How to Ensure You’re Hiring for Culture-Fit
Finding the right candidate who fits your team and company culture can be a challenge. We’ve gathered 11 expert insights from CEOs, founders, and HR professionals to help you make the best hiring decisions. From conducting team interviews to applying behavioral interviewing techniques, discover their tried-and-true formulas for successful hiring.
- Have a Team Interview Stage
- Uncover Values Through Casual Conversations
- Hire for Value Alignment and Cultural Add
- Look for Diverse Perspectives
- Define Your Culture First
- Look Beyond Their Resume and Qualifications
- Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
- Implement Paid Job Shadowing
- Survey Your Team Before Launching Your Search
- Employ a Brief Probationary Period
- Apply Behavioral Interviewing Techniques
Have a Team Interview Stage
I work as a freelance in-house recruiter, and the companies that have a team interview stage usually hire the best candidates for their company.
The reason for this is that during team interviews, you have people from across the company who aren’t decision-makers and who are likely to work more closely with the candidate, assessing them on a personality and team fit basis rather than a skill basis.
These interviews are usually very informal and a great way to see how well a candidate would gel with the wider team.
Uncover Values Through Casual Conversations
My formula includes subtly finding out their thought processes and values beyond their skills and education. People can have the right skills and education but not fit our culture or ideals.
You do this in several ways, but it involves talking to them rather than interviewing them. I ask them what they do on weekends, about their family, if they volunteer anywhere, and ask them to name a couple of things that are important to them.
These are open-ended casual questions that I work on either before the interview or in the early stages of it before we get down to the seriousness of the interview. I keep this non-threatening and non-judgmental. I want them to feel comfortable with their answers, but these answers usually tell me all I need to know about whether they would be a good fit for our culture.
Hire for Value Alignment and Cultural Add
Hire candidates for value alignment and cultural add, not for a cultural fit. If you hire only candidates that fit the current mold, you are missing out on amazing talent that can help broaden the expertise and lived experience of your teams.
Aligning your hiring team with these two principles can go a long way to ensuring candidates bring new skills and experiences to the organization, which helps with continuous innovation and creative problem-solving.
Look for Diverse Perspectives
Prioritize diversity and actively seek candidates from diverse backgrounds to ensure a range of perspectives and ideas on your team. Create clear and consistent interview processes that assess for both values alignment and diverse perspectives.
Ensuring a team and company culture fit with candidates can be tricky, but the key is to look beyond just skills and experience and assess whether the candidate’s values align with your company’s mission and culture.
Involve the entire team in the hiring process to ensure everyone has a say in the decision-making and feels committed to the new hire’s success.
Define Your Culture First
To ensure that you are hiring candidates who fit your team and company culture, it is important to first define what exactly makes up your company culture. Your company’s values, mission, and goals are all part of what makes your culture unique. Once the culture is properly defined, you can evaluate candidates on how well they align with those values. By using a consistent set of questions and criteria, you can ensure that the hiring process is fair and objective.
Involving team members in the process can also help you ensure new hires will fit in well with the existing team. Encourage team members to provide input on the hiring criteria and take part in the interviews.
This can help identify candidates who will work well with the team and contribute to a positive work environment. By involving team members, you can also promote a sense of ownership and commitment to the hiring decision, which can increase buy-in and support for new hires.
Look Beyond Their Resume and Qualifications
When evaluating candidates for cultural fit, it is important to look beyond their resume and qualifications. While skills and experience are important, they are not the only factors that determine whether a candidate will fit in with your team and company culture.
Look for candidates who share your company’s vision and show a willingness to learn and grow with the organization. It is also important to be transparent about your company culture and what you are looking for in a candidate. This can help to attract candidates who are a good fit for your organization and weed out those who are not.
Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
When hiring new candidates, it’s important to focus on their personality and values, rather than solely on their skill set. While experience and qualifications are important, they can be taught and developed over time.
Attitude is harder to change. Prioritize candidates who have a positive attitude, and strong work ethic, and share similar values with your company. Cultural fit is crucial for a successful team and business, so ensure that you clearly understand your company culture before beginning the hiring process.
By hiring for attitude and training for skill, you will build a team with a firm foundation of work ethic and core values that align with your company culture, leading to a successful and cohesive team dynamic.
Implement Paid Job Shadowing
We started a new policy when hiring anyone. We will do a paid 1-2 days onsite job shadowing. This is a significant benefit for both us hiring someone and the potential employee.
Everyone can fake their skills or personalities in a quick interview, but it’s hard to do for an 8-hour shift. The potential employee also gets to see exactly what the job entails and that we aren’t embellishing or over-promoting the role.
Having a job shadow gives us an excellent opportunity to make sure the candidate will have the correct skill set and be a good fit for our team and company culture.
Survey Your Team Before Launching Your Search
Cultural fit is an increasingly considered metric when hiring, but companies often struggle with nailing the concept down. Unlike education or experience, it’s hard to quantify exactly what makes one worker more appropriate than another. My top tip? Consider surveying your team before launching your search.
Too many companies leave the job description up to the hiring manager, who will probably not work with the employee long-term. Instead, they should go to the team that will work closely with the new hire, and poll them on what they’re looking for.
Co-workers have great insights into what makes a teammate easy or difficult to work with. Taking their preferences into account in the early stages can eliminate costly mis-hires.
Employ a Brief Probationary Period
As a recruiter, I know the difficulty of evaluating a candidate for fit: one trick I often employ is a brief probationary period.
In the tech industry, a week or two in the office or on Zoom is becoming standard practice before offering a contract. Seeing an applicant engage with their co-workers and colleagues is eye-opening in a couple of ways.
For starters, we’re looking for someone who isn’t afraid to get involved in discussions and debates but doesn’t dominate either. Being able to match the pace of the workforce is key.
Second, trials reveal problem-solving skills in a way that hypothetical situations can’t. If rote issues seem to overwhelm them easily, they’re probably not right for the role, and will unfairly burden existing workers.
Apply Behavioral Interviewing Techniques
Behavioral interviewing techniques help you choose the right candidate if you’re looking to hire a new employee. Behavioral interviewing involves asking candidates open-ended questions that prompt them to describe how they’ve handled specific work situations. This technique can help you assess a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and overall fit for the role.
By using behavioral interviewing, you can create a structured interview process, minimize bias in the selection process, and identify candidates with the experience and skills to succeed in the position. In short, behavioral interviewing can be an effective tool for selecting the best candidate for your organization.
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