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Cultural Fit: The Perfect Hiring Strategy for the 21st Century

Barbara Steckly

Barbara Steckly

Hiring for Cultural Fit

With the reopening of businesses, many companies are going to be looking at who to hire back or replacement staff for those who have left.  Now more than ever hiring people who fit with your company culture and the safety measures that you have in place is of vital importance.  46% of new hires fail within their first 18 months of employment. And shockingly, only 11% of that was from a lack of skill; for 89% of these new hires, what doomed them was their attitudinal deficits.

When employers hire new staff, they mostly focus on ticking the boxes. But as you can see from the above statistics, perhaps heavily focusing on skill sets is the wrong way to go about for your hiring strategy.

Instead, look first at cultural fit, then educate to meet your needs. When you hire the right people who fit within your company culture, teaching them to do the desired tasks should be much easier than vice versa.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of hiring for cultural fit and how you can educate your employees and invest in them.

Hiring for Cultural Fit

Your workplace isn’t just an office. Considering most people work 40 hours a week in the same setting, employees are sometimes around each other more than they are with their own families. As a result, you shouldn’t be too surprised when your employees treat one another like a second family.

But that’s the best-case scenario. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ll hire employees who all get along with one another, have the same work ethics and values, and motivate each other to be as productive as they can be.

On the other hand, you could end up with a disaster in the worst-case scenario. You might’ve hired brilliant individuals for their specific roles, but they all clash heads. What’s the use of having talented employees when they bicker all the time and both morale and productivity are at all-time lows?

As you can see, the success of your company starts with the hiring process. When you have good recruitment, then you’ll develop good people.

Below, we’ll outline how to change your hiring strategy so you can hire for cultural fit.

Look at Your Best Employees First

Your top employees are at the top for a reason. Not only are they good at doing their jobs, but they have a great attitude as well.

When you look at all your best employees, what are their personalities like? They’re probably team players who are always willing to help others whenever they need it. However, they know their boundaries and don’t take on the workload of others either.

Look at the worst employees and figure out which traits you don’t want to hire for. This can help shape your list of yeses and nos for hiring. Think of it as if you were creating a buyer persona, except it’s a candidate persona instead.

Determine the Pace and Atmosphere of Your Company

Your company culture will differ from your competition, even if you’re in the same industry and provide the exact, same services or products. So a candidate may be perfect for one company while they’d be terrible for another.

Each business sets its own pace and atmosphere for work. For instance, is everything laid back and casual, or is it all hustle and bustle?

What are your company’s core values? Do you value integrity and honesty above all else, or do you value diligence instead?

The answer to these questions goes hand-in-hand with the traits you want to hire for. Again, your workers will treat one another like a second family, so you want to make sure they’re compatible; otherwise, the business can fall apart in an instant when people are constantly butting heads.

Determining your company culture in concrete details creates a clear line of communication between you, your current employees, and future ones. We strongly suggest you create a page on your business’s website dedicated specifically to your company culture. That way, you’ll only attract candidates who feel they can fit into your corporate family.

Talk About Company Culture in Your Job Listings

Of course, you’ll want to list the skills needed for the job. But you’ll also want to inform the candidates about your company culture so they can get an idea of what the atmosphere is like in your office.

Not only that, but you’ll also want to describe the dynamic for the specific team they’re applying for. For instance, your sales team may be more laid back, while the marketing team is the one that always stays late. So if you only describe the overall company culture, this may not paint a complete picture for candidates.

Being transparent about your company culture means those who aren’t a good fit will automatically stay away.

Ask Meaningful Interview Questions

In addition to the interview questions that determine whether or not candidates have the skill sets you desire, you should also think of behavioral questions to ask. You want to see how candidates would deal in high-pressure situations, as well as in everyday work life. You want to ensure they’ll fit your "family."

Also, you’ll want to inquire about their personality type. For example, you’ll want to know what type of work schedule they prefer and how they interact with co-workers. Are they the type to make              co-workers into friends outside of the workplace, or do they have a boundary of leaving work where it is?

Are they someone who values humor, or are they pretty straight-edged? Do they thrive in team settings or in solo work? And what type of boss do they enjoy working under?

These types of questions can give you great insight into how potential candidates will fit into your company.

