Experience can be gained and skills can be taught, but culture is essential. Here are the best practices for recruiting for culture. 

Why is Hiring for Company Culture Important? 

Company culture is arguably the single most important factor for determining whether a candidate is a good match, and their longevity as an employee. We’ve written a lot about how to create and promote a good company culture, but hiring for culture is just as important. When your new hires share your company culture, you gain:

  1. Reduced turnover. Studies show that as many as 30%  of job candidates would leave a “perfect” job if the culture wasn’t a good fit. For millennials especially, culture is a key determining factor in which jobs they apply for, and which companies they remain with. 
  2. Improved performance. Repeated studies have shown that happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees. A strong culture boosts motivation, which results in improved performance. 
  3. Increased transparency and trust. A shared company culture supports honest, transparent communication between team members. This transparency ensures that information is shared more quickly and accurately, which supports not just good business decisions, but builds cooperation and trust among employees. 

While there is a lot of debate about what company culture is and how to create it, the core of a strong company culture is shared values. When employees and leaders share the same values and work toward the same goals, the other aspects of company culture will follow. 

How to Hire for Shared Values

When companies recruit and hire for values, they ensure that they are finding good matches for their corporate culture. Here are some of the best ways to make sure you are hiring candidates who share your values:

  • Incorporate values into your job listings. If your company values cooperation, transparency, and respect, make sure that these qualities are communicated in your job postings. Don’t just list your values: reflect them in the listing by communicating with clarity and respect. 
  • Provide tangible examples. At too many companies, corporate culture is simply a set of slogans that leaders quote and repeat. Culture needs to be enacted in daily behaviors, so collect concrete examples of the behaviors that demonstrate your culture. How do you expect employees to behave if they accidentally learn confidential competitor information? Or notice a billing error that overcharged a customer? Or feel that their supervisor’s performance appraisal of themselves or another staff member was unfair? 
  • Conduct behavioral interviews. The best way to understand a candidate’s values is to ask behavioral interview questions. If a candidate’s CV demonstrates their qualifications, then the interview should demonstrate their values. Asking situational questions allows the candidate to share their approach to communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and other important factors. Be consistent in your behavioral questions so you can fairly and accurately compare candidates. 
  • Use values-based criteria to evaluate, reward, and promote employees. The best way to keep your company culture strong and consistent is to ensure that leadership and seasoned team members help to instill it in new hires. Choose to reward and promote employees who demonstrate and perpetuate your values.

Unfortunately, conversations about “cultural fit” can often be a smokescreen for certain types of hiring biases, as “culture” can be interpreted as hiring new employees who look, speak, and act like existing ones. If we remember that culture is rooted in values, and conduct intelligent screening and interviews, then we can identify which candidates are the right fit for a corporate culture, regardless of their social culture. 

At grapefrute, we believe that companies should never compromise on culture, and we practice it every day. By recruiting proactively, conducting behavioral interviews, and maintaining high standards, we only hire candidates that share our values and contribute to our culture. This creates a great work environment that allows us to work effectively to find the right talent matches for our clients. Living our values every day ensures that we are always providing clear, trustworthy, expert service, no matter how long an employee has been with the team. To learn more about hiring for values and building a great company culture, contact grapefrute today.