When you’re about to hire a new employee for your startup or your small business, your top priority is to track down candidates that combine the required hard skills and extensive prior experience, right? And in doing so, you’re aiming to further grow and make your team more robust; at least, in terms of expertise. But, what about the consistency of your team? Undeniably, evaluating personality and character is equally important for a successful hire. And that’s because investing in people that share the same values as your organization comes with a long list of benefits. So, the question worth answering is: how can you recruit people for cultural fit?
And that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing below. We’ll go through some steps you can take as a non-HR person, to get closer to hires that help you forge a strong, consistent and successful company culture.
Steps to take, to recruit people for cultural fit
Your effort to recruit people for cultural fit should start long before you begin your screening process. That is to say, interviews and the selection process are only a part of the things you’ll need to do to reach your goal. Here’s an overview of the steps you’ll have to follow to make sure your hires are aligned to your culture:
1. Set the ground for hires based on cultural fit: find your company’s Identity
It may sound a bit self-evident — or even foolproof — that you already are in the know, but it’s not. There are many companies that don’t really have a good understanding of their own cultural identity. They usually know it, too! If you’re one of them, try to define — or frame — your organization’s culture. How? Well, you need to decide on which values, goals and practices (or mission) are the ones that best describe your company. And the way to achieve that is either with the help of an external consultant, if that’s possible, or by conducting internal one-to-one and collective discussions with your team members.
Once you do so, you’ll be ready to infuse that understanding in your company’s brand personality, starting from your internal documentation; and, of course, your website content. In the same fashion you’ll need to incorporate that output in the hiring process you’ll follow, from now on.
2. Follow a hiring process pertinent to your goals
Now, let’s focus on the meat of our topic. How can you recruit people for cultural fit? Well, first of all you need to take good care of the job posting, itself. How do the values you previously identified as your company culture translate into the role you’re hiring a new person for? That’s what you need to answer first. To further explain, you need to make sure that the values, the practices and the clues that shape your company’s work culture match the personality of the new person you will finally be accepting into your team.
Ask the right questions, to bring out cultural traits
To achieve that, you’ll need to evaluate each candidate’s work ethic and behavioral style. One way to accomplish that is by asking the right questions during interviews. And, by right questions, we mean focusing on behavioral aspects that will help reveal the candidate’s “real” character. More specifically, you’ll need to focus on questions that won’t make it easy for them to give you canned answers. You could focus on questions that require them to share past experiences from previous work environments with you.
In the same fashion, you could focus on questions that require them to prioritize values important for them, in order to thrive; and, thus, help assess their values against your already consolidated cultural identity.
Make the most out of available assessment tools
As expected, the approach aforementioned may be a bit challenging for a non-HR person with no previous experience in recruiting. One way to surpass that difficulty is to make the most out of available assessment tools. More specifically, you can assess candidates for cultural fit, by asking them to take a ready-made personality test, made for this exact use. This way, you’ll be able to make well-informed decisions; and hire people that are more likely to be aligned with your company’s culture.
3. Do not underestimate the onboarding process
Recruiting the right people is not completed at the moment when they sign their labor contract. Yes, one of the benefits you reap when you recruit people for cultural fit is that they are more likely to stay longer in your company. But, the truth is, in order to achieve that you need to establish a solid induction process; one that incorporates cultural induction, as well. One way to make sure that this will be successful is to seat your new employees alongside experienced team members; and, also, have one-to-one meetings with them, right from the first month, to discuss any issues that may arise.
Recruiting for cultural fit; not that hard, after all
As a non-HR expert, when you’re trying to recruit people for cultural fit, you’ll need to spare no effort to hire people that share the same values with your team. With this intention in mind, you’ll need to first make sure you have a solid understanding of your cultural identity. Then, you’ll be able to communicate it effectively throughout the hiring process; starting from your website and the job posting, itself. And, equally importantly, you’ll need to filter candidates simply by asking the right questions; the ones that will help reveal their true values. If you’re not quite sure how to deal with personality evaluation, you can make use of a personality assessment tool made for that purpose.