In a Tight Labor Market, Cultural Fit is Essential More than Ever

With the workplace continually evolving, companies should think about hiring for cultural fit as much as or even more than technical skills. Recruiting qualified candidates with the technical skills needed for a specific job is usually the easy part. The hiring managers know the skills and can tell through a compelling interview if they have the technical part of the situation. However, determining how a candidate will fit into the organization’s culture is more challenging. The fit will be missing if a candidate’s values differ from those of the company. Let’s take a look at an example.

A couple of my client’s values are enthusiasm and performance excellence. Recruiting incorporates behavioral and attitudinal questions based on our values of enthusiasm and performance. This not only allows us to capture the candidate’s personality but also places emphasis on determining if our cultural values match the candidate’s values. For example, we ask, “Describe what motivates you to do your best every day?” Recruiters listen for answers around “the challenges of my job,” “my boss appreciating our work” or “my coworkers and team.” This gives us a better understanding of what the candidate is looking for in their next career opportunity, and what the organization can offer to that candidate then we have a great potential match. Would you hire someone that answered the question: “waking up,” “gotta eat” or “money?” Yes, we have heard those answers before.

Recruiting also partners with our hiring managers discussing the value of hiring for culture. Each branch and each department has its’ own unique culture, but as mentioned above we share common values, vision, and purpose. The key is determining how the new employee would blend with the current team and match the company’s overall culture. Therefore, our team provides our hiring managers with questions based on our values, and we ask that they develop potential answers to ensure the candidates will fit into the branch/department’s culture.

On the flip side, candidates are beginning to ask a lot of detailed questions about our culture. Your careers site should include a section around company culture including quotes and pictures about employees or videos. Hiring managers should be prepared for questions about the organization’s culture. Job seekers want to find a great place to work just as much as the company wants to ensure they hire the right fit. It is up to the organization’s management to talk about it.

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Recruiting teams and hiring managers are challenged now more than ever to incorporate cultural fit into potential new hires. If the cultural match isn’t there, employees will just come to work and go through the motions. The employee will feel they are not valued as an employee, nor will they get involved with company activities that make the workplace a fun place to come to daily. Unfortunately, they will end up leaving within six months to a year.

A few other things to consider when recruiting for a cultural fit are, knowing your company and what it stands for, and incorporating those types of questions while interviewing a candidate. Determine which skills are needed and which skills are trainable. Always welcome internal referrals, because who better to know the culture than a current employee?

Remember, hiring someone with the technical skills may help fill a gap for a short-term period, but hiring someone that is a cultural fit will result in long-term success. Cultural knowledge is crucial for a business to survive, and to thrive, within today’s business environment.

Michael Goldberg, the Recruiting Concierge, leads his executive search and talent acquisition advisory services in Dallas.  With over 15 years of experience, contact Michael to see how he can help your organization.


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