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Hiring for Values & Culture Fit
By: Leah Fochuk, MBA, CPHR, Salopek & Associates Ltd.
A company is only as good as it’s employees. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you hire great people. Goes without saying, right? Of course you want to hire people who are qualified to do the job, but more importantly, you want to hire employees whose beliefs and behaviours are aligned with the company’s core values and culture. Organizations are realizing how important “fit” is to the long-term success of the company. A current best practice is to “hire for fit, train for skill”.
When an employee’s values are in harmony with that of the organization, they tend to be more motivated in their jobs, perform better, stay longer, create deeper more meaningful relationships within the organization and/or team, are happier and more satisfied with their job overall.
As reported in the Fall 2017 Alberta HR Trends Report, 33% of organizations expect their workforce to grow in the next 6 months, which is the highest level of expected increase in two and a half years. With organizations gearing up to grow their workforce, it is more important than ever to ensure your organization has defined what the “right fit” is and has effective processes and policies in place to successfully build your team for today and the long term.
Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your recruitment process to ensure you are hiring for fit.
Identify Core Values
First and foremost, you need to identify what your organization’s core values are, and how that translates to the role that you are hiring for.
When you are hiring for a new position, identify 3 or 4 critical behaviours or characteristics the candidate must have in order to be truly successful in the organization. Everyone involved in the recruitment process for that particular role needs to be on the same page about this.
And when I talk about values, I don’t mean that every person needs to look and act exactly the same – not at all. Having a shared set of values ensures the candidate shares a common sense of purpose. When employees see the purpose as challenging and meaningful, work becomes more than a job—they feel that it makes a difference in people’s lives.
Once you feel the candidate is fit from a values perspective, you can evaluate them from a culture perspective and see how well they will fit into your day-to-day working culture and team dynamics.
You want to ensure your recruitment materials reflect your values and culture. For instance, it’s extremely likely potential applicants will check out your company website, so dedicate some space to feature your value statements. Additionally, use social media to showcase the company culture and give potential employees a glimpse into what it would be like to work for you. For example, if you have an Instagram-worthy office space, post pictures of it; or tweet about your team building event or stampede party. This is the stuff that candidates want to know!
Furthermore, your job ad should reflect and reference the values you want to attract to the position. The opening recruitment message is a good place to call those out and set the stage for what the organization stands for. Check out Apple’s career page for a great example of what a compelling recruitment message looks like.
Communicating the organization’s values upfront helps filter out candidates who are not a fit. Your recruitment materials are a valuable resource for sharing this information.
Once you’ve begun the screening process, there is ample opportunity to evaluate candidates for fit. The telephone screen is your first opportunity to jump right in and ask value-based questions, and dive deeper into aspects of your culture that require a match. Ask questions like:
- Why are you interested in this position and/or working for the company?
- Have you read our values? Which one resonated with you the most?
- Describe the work environment and culture in which you are the most productive and happy.
- Tell me about a time when you worked with/for an organization where you felt you were not a strong culture fit. Why was it a bad fit?
During the face-to-face interview, be sure to talk about the culture and values. Any aspects of the culture that you feel a strong match would be important should be communicated. For example, if you have an open work environment or a particularly noisy one, you’d want to understand if the candidate is able to function productively in that type of space, otherwise, they may not be a fit. Or if the role requires a lot of collaboration and teamwork, and the candidate indicates they prefer to work on their own, again, they may not be a fit. These are things you definitely want to figure out before a candidate is hired, otherwise they may not last long and it’s back to the drawing board.
I would also encourage you to give the candidate a tour of the office and introduce them to some of the key team members, either before or after the interview. Let them get a sense of the organization, the environment and where the real work happens. I was once asked to sit in on a team meeting that was scheduled right after my interview. I was able to hear first hand about some of the projects and work that I would be involved in, and meet people I would be working next to everyday. It actually made me realize that job wasn’t a fit for me.
Another option is to conduct a “fit” interview with the candidate and potential team members and colleagues the candidate would be working closely with. This gives the candidate an opportunity to ask questions about the challenges, opportunities, and culture; and to get a more realistic understanding of the world they’d be working in. The team also gets a chance to evaluate whether they think the person would mesh well with their group.
There are many ways to evaluate a candidate based on fit but communicating the organization’s core values and culture upfront and through every stage of the recruitment process helps to filter out candidates who are not a fit, and ensures you are attracting the right people to the organization.
Alberta HR Trends Report Fall 2017 – 6 Month Outlook – CPHR Alberta
Written by Leah Fochuk, Senior Consultant with Salopek & Associates Ltd.
SALOPEK & ASSOCIATES LTD.
Salopek & Associates Ltd. is a team of human resource and business consultants specializing in strategy, human resources and board governance. Serving clients across Canada, with Associates in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Ottawa and Toronto, we are available on an on-call basis to help you attract, retain and develop the right people and to put effective processes in place that will grow your business.