As a company, we have been putting more and more emphasis on hiring for culture fit both internally and for our clients. “Culture fit” is more than just a buzzword, it is rapidly becoming a standard in business around the world. But… what exactly is it and how the heck do you hire for it? At its core, cultural fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s core values and company culture. (Business News Daily) And as important as it is for us to define culture fit, it’s just as important to define what culture fit is NOT.
It is not a way to hire all of your best friends, it is not a strategy to hire people who are all the same. You still need to hire a diverse team that brings different experiences, different points of view, and even different goals. So how do you sort through the thousands of candidates on the market to find the one or two people who are not only going to be a great fit but also make an immediate impact on the growth of your team?
1. Have a strong and clearly defined culture
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but please take a moment to step outside your shoes and look at your company through the eyes of a candidate. Is your company culture obvious right off the bat? Does what you read online align with what you’ll see in the office and hear when you talk to current employees? If the answers to these questions aren’t clear, it’s time to make some adjustments. Simply, make your brand known. Or, more complicated, define your culture and get everyone on board.
2. Don’t be so strict when reviewing resumes
So often, we put candidates in rigid boxes because they do or don’t check off every box on our desired skills list. This is resulting in so much missed value! Just because someone doesn’t have every skill doesn’t mean they can’t come into your open job and make a huge impact. Remember, skills can be taught but culture fit cannot. If you’re intrigued by someone’s background, or they fit some criteria but not all, put them in the “yes” pile. You will be amazed at how much you learn and gain just by talking to these candidates.
3. Think outside the box during the interview process
We’ve all seen the standard list of questions that everyone asks during an interview. “What are your weaknesses?” “Tell us about yourself…” By changing the way you ask questions, you change the type of talent you bring on board. I love this list of culture-fit specific questions from Harvard Business Review. And don’t stop at just changing the questions you ask! Maybe ask the candidate to sit in on a meeting and give their thoughts on a current project. Or give them a homework assignment very similar to what they would be doing day to day. You could even take them out to a team lunch to see how they interact with everyone. By taking candidates out of the “typical” interview process, you will be able to uncover outstanding talent.
4. Give the power to the candidate
Something that I love to say when I’m interviewing someone is “this interview is a two-way street.” I like to put the power in the candidate’s hands by asking them to tell me what they are looking for in a job or career. Trust your candidates. Make them feel like they can open up to you. By doing this you’ll be able to get to know their true selves. This alone will determine if they will truly be a culture fit on your team.