We’re going to begin by assuming you’ve already recognized that you have a company culture. You know that the people who populate your business are either committed to the success of your operation or they are not. You know that they have a positive nature, or a negative one. These individuals are part of your culture – your work family. You probably have also come to grips with the fact that, whatever the culture is today, is solely your baby. You created it. Either you worked hard to make it a positive one, or you mistakenly thought it would create itself automatically in your own image. In any case, we will also assume that you seek to hire good natured, hard/smart working employees who are bent on improving the business and making successful contributions to the whole. Here are five tips to help you find the right new hires who match your company culture.
1) Find Yourself on the Company Culture Map
Before you can accurately determine where you’re going, you need to determine where you are today. Where does this corporate adventure begin? Take an inventory of your most valuable assets – your people. Look carefully at the employees you have, their productivity, their attitudes, and their personality types. Which ones are leaders? Which ones seem indifferent? Which ones share your values and, most importantly, which ones do not. How do they work together? Do they support each other and the goals you’ve established? Each of these things are as important as the cogs in the wheels of a giant clock. If they all don’t mesh and work together as they were intended to do, you’ve got yourself a broken clock that is only right twice a day.
2) Know Where You Want to Go
You wouldn’t embark upon a vacation without knowing your destination. In order for your business to be a success you need a destination as well. Look to your mission statement. If you don’t have a mission statement, create one. Your mission statement should include answers to these questions:
• Why are you in business?
• Who are your customers?
• What is the nature of your products and services?
• How is your business different from the competition?
• What is the way in which the larger community will view you?
• How do you and your employees impact the reputation of your company?
• What is your overarching philosophy?
• How will you know when you’ve met your goals?
3) Know Your Ideal Employee’s Qualifications
Each position in your operation has its own set of qualifications or requirements. If the position for which you are hiring is a sales position, you need a fundamentally different kind of employee than you would if you were hiring a bookkeeper. Just as you need a map for your vacation, you need a map for hiring. The essential qualities and personality traits should be written down to create a profile for each position in your company. This document can become a checklist for the upcoming interviews – yes, interviews, plural.
4) The Interview Process
If you wanted to get a job at Disneyland sweeping up bits of popcorn and gum wrappers, you would be interviewed at least three times by different management people within the organization. This process does several things: it establishes within the applicant a “Wow…getting hired here is a really big deal,” response, giving him or her a sense of personal and professional value. It also gives each of the interviewers, who each live within the culture, the opportunity to evaluate the applicant from his unique perspective.
Meet with the interviewing team before the process begins to go over the profile you’ve created for the position. Stress that having the requisite skills is not enough, but attitude is also key. The vast majority of employees who are fired were initially hired for skills and inevitably fired because of their attitudes. Give your team a list of questions to ask which can root out potential problems in spite of the fact that the interviewee is on his best behavior.
5) Get Help From the Pros
When you factor in the cost of a bad hire, both short term and long, it makes sense to do everything within your power to hire only those who will fit into your company’s culture, will be productive, and who will not consciously or unconsciously work to undermine and erode the team efforts of others. Consult with assessment professionals or, at minimum, read a bit on the subject. The Hire Talent team’s e-book, Hiring Talented Team Players, is an excellent place to start.