronger cultural fit than those who are more comfortable as individual contributors.

This doesn’t mean that only people who come from one particular background or have one particular set of experiences are collaborative. A savvy hiring manager knows that a deep-rooted belief in collaboration could just as easily be found in a candidate with a corporate background as a candidate who has worked in a non-for-profit sector, or a candidate who has spent most of their career in the military.

When you make recruiting decisions purely on skills, and don’t take into account the cultural fit of the candidate, you may find;

1. The candidate doesn’t fit well in your existing team.

2. They quickly become dissatisfied with their role.

3. They will not adhere to the values and behaviors expected of them

Let’s break down Five ways to hire talent for cultural fit.

01: Ensure You Have a Set of Values and How They Translate to the Role.

If you are in the early stages of business, it is likely that you haven’t put thought into creating and documenting your business’ values. Values are incredibly important to distil and communicate as early as possible within your businesses lifetime. Values explain what the directors and managers hold as important, and they help explain the behaviors that all employees are expecting to uphold. Without clear direction and leadership, your business may keep slowly moving forward, however, the lack of cohesiveness will eventually start to show, and affect productivity and profits.

You should spend time analysing your inherent values and document them in specific, clear words.

02: Include a Page Within our Website About Your Company Values.

These should definitely not be just static website content that has been cut and pasted somewhere deep within your website that has been forgotten. You should be using other opportunities to link back to these value statements. For example, they always appear on your careers section and may also be mentioned within any blog or social media post.

03: Discuss the Values and How Your Culture is During the Initial Interview with Candidates

You always want to cover all important topics within the initial interview with the candidate, these will be things like the role, expectations, benefits, culture and business. The last thing that you want is to hire someone without giving them every piece of information that they need which results in an early resignation or termination. It is crucial that anyone involved in the hiring process has a good grasp of your company culture, and that they themselves personally display the right behaviors and attributes you expect in your values. 

When I interview candidates for internal recruitment, I like to explain what we look for in a candidate, how we work as a team (the good and the bad) and I explain the importance of culture to us, as a business.

04: Ask Questions that Relate Directly to These Values

During the screening and interview process, rather than sticking to basic questions – I strongly recommend you include a number of questions to determine the candidate's personality and cultural fit.

Whilst asking for their own personal values is a good start, you will find more benefit by asking candidates specific questions around your values and determine their reactions and answers.

Here are some fantastic questions you can ask;

1. Tell me what your most positive personality trait is, and why?

2. Tell me what your worst personality trait is, and why?

3. What values are important to you as a person?

4. What type of team do you thrive within?

5. How important is recognition to you?

6. Based on what you have researched about us, how would you describe our culture?

7. Why do you want to work here?

8. Do you feel as though the role that you have applied for has meaning?

Pay attention to not only the verbal responses but also the body language of your candidates and comfort levels. Feel free to ask the candidate to clarify an answer if need be.

05: Ensure that you Have a Solid Induction Process that Involves Cultural Induction

It is a fantastic idea to set aside time (up to 2 hours if need be) within the first few days of a new hire to go through a cultural induction process with your new team member. This meeting may go from reading and breaking down the businesses’ values and also a discussion around these values to a more formal approach where you dig deeper into each value, what their intent and meaning are. This may seem unnecessary from the outside, but your candidates will appreciate the additional time spent with them to ensure that they are comfortable with the culture, and have the opportunity to discuss their concerns, questions or suggestions.

There we have them, five ways to hire talent for cultural fit. Employees who embrace your culture and values go on to become great brand ambassadors, they boost morale, teamwork and help positively affect future recruiting.

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