Hiring the Right Culture Fit

There’s more to hiring the right people than most understand. I’ll never forget as a young manager working for a Fortune 500 in Los Angeles at the time, my manager told me “the people make the difference.” Unless you have an owner dependent business with no employees, not only do they make the difference, your people (human capital) ARE YOUR BUSINESS! With this said, I can’t think of a more important step in business than finding, hiring, and retaining the “right” talent and putting these individuals in the right roles. People that fit into your culture and that have the right attitude and raw talent. Experience can help and skill sets can be developed but never underestimate culture fit. Most individuals analyze resumes filled with “fluff” and hire for skills and experience and don’t really consider culture.

Before you make the important human capital investment in hiring “stakeholders,” you need to have a clear idea of what this individuals job description will be, what a fair pay structure looks like, and really understand your company’s values and business beliefs. Your interview questions will be based upon determining if they are a good culture fit or not. Your culture is based on your company values so make sure to ask open-ended questions that will determine fit.

A good Ad should bring the right people to your interview and eliminate many of the wrong fits, and thus eliminate wasting both you and the candidates time. Your ad should THOROUGHLY explain the culture of your company, the required talents for the position and the usual desired experience and skillsets.  Chuck Blakeman author of Making Money is Killing Your Business, believes the person that is most affected by the hire should do the hiring, and he tests candidates by placing in the middle of the ad for the candidate NOT to send their resumes initially but to just answer some basic culture questions as it relates to the description, and why they feel they are a good fit. Some will not see the request or not follow directions and send their resumes anyway – strike one!  What a great way to begin the elimination process.

Please be compassionate, kind, professional, respectful, and transparent with the candidate you’re interviewing, and realize that no one is really in a position of power and that your goal is to see if there is a mutual fit. If so great, if not, it’s okay and you wish nothing but the best for them in their pursuit.

Good interview questions aren’t just asking them to tell you about themselves, their strengths, weaknesses”, blah, blah, blah… Ask questions like “What did you think about our ad and what did you like about it and what didn’t resonate with you?” and “What are some of the roles and responsibilities at work that you’re passionate about and why?” “How do you think you can make a contribution to our organization?” “What kind of contribution would you like us to make to you?” “How can we help to ensure your success?” “If we asked others about you, how would they describe you?” Open-ended questions that elicit elaboration and a more meaningful response is powerful in learning where they are coming from.

Once you narrow down the candidates, it’s time to bring them in for a second interview, this time with their resume and references to review their experience and skillsets and check their references later if they make it to the next step. It is also a good time to test them. You may want to have them take a behavior assessment test like DISC, 16Personalities, Meyers Briggs etc. to analyze your candidates’ psychological preferences and to see if they can fill a void in your team based on your teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Also, you may want them to perform a test on their ability to work with MS Office, check their typing skills/speed, grammar, writing ability etc.

Then it’s time to create a spreadsheet weighted in terms of importance and score the candidates in all important areas such as culture fit, attitude, talents, skill sets, experience and whichever other skills are important for the position.

Bring the final candidates back in to meet other team members and be interviewed by them to get their feedback and remove your bias. At this stage, it’s appropriate to ask the candidate about their salary requirements and explain your entire offering and answer any questions they may have.

Then it’s time to make the offer and start the onboarding process. Make sure to have a solid employee training process in place and get regular feedback during their orientation.

Once you make the right hire, you must make sure they are in the right position. Jim Collins author of Good to Great likens business owners to bus drivers and mentions it’s our responsibility as business owners to get the right people sitting in the right seats on the bus. Disciplined people engaged in disciplined thought, taking disciplined action.

Gino Wickman author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, piggybacks on this idea and believes that your hire must get it, want it, and have the capacity to do the job. Employees must really understand the position and embrace it fully. If not, they are in the wrong position on your team and perhaps they can still be on the team but in a different position? They must be passionate about doing the job. Sometimes employees are amazing yet lose interest in the position. It’s time to put them in a different role. Then, they must have the capacity to do the job either now or relatively soon after investing in them.

Get a clear understanding of your culture, create your job description, place the ad, hire the right person, put them in the right seat, and develop them so they can sit in larger seats someday.

If you need help putting this process together and creating a powerful ad to find the talent you desire, just reach out to me.

Success in finding the right people sitting in the right seats!