Some studies have shown that a positive corporate culture is essential for having an engaged team. Even more important, culture combined with team engagement has proven to improve outcomes including financial performance. Culture influences every area of the organization. It affects the public and customer perception, but it also affects the way people do their jobs and their connection to the mission and values of the organization. In short, an organization’s culture is seen in actions and behaviors which model the values it lives by.
Your hiring process must support your culture. One organization states is this way in one of their cultural pillars. “We very carefully guard who gets to be an associate in our organization.” This organization looks at values, attitudes, and behaviors in making staff selections in addition to those skills needed to perform the job.
Unfortunately, we find that managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history. That alone will not predict whether the job candidate is a culture fit. This dilemma is best illustrated by the KASH Box listed below.
On one side we look for specific skills and knowledge. This is certainly important in finding a qualified candidate. But statistics seem to show that most terminations occur on the other side which involves attitudes and behaviors. In many cases the person who failed did not share the values of the organization and did not embody the corporate culture.
You will do well to have a well-executed hiring process that balances skills and behaviors. The result will be qualified people who fit your culture. Here are some suggested steps in developing and executing your plan.
1. Have a clear job description written before you begin. The job description should include job duties as well as requirements for the job. If you have never written a job description you should read a book on the topic or engage the services of a professional.
2. Ask open ended questions. The candidate should be doing most of the talking, not you.
3. Ask behavior-based questions. Behavioral based questions help you discover how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. A person’s behaviors are based on past and finding out how the applicant behaved in the past will predict how the new hire will behave at your company. Past performance predicts future performance. One example of a behavior-based question would be, “Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.”
4. Use assessment tools when possible. Psychometric assessment tools provide objective and standardized measures of a person’s personality. Using assessment tools along with behavior-based interviewing is a cost-effective method of predicting how a person is likely to perform and it will provide a window into how he will fit in your organization.
Using predictive tools rather than time worn closed ended questions will help you make the correct hiring decisions the first time. It will also help you increase staff engagement. You will maintain your corporate culture by hiring someone with shared values. The stakes are high but attainable.
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