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Robb Misso on Ways to Hire for Cultural Fit

Originally published on

A company's cultural fit is something that should be rooted in its very own startup team and expand with every new hire. A company's culture can be somewhat hard to define, but it is, nonetheless, a significant thing for employers and hiring managers to keep in mind when building their company. When a company achieves a cultural fit with its employees, the company will have a much better time working towards its broader goals and establishing its image and brand name the way that it wants to be built. Additionally, the employees will be much happier and more productive when working for a company that fits their work style and personality. For this reason, cultural fit should be a top priority for any company to look for when hiring new employees. 

  • Determine what qualities you seek in an applicant and tailor the interview process around them. What does someone need to be successful at your company? Perhaps you need someone to be flexible because your company requires them to cover breaks for other employees in different offices. Maybe you want someone who wants to grow with the company by learning new skills and helping out with various departments. Make sure to test for those in all of your interviews. Ask questions that have them talk about how they have multi-tasked or developed new skills in their previous jobs. This will make sure that you only hire those who are fit to be with your company. 
  • Ask open-ended and original questions. If you want to get a feel of how someone can think creatively and come up with new answers when on the spot, try asking them a few unusual and unexpected questions. Many job seekers are exceptionally well-prepared to answer questions such as "Where do you see yourself in five years?" and "How do you resolve conflicts with co-workers?" but these questions don't often paint the full picture of the person you are interviewing. Asking unusual questions can make them think and reveal a lot more about their personality than you would initially expect. 
  • Have them take a personality test. What better way to get a sense of someone's character than by having them complete a personality test? An effective personality test will give you an excellent idea of who the person is and how they may interact with other people. At DMS, the company utilizes the DISC Assessment; much like Myers-Briggs, these tests are very good at measuring people's cultural fit partially because they don't ask questions with obvious answers that an applicant would be willing to lie about. 
  • Prepare an interview question key. Your interviewees can answer questions however they like, but how can you know that their answers make them the best fit for the job? Try doing this: Ask some of your employees the same questions and record their answers. Determine which answers were the best and which were the worst. This will help serve as a guide when determining how effectively an employee answered a question. An interview key will help weed out the good answers from the bad ones and will ultimately help you spot top performers. 
  • See how the job seekers treat others when not being interviewed. Any person that works for your company will quite obviously have to get along with your other employees. Anyone who doesn't mesh well with potential co-workers is not fit to work at your company. How do they treat the receptionist when they walk in? How do they treat other co-workers that you introduce them to? Most people will behave politely, and anyone who doesn't is bad news. 
  • Market your company's culture. Good company culture will attract people who are interested in working for that company. If your company culture values fun and freedom, people who like fun and freedom will send in plenty of job applications. If your company culture values finding new ways to create and innovate, people who want to do those things will be attracted to your company. It's always good to ask what applicants know about the company during the interview to make sure that they're not there just because they were sending out their hundredth LinkedIn or CareerBuilder application. 

Creating cultural values within your company is incredibly important for any company that ever wishes to succeed. Any company that has not carefully thought out these things will have a hard time staying in the marketplace and competing with businesses that do have a robust set of cultural values. Regardless if your company's culture is innovative, efficient, caring, or anything else, you need to find people who not only fit the mold but do their best to enhance and reinforce your company's culture.