When onboarding new talent, determining cultural fit is a crucial component of the process. A gleaming resume may prove that a candidate is qualified, but how should you screen for cultural fit?
These 12 business leaders have an array of practical tips for hiring individuals who will mesh with the company culture. In light of their diverse backgrounds, they each offer up unique answers to the all-important question: “how do you hire for cultural fit?”
Find out about Their Life beyond Work
Culture fit is becoming increasingly important for employers and employees. Gelling with your coworkers and your company’s core values leads to increased productivity and greater employee satisfaction and retention. Ultimately you should hire with skillset in mind, but it can be a waste of time for both parties if you hire a candidate that doesn’t collaborate well with your team and ultimately isn’t happy with the company culture. To avoid this, we ask candidates to share accomplishments that aren’t included in their resume. This opens up a greater conversation about their life outside of work. It lets you see what they care about and who they are beyond their qualifications.
Listen for Red-Flags
I wouldn’t call it unique, however, during the recruiter interview, we are listening for ‘red–flags’, inconsistencies, and how well someone can share their story. You can sense negativity and based on candidate responses you can quickly assess your gut feeling on if this individual would be a good cultural fit.
Know Your Values
To start, we have a very clear set of values. Those values are something we live and breathe every day. This means that every member of the organization understands how important it is that a potential employee embody those qualities – whether they are participating in the interview process or referring someone to Spear. Everything starts with our values. But that isn’t all – we don’t hire to a job description, we hire to a role scorecard. A scorecard is a very clearly defined set of outcomes, competencies, and values we use not only in the interview process but to measure continued success throughout employment in order to stay true to our organizational objectives and priorities. We also understand very clearly the qualities that you need to have the thrive at Spear, and we talk about those qualities in very honest terms with candidates in the interview process so they can also determine whether our culture is a fit for them. We are very proud of our culture, and it is what makes Spear an amazing place to work.
Focus on Skills & Behaviors
In today’s recruiting atmosphere, I think we confuse the term culture fit with “we like them because we think they work similarly to us” and a candidate who brings similar behaviors and skills that are related to the company’s core values. It is unfair and not standard to assess simply off of a feeling of similarity. To be able to assess culture fit, as an organization you need to be able to successfully define the environment and points of pride. Here at GoDaddy our core values are listed on our site to inform candidates on the areas we find value in. A unique way, and one I urge other companies to utilize, is defining culture fit and translating that to skills, abilities, and behaviors. From there craft questions that allow your candidate to display whether or not they bring those skills and behaviors to the table.
Get to Know the Candidate
I am not a fan of unique, funky, quirky ways of interviewing people. I would rather really try to get to know the candidate in the short time you have with them to help determine if they are the right fit for your team. Too often I hear about these outlandish, quirky interview processes and I simply think they are silly, useless, and don’t prove a single thing.
Create a Diverse Applicant Pool
The term culture fit is losing credibility with HR professionals. Words like culture fit, team player, and professionalism are problems for many that don’t fit the mold. It sends a message of ‘be like us or you can’t be with us’. One way to overcome this is to expand your applicant pool far and wide. The interviewers should be diverse as well with tangible ways to benchmark applicants. You are looking for ways to add to your team versus going with the status quo.
Hire for a Culture Add
While culture fit hiring is popular, it’s also incredibly problematic. It can create bias in the screening and hiring process. If we are hiring for people who are like us, we will naturally gravitate away from those who may have a unique perspective or background. Shifting our thinking toward hiring for a “culture add” can create a company culture that is diverse and rich in ideas and perspectives which ultimately leads to better decision making.
Brittany Parker, Marketing and Sales Consultant
Have an Honest Conversation
I hope this is not unique, but having an open and honest conversation about our culture and what it means is a really good litmus test for a cultural fit. There is always a possibility of a false positive, but you can tell that someone embraces a culture when they can talk about how they have lived it in detail.
Emphasize the Human Element
As a temporary HR staffing agency, we recruit, screen, test, and hire workers on an employer’s behalf. To do this successfully, it’s important to emphasize the “human” element. Especially when we’re talking about Human Resources. Throughout the screening process, “cultural fit” is something recruiters and hiring managers are on the lookout for. The more you get to know the human side of each candidate – and seek to slow down a hiring process that you naturally want to go fast – the more culturally aligned candidates will be.
Expose Candidates to All Departments
We ensure that every candidate has an opportunity to engage at least one member from each department or team. We also test a social situation to see how the person interacts in a group setting.
Hire for Community Fit
We hire people who want to be part of a community; who want to help others. We are only strong together and if someone doesn’t see that, they won’t be successful in our work environment.
Factor in both Qualitative and Quantitative Experiences
We pride ourselves and helping companies find culturally aligned talent. How do we screen for culture fit? There’s a few steps in the process to get right. First, clients and recruiters need to discover the definition of what a culture fit looks like at your company. Having this clarity enables recruiters to collaborate and strategize with the hiring team on a candidate search. When screening, it is important to have a trifecta of face-to-face meetings, relying on networks, and utilizing candidate assessment tools to determine alignment. Factoring in both the qualitative and quantitative experiences enable companies to screen for the original definition of culture fit. After that, it’s a matter of selecting candidates and making a hiring decision.