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How do you know you’re getting the right culture fit?

It takes just one Employee to unsettle a team. A disgruntled colleague can undermine morale, compromise the quality of your service delivery and even lead to a decrease in productivity. Therefore, when it comes to hiring, it’s important to bear cultural fit in mind alongside a person’s skills and experience. What makes this especially difficult is that, sometimes, Candidates aren’t to blame for a bad match. All workplaces are different, some are sales orientated, others are collaborative or corporate. While it’s possible to train someone on the job, hiring applicants who are unsuitable to your unique work culture may be trickier to manage.

Outline your values from the start 

A survey of over 1,000 professionals and hiring managers in the UK found that 82 per cent have worked for an organisation where they disliked the company culture. To avoid a situation where people leave due to low job satisfaction, you need to make it clear what you stand for. If you’re not sure where to start, why not work with current staff to determine this? Think about what you want to achieve, why you want to do this, and create a plan of how you aim to get there. Realise that the values you outline will inform the types of Candidates you attract – so be creative. A good vision and values statement will not only recognise current successes and limitations, it will look to the future, stating the type of organisation you’ll grow to become.  

Include your values within the job description

Of course, it’s important to share your values as a company – to make sure every Employee knows what you stand for. But, for Candidates, this should be obvious within the job description. As well as the types of skills needed, you should describe the types of traits you’re looking for and plan how you’re going to measure this within the interview process. Is it particularly important to have someone who is interested in giving back through a work volunteering scheme or can hold their own within a competitive environment? Whatever your particular needs, you will attract the right people if you outline these at the start.  

Ask the right questions in interview

One of the simplest questions you can ask in order to gauge cultural fit is ‘why do you want to work here?’ A Candidate’s answer to this will give plenty of information, from the things that motivate them to how they view you as a company. Watch out for those who have the wrong perceptions. For example, an applicant who prefers to be office based won’t enjoy a job where they have to travel to visit clients. Why not ask Candidates what they think it’s like to work for you, what type of office they’re looking for, and how they deal with situations where they don’t see eye to eye with colleagues? Consider taking people on a tour of your office, so that they have the opportunity to meet staff and get a feel for the type of organisation you are.  

Be aware of diversity

One of the biggest criticisms of hiring for cultural fit is that this could lead to a recruitment process where you look for people who are similar to your existing team. However, this isn’t what you should be aiming for. Companies with diverse teams have been found to have 19 per cent higher revenues, because they encourage people to think differently. Cultural fit is a person’s ability to take on your core beliefs and values, regardless of their background. In recruitment, you’ll find that people have a surprising capacity to turn first perceptions on their head. This story of a programmer who became vice president is just one example. Keep an open mind and you won’t go far wrong.  

Follow through during onboarding

You may have chosen your top Candidate, but the job isn’t finished yet. A survey of 4,000 Employees found that a third of these had experienced a poor onboarding process, and for some it was so bad that they changed their mind about the role. While it’s important to give a good first impression in interview, you should also demonstrate that you’re committed to the values you’ve outlined by giving new starters get the right guidance. A Candidate who has decided to join you based on your mission statement will want to see evidence of this from management and the senior leadership team. For this reason, it’s important to be open and transparent with applicants. If there are things that you’re still working on, don’t be afraid to explain this, or even invite people to join you in making your goals a reality.  

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital. 

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Allen Associates

Allen Associates

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