The Importance of Cultural Fit – Part II

Cultural Fit Part II –  How to hire the “Perfect” Candidate

A lot of people will wish you luck in finding the perfect candidate – they will say that you need it. Not true! Employers can make their own luck by carefully selecting the right person and merging him/her with your existing team.

Like any successful business practice, a little bit of process and planning will yield huge dividends.

Start with the Details

First, you must be able to describe the position in a detailed and accurate way.  To do this, systematically evaluate why previous employees have left. Were there technical gaps? Relationships that never gelled?  Examine performance reviews for the entire team, and look for recurring themes of strength or weakness. Use this information to draw up a new, fully detailed job description that focuses equally on technical expertise and behavioural characteristics. Yes, you may want to skip this step! Persevere – this information will allow you to exactly pinpoint the person you’re looking for.

Build a Common Vision

If this is a complex role, ensure senior managers involved in the hiring process generally agree on what a “perfect” candidate looks like in terms of experience and personality. Schedule a brief meeting, and separate the criteria into “must have” and “helpful to have”. You may be surprised to hear how members of the same team view the role differently! This meeting will provide clarity once you begin the interview process, and will save valuable time and effort.

What Do You Need to Know From Your Candidates?

Select the right interview questions to screen for desired behaviours. To do this, go through the information you learned in step one, and ask for specific examples of how the candidate has dealt with similar challenges in the past. This is called Behavioural Interviewing Techniques, and it brings a great deal of clarity about a candidate’s experience and their way of thinking. Truly, it explains how they “get things done,” which is a combination of internal motivators, external motivators and communication style. If you follow this process, the top 1-2 candidates should stick out by a mile.   Click here for inspiration.

Mentor Success!

Congratulations, you’ve chosen an amazing person for your organization and your work is done. Well, almost! Research shows the on-boarding process ultimately determines whether a person succeeds or fails.  An employee handbook is no longer sufficient.  During the first ninety days, your new employee must quickly learn the unspoken and unwritten rules about how the organization operates – ie. your culture. How quickly they learn this determines their success, and this is particularly true for senior management and executive roles. As a direct manager, you are responsible for ensure they understand your culture and communicate in an appropriate style. Many managers believe the new employee should have to “prove themselves” or “establish their value to the team.” However, we believe that current market conditions, changes in business direction and competitor threats will give your new team member ample opportunity to contribute to your organization! Most importantly, ensuring your new hire feels welcomed and respected means you’ll avoid having to go back to step one.

Your ability to mentor your new hire will allow them to shine, and effectively contribute to your organization!

~ Julie Steele

photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik

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