Be Transparent in Your Interviews

You won’t be the only one asking tough questions. Some candidates may turn the tables on you and make some uncomfortable inquiries, such as what the worst work conflicts were or why the other employees quit.

You may be tempted to sugarcoat things or even leave out key details. While this may work and the candidate may initially accept your job offer, it’ll only backfire in the long run. They’ll soon find out the answers to their questions and they’ll see they’re not a good fit, which won’t help your retention rates.

So make sure you’re honest and upfront about the negatives of your workplace. But always follow up with the positives so it doesn’t leave too much of a bad taste in their mouths. You can even feel free to joke about these situations to ensure they’re not too serious.

Do a Test-Run Before Hiring

A great way to see if a candidate fits into your company culture is to do a test-run! After the initial interview, if you feel like they’d be a good fit, hold a second interview, but this time, with the team they’ll be working with.

They should sit down for some coffee in a meeting room, in an informal setting. Or invite them to come and have lunch together someday. This is beneficial for everyone involved because the candidate gets to see a typical workday and how employees with one another, and the team gets to ask talk and questions to see if the candidate meshes well with them.

Often, this second "interview" can give your company a better look into candidates, which can save you from hiring the wrong person for the job. Even if they don’t tick every single box, a candidate can be a far better choice than one who does, as they’ll be more willing to stay and learn.

Educate to Meet Your Needs

You may think it makes no sense to hire someone who’s lacking skills but fits the company culture. Surely you want someone who has the skillsets you want?

But in fact, it’s this very mindset that causes businesses to have poor retention rates. If your employees aren’t happy at work, it doesn’t matter how much money you offer them and how well-suited they are for the job. Chances are, they’re going to quit, and you’re going to have to go through the entire hiring process again.

What businesses need to do is rethink their hiring strategy. Here are all the reasons why hiring for company culture and educating to meet your needs make more sense for your company.

It Puts More Money in Your Pockets

On average, it costs $4,000 and 52 days for a business to fill an open position. And that’s just to fill the job opening! Once you’ve hired a candidate, then you need to onboard and train them.

That’s a lot of time and money spent on one employee, and that all goes down the drain when they quit within 12 months. When you have to repeatedly fill a position year after year, it can really affect your business finances.

When you take the time to hire for cultural fit, you can avoid this scenario.

Many companies don’t realize the costs of poor employee retention because they’re a bit intangible. But when you total up the money and time spent to advertise, interview, and train candidates, you’ll realize that your business takes a huge hit whenever someone quits. Not to mention, your other employees’ morale is affected each time someone walks out the door.

When you can stop the revolving door of employees from turning, this will stop money from flying out of your pockets.

You Can Invest More in Education

You’ve changed your hiring strategy, and now, employee retention is significantly rising. As a result, you have more money to allocate in your budget.

With all this extra money, you can now focus on providing proper education for your employees. For example, did you hire someone for a role that requires Excel, but they aren’t too familiar with the program? Then invest in some Microsoft Office classes for this employee.

Not only can this ensure your workers are properly trained for the job, but it can also help them grow in their roles. When employees feel like they’re actually accomplishing something and not just going to work for the daily grind, it can improve their morale and encourage them to be more productive.

The money you spend on training will be minuscule and insignificant when compared to the money you spend on rehiring. For this reason, it makes a lot more sense to have an emphasis on hiring for cultural fit rather than skillset fit.

Employees Stay With Companies That Invest in Them

94% of employees said they’d stay with a company longer if they invested in helping them learn. This statistic alone should be enough to convince you of the importance of education.

Of course, you should only pick employees who are actually invested in expanding their education. There’s no reason in offering something to people who don’t have an interest, after all.

Tweak Your Hiring Strategy for Better Success

After reading this article, perhaps you’ve realized that it’s time to tweak your hiring strategy for better success. As you can see, people who have the perfect skillsets may be a dime a dozen, while people who truly fit within your company culture are rarer.

Because of this, you need to hire for cultural fit rather than skillset fit. By doing so, not only will you facilitate a better workplace for everyone, but also, you’ll be better able to retain your existing employees. As a result, this can help your business save a significant amount of money in the long run and your employees will be happier and more motivated to help you achieve your goals.

Have you hired new staff members who need to learn how to do professional bookkeeping? Then get in touch with us today. We’ll help get them up to speed in no time.

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