When you need highly successful hiring results, you must understand your company’s culture and how to determine if the candidates you are looking at are a good culture fit. What happens when you hire someone that doesn’t fit with your company’s mission, vision, work environment, current employees, and corporate strategy? The new employee won’t be as comfortable or as productive, and will interfere with the work group’s abilities to be productive as well.

Understanding Culture

The Recruiting Division understands the importance of culture fit and discusses it in “A Beginner’s Guide to Culture Fit” and “Do Your Recruiting Solutions Address Culture Fit?”. If you can’t easily describe your company culture, you are going lose a big advantage in recruiting – selling your company and your company’s opportunities to quality candidates. Think of legendary company cultures you’ve heard about, like Zappos or Southwest Airlines.

In “The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace,” S. Chris Edmonds explains that there’s no room in these organizations for employees who aren’t aligned with the company’s values. Everyone feels the company culture – management, employees, and customers alike.

If your organization isn’t as tightly focused on culture as places like Google and there isn’t as obvious a culture, there are some basic steps you can take to understand your company culture and use culture fit for recruiting.

Describing Your Organization’s Culture

When you need to choose new hires that are a culture fit, take some time to think about how you would describe your culture. What is the work environment like? What type of behavior is encouraged and rewarded? What kind of employees are the top performers and leaders? Discuss these questions with managers, supervisors, and top performing employees to get a good sense of how they describe the culture.

It’s a good idea to write down your thoughts as you think and ask about culture. After you have described and defined your culture, draft interview questions to ask candidates that relate to culture. For example, if your culture is team-based, ask about the candidate’s experience on teams. If your culture is competitive, ask about sports participation to get an idea of competitive spirit and approach to winning or getting results.

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Get a Second Opinion

The next step is to have one or two top performers meet with the applicant and get their impression of the candidate. Ask if they think the candidate would work well with the team and in the work environment, with management and with the company mission, values, and corporate goals.

Additionally, have a member of the management team meet with the applicant to discuss the company’s mission, vision, and corporate goals. The manager should ask the candidate about how he or she feels about the company’s guiding principles and how he or she would fit in and contribute. Management should also ask the candidate to discuss the mission and corporate goals at previous employers and how he or she contributed to them.

Many people believe that there’s no way to know if a new hire is going to work out and fit in until he or she is in the job. Many employers use temporary employment agencies to do exactly that. But when you truly understand your company’s culture, you can use it in your recruitment process to discuss with candidates during interviews, with hiring managers to identify ideal candidates, and to prepare for interviews.

In “The Culture Engine,” Edmonds recommends talking to many different people throughout the company about the company, employees, and work environment to get as broad and accurate a picture of culture as possible. He also advises company leaders to take an active role in guiding and developing company culture if it’s not well established or easily identifiable.

When you pay attention to culture and incorporate it into your recruitment process, it’s a simple process to understand and identify culture fit.

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