When workers are in short supply and high demand, it can be tempting for employers to gratefully snatch up any willing candidate with the right background and expertise for a job. But in today’s incredibly tight labor market, that hiring approach is short-sighted; holding out for the right cultural fit can mean all the difference between a ho-hum, get-the-job-done placement and a committed, lasting employee who not only shares but actively contributes to your organization’s mission, vision and growth.
When you hire someone, you don’t invest in a set of skills—you invest in a person. That’s why the recruiting experts at Leap Solutions believe in hiring for cultural fit first and foremost. Job skills matter, of course, but many of those can be taught. Equally as important are the intangibles: a candidate’s personality and character, values and ethics, curiosity and insight, motivation and potential and more. These are the largely un-teachable qualities that determine cultural fitness, and these are the traits that can positively and powerfully impact the success of your organization.
Every hiring opportunity is a chance to build an even more solid, collaborative and diversified team. Someone ideally suited to your organization’s culture will feel at ease with the social customs, working habits, atmosphere, energy and pace of your organization. A great cultural fit is likely to result in a seamless job transition and a longer-term, far more rewarding placement for both employee and employer.
Philosophy in Action
Prioritizing cultural fit means seeing positions beyond their obvious and immediate job descriptions and seeing candidates beyond the skills and experience listed on their resumes. That’s why we advise our clients to:
- Reflect on your culture. You can’t find your best cultural fit without first knowing your culture. When you partner with Leap, we do everything possible to gauge the pulse of your organization and what it takes to thrive there. We provide invaluable outside objectivity and seasoned insight as we guide you in determining the kinds of people who will align with your organization’s core values while bringing fresh enthusiasm and unique perspectives, talents and ideas to your workplace.
- Establish the non-negotiables. We help you sort the essential job skills, background and qualifications from the desired ones; in many (and perhaps most) cases, there’s more wiggle room than you might think. That said, no matter how much you like a candidate, you can’t settle for anything less than what you genuinely need for success in the role.
- Be open to train. Don’t miss out on an otherwise ideal candidate by requiring an easily trainable skill or body of knowledge. As you zero in on what you’re truly looking for in an applicant, be realistic about any anticipated needs for coaching, training and/or mentoring to ready that person for the position. As a bonus, you’ll be able to arrange for customized, focused, high-impact learning that can virtually ensure success.
- See potential. While we might suggest you consider training for certain skills, we’ll encourage you to stay true to the type of person you want. At Leap Solutions, we approach our work from a place of genuine curiosity about every person, and we’re known for our ability to see past what’s on paper—to recognize what’s overblown or undersold on a resume, for instance. We never lose sight of our ultimate goal: to steer you toward the longer-term, perfect-fit hire you deserve.
- Look to the future. As you begin to make more strategic, thoughtful hiring decisions, you will naturally start to put those decisions into the perspective of bigger-picture issues such as succession planning. Always keeping an eye to the future, savvy employers think about which positions might be opening up down the line and provide the career development and advancement opportunities that allow employees and companies to grow together.
- Interview unconventionally. Assessing skillset can be straightforward, but for a fuller indication of how a candidate might fit into your culture, you’ll want to use creative interview approaches, including behavioral-based questions (“Please share some examples of when you…” or “Tell me about a time this happened to you…”), relevant sample scenarios and role-playing. Don’t be afraid to ask about a candidate’s ideal (and less favorable) culture, communication style, management style and more. The more inquisitive you are, the more fruitful the interview will be.
- Solidify your impressions. Make the most of reference checks to further explore candidates, speak to any potential concerns, etc. Ask the usual questions about how the candidates perform, how they get along on the team and what particular strengths they offer, and then dig deeper with scenario-based questions (e.g. “What might her approach be if she had to deliver bad news to someone?”) to reveal telling, constructive details that can confirm (or challenge) your perceptions.
Commit to Fit
At Leap Solutions, we appreciate that employers can sometimes feel desperate to fill a position, but we won’t let you settle for anything less than the very best fit for your organization. We’re not in the business of high-volume staffing for high-turnover jobs; we’re committed to intentional, well-planned, optimal-fit placements followed up with all the support they need to thrive. When we hit the mark—and we consistently do!—we can be confident that your new hire and your organization will flourish together, now and well into the future.
There’s good recruiting—matching the perfect candidates to their ideal jobs.
And then there’s whole-culture, forward-looking, Leap-style recruiting.
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