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How to hire people who fit in

Heather Nolan
September 21, 2020
How to hire people who fit in

To maintain your company culture, you need to hire people who fit in. 

If someone doesn’t agree with the culture or is resistant to certain practices, it’s going to be difficult to build an environment where everyone collaborates and works toward the same core purpose.

You can ensure your applicants are strong fits by integrating your culture and values into every step of the hiring process. That way, prospective employees know what to expect from a career with your organization, and you know that people are applying to work with you because they believe in and admire the culture that you have built.

How do you communicate your company culture in your hiring process?

A job posting is a form of communication, and every message your company sends out must have an intended audience. Where you post your jobs matters, because it will help determine the people you attract.

There are big job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn, and there are dozens of smaller, niche job boards where you can post your job listings to attract specific employees.

Your job posting must clearly lay out the core values of your organization along with your purpose and mission statement. Most companies bury this information at the very end of their postings, but why not try leading with it? 

That way, anyone who won’t be a good cultural fit might stop reading and decide they don’t want to apply, saving you time and headaches in the screening and interview processes.

In the application instructions, ask potential employees to describe what your core values mean to them and how they have demonstrated them in previous roles. You can also ask them to describe their ideal working environment, and why they are attracted to the company culture.

If you get vague or conflicting responses, that might help you narrow down the applicant pool.

In the interview process, use the one-on-one time as an opportunity to further assess the applicants for cultural fit. 

Ask questions like:

  • “Why are you excited to work here?”
  • “What do you hope to gain from this work experience?”
  • “Do you prefer supervisors to be hands-on or hands-off in their leadership approach?”
  • “Is it important to you to have friends in the workplace?”
  • “How does this position fit into your overall career plan?”

Business coach John Spence’s biggest hiring advice is: don’t be afraid to be blunt in interviews.

“Let them know what the culture stands for, what the organization stands for, and say, ‘If this doesn't sound great to you, do not take this job,” he said. “Because we expect you to live this culture. This is how we live here. This is how we operate. If anything here makes you uncomfortable, you won't be happy here.’”

When you are upfront about the cultural expectations of your organization in every step of the hiring process, you can ensure that you hire people who are aligned with the core purpose and will be really engaged in their work.

Stuck on how to interview for a culture fit? Check out our Cultural Transformation Toolkit, which includes a list of 75 questions to ask potential employees from John Spence. For only $9, you’ll also get resources that will help you define your association's core ideology, plus access to audio and video recordings featuring Spence’s tips on transforming your organization’s culture. Get the toolkit now.

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Heather Nolan

Heather Nolan is a marketing specialist at Sidecar. A former journalist and social media manager, Heather lives in New Orleans with her husband, son, and grumpy rescue dog.

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