Finding a ‘cultural fit’ to fill a job vacancy can be a tricky task. It is like tracking down that one person that is perfectly suited to the role and has that little extra something. No-one can quite define what that ‘something’ actually is, but everyone can feel it should it be missing.
At the heart of your candidate search, finding a cultural fit means discovering a person with behaviours and beliefs that are well aligned with your own company core values and culture.
Of course we want to hire someone who will be able to do the job competently, but we will also want to find someone who will care about and fit in well with the team they will be working with. It is a case of having to look above and beyond those candidates that would simply be turning up every day to enable them to collect a wage at the end of every month.
An employer who hires for the job only will be taking great risks. No matter how well they can perform their role, what if they don’t exactly mesh with their work colleagues? What if they have no interest in the mission of the company or share any common goals with their department head? It will hardly make for a stimulating or productive workplace if just one cog in the machine is out of place.
More employers are realising how important it is to hire for a cultural fit. Workplace mental health is a growing concern amongst many large businesses, and research has shown that by choosing people who fit in well with their company culture can lead to greater happiness and job satisfaction for their employees. This means that their workers are likely to be more productive and will build a sense of loyalty to the company.
Having a positive company culture and work environment encourages employees to stay working with an employer for much longer time frames than compared to those organizations that don’t foster such a happy working environment.
Better use of company resources
When you hire someone for a job, there will be a certain element of training involved depending on their skills and existing levels of work experience. While it can cost a company some time and money to teach an employee to do a job, you cannot teach them to love doing that job.
Even when a candidate brings with them a valuable skill set and a lot of previous experience, if their hearts and minds are not aligned with your company culture, they can certainly risk disrupting an otherwise harmonious workplace.
You may well find that within only a few short weeks of appointing a new employee, you could be repeating the whole process over again because that person has either resigned, or you have had to let them go. This is obviously an expensive mistake to have made and not the best use of company resources.
Hiring the right candidate
Before you can successfully hire the right candidate for the job based on them being a cultural fit, you fist have to be able to define and understand your own company culture. How else would you be able to check to see if a prospective candidate will match up to your criteria?
All this takes is for the key members of your team, be that your board of directors, management team or team leaders, to sit down and work out what values and practices define your business. Make a list of your top three or four most important beliefs or behaviours that you consider as critical for your success. These will be how your company culture is translated into your everyday working operations.
You now have a set of values that you can use within your internal and external communications, including your social media, company website, and within you recruitment and marketing tools. If you can ensure that your company culture and ethos is reflected in your job adverts, you will be more likely to attract the right sort of candidates to that role.
Your core values will be easier to communicate to all prospective job applicants, and you can use these as those traits you want to see in a candidate. Using expressions such as ‘we are looking for someone who is dynamic, customer-centric and progressive’ is great if these are qualities that reflect your company culture.
Interviewing outside of the box
We are all pretty familiar with how the run of the mill job interview process goes. We have all been at the receiving end of an interview at some point in our careers. Many smart job candidates are so well prepared for standard job interviews these days it can almost seem robotic.
How can we truly know that a candidate sitting in front of you at interview possesses the right cultural fit for the job based on their answers to your questions alone. Why not try interviewing outside of the box and actually taking the candidate out into the workplace where their job would happen.
Book some extra time for interviews that will allow you to walk a candidate around the office or workplace where they would be situated. Introduce them to some of the key people and colleagues they would be working with. Watch how they interact with people and notice if they ask interesting questions while you walk around.
Once you arrive back at the interview room, ask them what they thought of the place and the people they met. If they reply with more questions or positive comments about the workplace, and they seem genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of working for you, then you may have found a good cultural fit.