How to Recruit for Cultural Fit

It’s generally accepted that organisations need to hire employees who, in addition to meeting the technical requirements for the job, naturally have the right qualities that “fit” with the overall organisation or team.

It’s not what you know, but howyou fit in the culture that results in improved performance. While technical skills generally can be taught, cultural and motivational fit involve innate characteristics that can be difficult to develop.

1. Identify your culture and the behaviors needed to support it

That means identifying your organisational values, norms and beliefs and how employees should act when they are behaving in accordance with that culture. It’s important because, while organizations often tend to describe their cultures using the same words, the definitions in the context of the organization often differ dramatically, as do the behaviours required to support those values.

For example, organisations that value being customer focused may be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure customers come first. They would endorse people willing, say, to sacrifice margins or bend the rules to accomplish what they see as top level customer service. Other companies, however, might have a quite different interpretation customer service and want more conservative individuals interested in balancing the needs of customers and the business.

It was also noted that one should be aware that in some organisations the value system was out of alignment resulting in subcultures forming in different parts or divisions. The result being behavioural norms in one part of the organization being quite different to another part.

2. Decide whether you want the status quo or you need to change the culture

In some cases you might have to change the culture to move your organization forward. While in the past, you might have valued a cautious approach to new ideas, for example, your current environment might require more rapid change. In that case, you’ll probably have to look for an entirely different set of behaviors from those required to maintain the status quo. HR professionals will then assist in the providing the assessments you use in hiring will to reflect those new needs.

In the case where the culture needs to brought forward through change, you should add another element to the assessment: tools that pinpoint whether the applicants have what it takes to be change agents. That’s because, in addition to demonstrating the right behaviors, your new hires will need the resilience to withstand the pressures of being the harbinger of a new culture, the ability to lead the way even in the face of resentment.

3. Partner with human resources or RFC Executive to assess for the right cultural fit

Once you’ve isolated the important behaviours you need to support your culture, you can share that information with your HR professionals. Using a wide variety of tools HR or RFC Executive can design an effective assessment that gives applicants the opportunity to demonstrate whether or not they’re a good fit.

4. Share with your new hires what you learned about them through the assessment process

Since a thorough assessment process will identify not only cultural fit, but areas of strength and weakness. Sharing this feedback with your new hire should lead to accelerated development of the new person and so improved performance in a shorter time-frame.

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