Hire Like Your Shopping For A Made-To-Measure Suit

Blog located in Hiring & Employment posted on April 10, 2014

I took part in a panel on Corporate Culture and spoke about the importance of hiring based on fit over experience. The ideal candidate may turn out to be a disaster if they don’t fit into the company culture.

“Cultural fit is incredibly important in terms of a candidate’s abilities to use his skills,” says Nancy Rothbard, an Associate Professor of Management at The Wharton School. “You have a positive effect through skills, but the wrong culture completely cancels that out.”

According to Nancy Rothbard, cultural fit can cover a variety of characteristics, but ultimately, the question hiring managers should be looking to answer is: does this candidate’s values align with those of the company- be it work-life balance, corporate missions or how to handle a customer phone call.

How do you screen for something as nebulous as cultural fit though?

1.       Understand Who You Are

In my experience, the companies that are consistently successful in finding the right fit begin their recruitment efforts with a clear understanding of who they are as an organization and what they are looking for in the role.  A cultural assessment provides a detailed insight into an organization’s DNA, encompassing everything from leadership style to shared values and behavioural norms.  The rationale is simple: the more you know about your organizational culture, the easier it is to determine the suitability of a particular candidate.

2.       The Position Profile

The second component is a position profile to establish the accountabilities for the position and the competencies a candidate must possess to excel in the role.  A comprehensive position profile will help assess how a particular individual will contribute to or detract from your culture.  For example, it doesn’t matter how many great initiatives the leader creates if they have no ability to motivate staff to execute on them.

3.       Use The Right Evaluation Tools

Though an organizational cultural assessment and position profile provide a strong foundation for success, the tools you use to evaluate candidates are equally important in hiring for the right fit.  A good place to start is a traditional face-to-face interview that incorporates behavioural event questions.  These questions will reveal how an individual has historically met expectations, overcome challenges and demonstrated accountability.  This will give you some indication as to they will react to similar situations in your organization.

Assessments will provide additional insight as to how well a candidate’s personality, temperament and values match your organizational identity and position profile.

The better you understand your own organizational culture, the position profile and assess for fit during the hiring process, the greater the chances are that you’ll hire the perfect candidate- someone to excel in your organization.


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