TwoGreySuits TIP: Understand from an interview what types of company cultures the person has worked in and what they value in a company culture going forward. The old adage ‘hired for skills and fired for fit’ is still alive and well in many companies today. It is easier to assess technical job skills than if a person will fit in the company culture. Many interviewers don’t pay any attention at all to the ‘fit’ part of the hiring equation. Let me explain – it is very important to get to know a candidate from a personality perspective, in addition to assessing their skills set for the job. So, how do we measure a personality? First you must know what values the company has and how work is achieved in the company. As an example, some company cultures support people asking many questions, where others see this as wasteful time and would question the asking person from a competence viewpoint. In other words, “don’t bring your ideas from your previous employer to the table, do it our way and our way only”. Other companies value people asking questions even more than people giving answers. So, if your candidate is a naturally inquisitive person as a means of learning, they may not fit well into a culture where processes are rigid and strictly adhered to. We should ask candidates to explain the culture of previous employers, what they liked/didn’t like. This can be very revealing. My suggestion would be to talk very openly about the company culture. When you hire someone who does not fit well with the culture, it is obvious to everyone and can cause considerable harm to the department or the company. “Fit” is all about how a person behaves, converses and works in the company, fit is also about their level of commitment and engagement. I have heard numerous times the reason for an employment termination is “the person doesn’t fit, they don’t think or behave like we do; their personal values are not aligned with those of the company.”
PAST BEHAVIOR IS THE BEST PREDICTOR OF FUTURE BEHAVIOR – this is the premise of behavior interviewing. Behavioral interviewing is all about knowing first what soft skill competencies you are looking for and then designing and asking interview questions of previous situations where the candidate exhibited this behavior you are looking for. The recruitment section of the TwoGreySuits website explains all this in great detail. Here are some other thought provoking ‘culture’ or ‘fit’ questions to consider asking in the interview.
1. Describe the ideal culture where you can be most productive. (the answer will allow you to assess if they would be a match for the company culture) 2. If I were to call your co-workers, what would they tell me about you? (the answer here will help to understand how they work with others) 3. What do you think our customers want the most from our company? (the answer here will help you to see if they understand the business or have taken the time to do their own research) 4. Rank the following in order of importance to you when seeking a job: company culture, money, advancement opportunities, recognition, and challenge. (this will tell you a bit about their own personal values) ie) if money is at the top of the list, are there incentive programs in place, does the company have a pay structure or philosophy, is the business such that a person can earn bonuses or commission linked to effort? 5. What top 3 things motivate you? (the answers here will help determine the candidate’s working style, for example again if money is mentioned, is the environment such that people are paid high compared to competitors? Is it a culture where love of the job should be more important than the money?)
Probably the very best way to assess fit is to have a potential employee spend a full day with a person who is doing the job, before any offer is made. (and you would prepare that person with a list of things to ask and also look for) A person can be quite convincing in an interview setting, but on the job for 8 hours is altogether different and you should be able to see in some detail who the real person is.