As a human resources professional, one of your most important jobs is screening prospective employees to determine if their skills and personality will mesh with your company’s corporate culture.
But that can be hard to do. Sometimes the applicant whose resume appears perfect on paper doesn’t measure up to his or her written word. Another job seeker may come across as gregarious, friendly and knowledgeable during a face-to-face interview, but may not “fit in” with his colleagues after being hired. And there’s nothing worse than realizing 90 days after a new hire comes aboard that made a mistake.
Human resources managers know that in today’s modern culture, people spend about a third of their lives at work. We move around from job to job. Some folks are looking for more money while for others being happy and fulfilled at work means more than a bigger paycheck. We also have different ideas of what makes for perfect work-life balance.
That’s where cultural fit comes in. In his book, “The Psychology of Behaviour at Work,” psychologist Adrian Furnham defines cultural fit as “where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organization and those of the person.”
Putting a candidate to work whose values intersect with your company’s makes sense on several levels. Happy employees deliver a better work product and customer service to your clients, so when evaluating their performance later, you will get much better results. There’s also less turnover and a better sense of team and mission when cultural fit happens in the workplace.
Hiring for cultural fit sounds easy, right? Wrong. There is no single test or question you can ask to determine if a prospective employee will be a good fit for your company. But, as a human resources professional, you do have several different processes you can use to check to see if a candidate’s skills and personality will fit in
with your company’s unique culture and working environment.
Be specific when putting together your job descriptions. Detail the qualifications and experience you are looking for, but don’t be afraid to look outside your particular industry for candidate’s who are a good fit. While hiring employees who have worked for your competitors may seem like a good idea, keep in mind that they will need
some time to unlearn their former company’s culture and learn yours. Use video to tell your story’s company. After all, prospective candidate’s are interviewing your company during the hiring process as well.
During the formal interview process, get creative with your questions. We have all been out on first dates, and an interview is like one of those. Think about and ask the candidate questions that you wish someone would ask you if they wanted to know you better.
Many companies today are providing information about their culture on their job postings and websites. That allows candidates to determine for themselves if they want to work for you before they even begin the formal hiring and interview process. Don’t forget to tap the talent you already have. A current staff member may have a
friend or be connected to someone via social networking who may be exactly what you’re looking for in a new employee. Reach out to them.. It won’t cost your company a dime, either.
When good cultural fit happens, both the employee and employer are happy. Employees who understand their importance to their organization and feel valued and respected have great job satisfaction and are more likely to remain loyal to their company, according to a 2005 study by Kristol Brown.
There’s another reason to value cultural fit. A number of international studies over the past several years have shown that when people are happy at work, they are less likely to be depressed and anxious, which could help you live longer.
About the Contributing Author
Wes Houston, Director of Sales and Operations – Grapevine Evaluation