Any seasoned recruiter will tell you that culture is key to the success of your new hire. It’s the DNA of your company, defining who you are, your values and how you behave.
Hiring with your culture in mind isn’t always a simple task. Sometimes, you want to ensure your new hire will seamlessly gel with your current team, but sometimes you’ll need to introduce someone who will add to your culture, challenging and pushing your team to get the best results.
If you're still not sure whether culture-add or culture-fit is right for your team, we talk you through the pros and cons of each in our blog, "Culture-add or culture-fit?"
If your company or team is new, you’ll likely want to hire someone who will dovetail into your team, maintaining harmony with a similar mindset, values and work style. In this case, you’ll want to hire for culture fit. Employees with the right ‘fit’ can become settled into your team quickly, start contributing faster, be happier, more engaged in their work.
How to hire for culture-fit
Here are five simple strategies to ensure your new hires have the personality and attitude to fit in your team:
1. Define your culture
Before starting your search, it helps to know what you’re looking for, and this involves carrying out a ‘fit exercise’. Get your team together and ask everybody to describe the company in five words. Does everyone agree? What words are common amongst everybody? Then ask everyone which people and businesses they admire and why. Doing this helps to highlight what is important to you as a team and ensures your recruitment process is built around identifying those characteristics in your candidates.
2. Communicate your values
By being clear and open about your values and culture, you’re more likely to attract the kind of people who ‘fit’. Start by creating a dedicated careers page on your website, bringing your culture and values to life through words, images, employee interviews etc. Then ensure these messages are replicated in all your job specifications and recruitment adverts, before reinforcing them again at interview stage and incorporating them into your interview questions. By the end of the process, candidates should have a crystal-clear idea of what it’s like to work with you, and what you stand for as a business.
3. Candidate socials
Always try to invite each of your final shortlist to a social situation with your whole team before making a final decision, whether that’s after-work drinks, a team lunch or team-building day. This will enable you to see how they behave when they’re more relaxed, check for any red flags, and gather feedback from the whole team on how well they gel with everybody. From the candidate’s perspective, it will also help them to decide if you’re the right company for them.
4. Culture-fit reference checks
The value of referencing goes much deeper than just checking qualifications, experience or career history. Gathering detailed feedback from previous employers gives you an unrivalled insight into how a candidate performed in their past roles, any development issues, as well as how they work and the kind of environment in which they thrive. Develop a set of referencing questions that specifically ask about the cultural factors that are most important to you. Or better still, use Zinc’s cultural referencing tools, which will manage the whole process for you. Why not visit Janice, our culture-fit reference question generator, to create some bespoke culture-focused reference questions.
Recruiting for culture-fit shouldn’t stop once you’ve chosen a candidate. Make it as easy as possible for that person to settle in and succeed in your team, both in the run up to their start date and once they’ve joined. That could mean sending them a welcome pack a week before they start, or inviting them to your upcoming team socials so they start getting to know everybody better. Then, on day one, spend time inducting them further about the culture, values and how you work, so they’re totally immersed from the word ‘go’. It might sound like overkill, but when it comes to communicating this kind of information, the more the better, and your new hire will appreciate the support in helping them to feel at home.
Building a successful business can be a rollercoaster ride, and in the initial stages of your company or any new endeavour, you need teams that will stick together through thick and thin. If you’ve got the right people, everything becomes a thousand times easier, and recruiting for culture-fit could be your key to finding them.
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