Ever hire that remarkably experienced, impressively skilled employee who just doesn’t fit in with your organizational culture? It happens. You assumed the new hire shared your values and would adjust well to your workplace, but for one reason or another the employee just can't seem to blend in.
One of the ways you can reduce the chances of a bad hire is to focus on hiring for your culture. When recruiting, you look for the candidates with the most applicable skills and most relevant experience. Just as important in today's labor market is finding the candidates who want to put their knowledge and talents to work for your organization's mission. Someone's skills and experience only matter if that person contributes to the excellence of the team. Here are three strategies human resources departments can use to hire for a better cultural fit:
1. Explain your company values and expectations. The interview process isn’t just about the applicants; it’s also about you and your organization. When discussing the requirements of the job, make sure you tell applicants your organizational story – where it has been and where it is going. Clearly communicate your company values and the expectation for every employee to exemplify those values. Mention the behaviors and habits you want to see in an employee. Ask applicants why they might want to work in your specific culture, and press them for specifics.
2. Bring employees from various departments into the interview sessions. While everyone at your company may embrace the company culture, you’re not a monolith. Always keep in mind that your organization is comprised of people – people with various backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives. Your employees have their own ways of contributing to the workplace culture. Take advantage of these differences by inviting employees from various departments to participate in the interviews. The more diverse your interviewers, the more likely you’ll be to spot a red flag before extending a job offer.
3. Ask about specific behaviors. When questioning candidates and their references, ask about their preferred way of doing things – not just what they do, but also how they do it. Have applicants name the values that matter most to them and what they did in their previous jobs to live those values. Ask about large long-term projects and small day-to-day operations. You can often tell a lot about an applicant’s character by their disposition toward the menial but necessary tasks of an organization.
You can no more afford to make assumptions about an applicant’s fit with your culture than you can about their skills, expertise, and experience. You expect evidence of an applicant’s qualities and accomplishments; require evidence of a cultural fit as well. Make your hiring decisions as evidence-based as possible.