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How to Find Candidates That Belong at Your Company

It’s one thing to hire a candidate that checks all the technical and experience boxes. It’s another to look for and find job applicants that actually belong at your company and who will thrive in it. By default, HR managers often pass along resumes or hire those who will simply get the job done, forgetting one thing: company culture.

If your company values positive energy, that might mean passing on candidates who excel in their fields but have a negative outlook. Fitting into a company’s culture doesn’t just check off another box, however. It helps to more quickly integrate new employees with their departments and ensure long-term success both on an individual and team basis. Taking company culture into account can change a hiring manager’s outlook on candidates, but many don’t know how to evaluate a candidate’s fit. Here are few things to keep in mind when looking for your next new hire:

  1. Understand your company’s values.

If your company has already outlined corporate values, take another look at them and evaluate how those values affect employees on a daily basis. What traits make employees succeed in representing those values? Which traits make for poor employees?

Not all small businesses will have these culture guidelines laid out for hiring managers. If yours doesn’t, it’s easy enough to take a look around your office and upper-level management to learn what your company values in individuals.

If your company values leadership and innovation, then you probably have a culture that values individuals are who aren’t afraid to take a few risks. If your departments rely heavily on teamwork, then you will need to find an applicant who values working with others and can be both a leader and a follower.

Great candidates will care about company culture. During interviews, take note of candidates who make a point to ask about internal culture or point out how they would be a good fit.

  1. Identify great resumes.

Even resumes will have factors that are aligned or misaligned with your company’s internal culture. Evaluating resumes for these hints will help you weed out candidates before the time-consuming interview process begins.

For example, if you work in a culture that counts on continued training and education, look for resumes that make it a point to include recent training courses or certifications. Many candidates who value continued training will also point this out in their cover letters.

  1. Ask interview questions about culture.

Most of the questions in your interviews will focus on aptitude, but you should include time for behavioral questions about culture as well. Behavioral questions can give you a more open-ended dig into a person’s outlook and values.

You can start crafting these questions by using the opener “tell me about a time when,” then describe a situation where the behavior you’re looking for might occur. In many interviews, it will only take one to two questions for you to gain insight into a person’s cultural aptitude.

The consequences of getting a culture fit wrong can damage both the business and employees who are already successful at the company. New hires who don’t work well with their coworkers can become isolated or become an expense when they resign, yet again raising the cost of employee turnover.

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