How to Hire for Culture, not Clones!
What defines a good ‘company culture’ in your eyes?
It differs for each and every business, going way beyond the company nights out or Christmas parties – company culture is the personality of your business, encompassing so many different things. The workspace you inhabit, your company goals, ethics… And, of course, it’s the employees who undoubtedly create it.
Employee wellness, happiness, attitude and expectations all play a big part – so hiring becomes ever more important. More specifically, hiring the right people.
When I first started out in recruitment, I remember my boss asking me to drop in on a candidate he’d interviewed and was considering to join our team; beyond a brief, “Yeah, like him/her, they could do alright,” at the time I don’t remember having much else to offer in terms of feedback. As I grew in my career, my opinion on potential hires developed also – there’s a reason we often ask for a second opinion on most things, and it’s increasingly important to do so when looking for new employees to join the team.
Now, as MD of the Certus brand in Melbourne and fundamentally responsible for the growth of the business – both in terms of numbers and our overall company culture here in Australia – hiring takes on a different spectrum of thinking entirely. What do we actually need? What should I be basing this decision on? How do I know if I’m just hiring someone because I like them, or because they’re going to contribute to the business long-term?
In almost ten years of working in recruitment, helping others build their teams and now, doing so for myself, there are a few key things I’ve learned to bear in mind when hiring – at any level – to build and grow a strong, diverse team. A team that will, in turn, cultivate and embody your company’s culture.
We’ve all conducted interviews where, simply put, you just got along well – or should I say, “built great rapport”. But just because you could happily share their company over a few beers when the working day is out, does that mean that this candidate shares your values inside of work, too?
Consider your company’s core values and mission statement – moreover, whether this person is truly committed to those things. It could be that they’re simply happy with a seemingly pretty casual working environment and a team they get along with, rather than a company to whom they can commit and grow alongside.
If you’re lucky, your new mate will encompass both. Beware of your own mind exaggerating the skills and suitability of a person, based on a great personality fit alone.
My own weaknesses (yes, they exist…)
As business leaders, we can all admit that at some time or other during our careers, we’ve all thought, “I just wish I could find another one of me.”
Whilst there’s no shame in admitting that, nor is it necessarily a bad thing to hire someone like yourself, I’m fast learning that sometimes it’s more important to in fact go the other way – instead of trying to find someone who shares the same qualities and attributes that I do, actually sourcing somebody who can fill the gaps. Diversity doesn’t just mean age/gender/race etc – it can also be considered in terms of skill sets, mindsets and personality types.
From the way we approach tasks to the way we process information and problem solve, it’s important to appreciate each candidate for what they CAN bring to the table, not the things we don’t share in common.
Accept change as it comes
Company culture is something which grows, adapts and changes as your business does – so be ready to stay open-minded and if you find a star, albeit one who might shake things up a little, go with your gut. If the improvements and positivity this person potentially brings on board make sense, despite being a little bit scary, take the leap and bring them on board.
As a hiring manager, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t – but the most important thing we can do is ensure that we personally embody the culture we want to see across our business.
What are your tips for trying to hire with an unbiased or non-introspective view? Have you any horror stories to share when it comes to hiring your own clone – or that of another employee?
Our job as your recruitment partner is to be the first set of eyes and ears when it comes to interviewing; our pre-qualification process is thorough, moreover proven. At the very least, we understand what you’re going through – get in touch to discuss your recruitment strategy and the challenges you might be facing today.