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Survival of the Fittest: How to Find Candidates that Fit Your Company Culture

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People who like their job cite several contributing factors: growth potential, better pay, casual Fridays. But these factors mean nothing if you don’t like the people you work with and believe in what they’re doing. In talent acquisition, this is called “fit.”

Depending on how you use it, “fit” could be an industry buzzword, or it could be something that makes people want to work for you. We’re here to talk about the latter.

First, “fit” is defined by two things: work culture and values. When an employee and a company can get on the same page about these, you have a match. And there is evidence that employees care about a company’s culture.

Glassdoor spokesman Scott Dobroski reports that job seekers cite company culture as their second-highest priority, “almost tied with salary.” More specifically, in a 2014 Software Advice survey, one-third of respondents preferred company cultures that described themselves as “honest/transparent.”

From the groceries they buy, to the clothes they wear, the modern jobseeker is an informed citizen. They ask questions before making purchases and look for a connection between themselves and the brand. Their approach to job hunting is no different. They want to feel good about the company and people they work for. Add to this the fact that 85% of males and 66% of females in the US work more than 40 hours a week. If they’re going to be working long hours, it had better be at a place they like.

Whole Foods is a shining example of how “fit” can empower a workplace. By putting their core values into practice, Whole Foods has built a community of enthusiastic, health-minded team members. They are driven by a shared belief in organic products, sustainability, supporting local suppliers, and education.

“We like our employees to be sponges and absorb the stories of the products on our shelves. That way they can educate our customers to the fullest extent.” – John Edwards, Store Team Leader, Gold Coast Whole Foods

Whole Foods hires people that care about educating the public on where their food and products are sourced. In this way, the job feels more like an extension of the employee, rather than an obligation.

“We encourage employees to bring their outside interests to work so that they have more of a vested interest in what they’re doing,” says Edwards.

When a team believes in a singular mission, friendships are more likely to develop. And office friendships have a direct link with productivity and engagement. According to one study, 50% of employees with a best friend at work reported that they feel a strong connection with their company.

So an employee aligned with a work culture and values is a good fit. But how can you determine an applicant’s fit within your company before they’re hired?

Ask the right questions

Your goal is to determine your candidate’s personality type, what motivates them, and what passions they share that align with your values. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
  2. What has to happen during the course of the day to make it a good one at work?
  3. Why do you want to work here?
  4. What inspires you?
  5. How are you involved in the community?

Check their social media presence

In addition to questions, a cursory look at an applicant’s social media presence can give you an idea of how they’d fit in at your company. What communities are they a part of? Is what they’re posting predominantly negative, specifically in regards to their current job? This can help you piece together a larger understanding of who your applicant is and how they’ll be as an employee.

Let candidates talk to current employees

An interview is a two-way street. While you’re determining if the candidate is a good fit for your company, they’re determining if the company is a good fit for them. Give your candidate the best possible understanding of the job and company by letting them talk to current employees.

These employees can not only describe their responsibilities, but they can tell candidates the length of a typical day, how collaborative the team is, and if they hang out outside of work. Sometimes hearing this from an actual employee – a potential co-worker – trumps what the hiring manager has to say.

Another resource for not only informing, but also creating transparency with candidates is Glassdoor. The review site allows current and former employees to anonymously review companies and their management. For candidates interested in working for you, this library of honest employee feedback builds a layer of trust. At a base level, it shows you have nothing to hide. Beyond that, employee reviews can help paint a larger picture of what it’s actually like to work at your company.

Being clear on your company culture and values is beneficial to you and your candidate. If you want your employee to be invested in their job, having them share your company’s goals is a great way to ensure this.

4 Responses to " Survival of the Fittest: How to Find Candidates that Fit Your Company Culture "

  1. Great article. Not only is fit important at determining who should work for your company but is key in your talent brand. What you tell and show candidates about your company. Too many companies neglect this area or send out conflicting messages. A clear and simple message is best to attract the right candidates and screen out those that are not a good fit. Passion for the company culture is key to productivity, engagement and longer term retention.

  2. […] able to connect with your audience is key. Your military destination page should […]

  3. […] common sense (and millions of hours of shared experience) says that candidates who do more research on the company are generally better candidates and better fits. So we wondered: is there a link between the number of stops in the candidate journey and the […]

  4. […] qualified candidates while at the same time repelling poorly fitting and unqualified candidates. The value is not in the quantity, but in helping establish likely fit. Thus, looking for a single metric to define content is impossible, as it will attract and repel in […]

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