Better Cultural Fit Means Better Hiring
This inevitably leads to massive frustration for the hiring Manager and the team. Often the new hire has been extensively trained, time and energy has gone into bringing them up to speed. The lack of cultural fit may even have led to wider disruption, resulting in poorer performance across the team. And of course, you are back to square one from a hiring perspective. Replacing the candidate you had such high hopes for, will result in more time and money spent on recruitment.
Managers acknowledge the importance of culture in building a successful business. In a recent PWC survey 84% cited culture as critical to success. But despite its importance, only rarely is the hiring process tailored to ensure that the right cultural fit is achieved. So why is there so little focus on this aspect when hiring?
Unless the business is one of the few with optimum recruitment processes, Managers tend to be poorly equipped to hire successfully. They are offered a pile of CVs, presenting candidates with the right skills (on paper at least). Often the hiring need is urgent and with time limited only the top 2 or 3 candidates will be brought in for interview. For the most part, these interviews are scantily prepared and focus on the elements that are already known: the skills presented in the candidate's CV. The interviewer may probe a little further and will be able to make a pretty swift decision on whether they like the candidate on a personal level, but beyond that, the candidate is unlikely to be under any deep scrutiny.
It is notoriously difficult to get a real understanding of somebody's character in an interview situation. Even the best judge of character can get this wrong. Keep in mind that, much like on a first date, the candidate will be on their very best behaviour. Even if the interview focuses more on personality than competencies, a candidate may know how to mislead the interviewer and show only their best traits.
A lack of documented company culture can also present a challenge. Few companies and teams take the time to nail what their culture means to them, never truly establishing the common values that unite them. How then would they have a chance of hiring somebody with that same set of values and desired behaviours?
Companies that are successful at hiring know that to attract the right kind of people to their business, they need to understand how to hire for cultural fit. Here are the steps your business could adopt to make that happen.
Step 1 - Define your Culture
Take the time to work with your team in identifying the values that matter to them. What common thread do you see? Research suggests, that the most effective teams comprise of individuals with similar motivations and behaviours. Understanding what unites your team and how your management style impacts them, will help you make better decisions around how to structure your existing workforce, as well as equip you with vital insights when preparing to on-board somebody new. You will have a better idea of the traits you are looking for, allowing you to define the characteristics a candidate must demonstrate.
Step 2 - Re-Shape the Interview
Focus on the person rather than the CV. Prepare questions that will help you tease out the traits that you are looking for. Be prepared to stop asking questions and letting the candidate take the lead. You will learn much more by letting them do the talking. It may also pay to share your values and core culture at the end of the interview. The candidate too needs to make the right decision about whether to join your organisation and they will be the best judge as to whether they can fit in.
Step 3 - Test for Cultural Fit
There are plenty of tools out there to help you test for the right cultural fit and you should certainly consider using them. Simple personality tests will help you see the core traits of an individual, allowing you to judge far better whether that fits with your team. Testing is likely to give you a much more accurate picture than an interview alone and if you test first, you are far less likely to waste time interviewing somebody inappropriate. Most tests are set up to look for the same character trait through a variety of questions. So even if your candidate is guessing at some of the expected answers, they are unlikely to be able to sustain that through an entire test. And it's often through the testing process, that you start to gain deeper insight of what you are looking for or perhaps more accurately NOT looking for!
For more information on appropriate personality testing have a look at our tests