Of cultures and new hires
There’s a lot of talk about culture fit, when it comes to hiring for our teams.
There’s a lot of talk about culture fit, when it comes to hiring for our teams. I’ve heard many managers using the phrase rather loosely when they can’t put a finger on the pulse. Now if you’ve ever tried asking these recruiting managers - what exactly is a culture fit for them – chances are they can’t always describe it to you in objective terms. It is indeed a tough ask because often it is a soft, fuzzy feeling.
Can culture fitment really be quantified then? Psychometric assessments and value-based tests have made us come closer to an answer. However, the moment of truth usually takes place in the interview – when the recruiting manager and the candidate are sitting face to face from each other. That fuzzy feeling is to be trusted, no matter what the psychometrics may say. The question is only if we can find a common language to describe it to other stakeholders, and possibly even the candidate (in an ideal world!).
I’ve always felt that the key to finding the right words to express is often to step back and first check if it all adds up inside our heads. In this case too, before we try to find a common language, the first step is to break down the interview experience in our heads and write down the way you felt meeting the candidate. Did the person come across as genuine or was s/he putting too much effort into the process? Did the person think through enough before answering? Did his/her answers were consistent with everything else you’ve seen about the candidate in the interview process? Write down some of these pointers to look out for before the interview. You can lean on your earlier experience or even speak to some experienced interviewers in your company for inspiration. It helps to know what else you’re looking for, apart from the functional skills.
Just taking our filters off and knowing how the interview felt for you is extremely useful to write down these ‘descriptors’. Once you have a list of these words, the next step is to sit with your HR or an experienced recruiter in your organisation who can help you bucket these words into your company’s culture framework. This is why many companies follow a best practice of having a two-member panel for every interview. It gives the interviewers someone to bounce off their thoughts, feelings and descriptors with, within the frame of the company’s culture.
Let’s say, accountability is something your organisation values in a new hire. You pick on all the large and small signs that add up to accountable behaviour. Did the person arrive in time, maybe called up in advance and checked for directions and parking arrangements? These small details not just show the interest one takes in the role, but also ownership. I’ve often experienced candidates who start talking about the company they are interviewing with, as ‘us’ – turn out to be very high on accountability when hired. Something else may work for you as an interviewer, and a hiring manager.
Bringing in a new hire into your team is a major decision and taking into account all parameters – functional and otherwise – is a wise step. When you know what you’re looking for, you can even figure out in the interview if your near-perfect candidate can pick up on a small cultural nuance or not. That’s something that will be hard to interpret just by looking at a psychometric report or a test, and it could just be the difference between a good hire and a not-so-good one.