If you’ve ever thought your hiring experience was missing something or that the candidates you’re hiring are leaving because the organization doesn’t match their expectations, the culture interview may help.
by Drew Tattam
November 22, 2022
Finding the right employees for your company is difficult. Companies often create parameters around which resumes make it through the software, hiring managers are trained on what skills to look for, recruiters are hired internally and sometimes externally and leaders determine how many years of experience is necessary, but are we taking a good look at our company culture and how that individual would be successful in our organization?
It’s nice to have someone with experience on the team, but if their values don’t align with the organization, we won’t reap all the benefits. As many HR, talent and L&D departments already know – there’s something missing in the hiring process: culture interviews.
In my organization, it all started with our core values. We have five core values: goal orientation, relationships, open communication, wisdom, timeliness and hunger – GROWTH. Our organization decided there must be a way to gauge how people fit into these core values in an explicit and open way during the recruitment process. Executives and stakeholders decided they would create a culture interview that would engage all employees during the interview process while being clear about what values our organization holds.
The stakeholders created one question per core value along with an ideal answer for each question. With time, the questions have changed with feedback – sticking to our values of GROWTH and readiness for change. We believe there’s always room for improvement and the growth of this process showcases that perfectly. The important part of the creation process is that the interview questions are aligned to core values and allow candidates to showcase their experience with those specific values.
For each candidate interviewed past the initial interview phase, a culture interview is conducted. The hiring manager puts together a team of three to five employees at all levels. Giving each employee at the firm a voice allows the culture to stay in line with the goal of GROWTH. Each of the employees is invited to the culture interview and given three simple instruction pages. The first page lists out each of the core value questions with room to take notes during the interview. Typically, questions are asked in a round-robin style with all employees taking notes during each question.
The second and third page are to be filled in after the conclusion of the interview. The second lists two questions for each employee to answer, reflecting on the interview. For the questions to be effective for your organization, ask how your employees believe the candidate would fit in to your culture. A couple examples are: Would you enjoy collaborative work with this individual and do you believe there are any reasons we shouldn’t hire this candidate? The last page is a scorecard from one to five on each core value asking for a short explanation for each score. All three pages are then returned to the hiring manager for review.
If candidates do not pass the culture interview – they aren’t hired. It doesn’t matter if executives or other decision makers in the organization loved them. If the employees, who you’ve already deemed a culture fit, don’t believe the candidate is a culture fit, then hiring them won’t be a smooth transition. Admittedly, if your organization doesn’t currently utilize a culture interview this may be the most difficult selling point.
Culture interviews are a valuable tool hiring managers can utilize. Below are the top five benefits you will experience on your team if done correctly:
- Employees start with a sense of belonging. Knowing all employees have similar values is a bonding experience. This leads to quicker and easier relationship building during the onboarding process.
- Employees are better suited to the job and the organization, increasing retention. Employees that can align their own values during the job search to an organization are more likely to stay.
- There is buy-in from employees at all levels of an organization. It feels good to know your opinion matters. By asking employees to participate in the hiring process, even if they’re not managers, allows a maintained sense of belonging for all employees in the organization. You may even find people start volunteering to be a part of the interview process.
- Employees are clear on the values of the organization and can act accordingly to those values. There is no point where new employees must feel out what is culturally accepted at your organization; they know from day one.
- Your pool of talent may decrease in size but increase in value. It’s an intimidating process as an interviewer, but one that pays dividends. I know when I walk in the doors each day, I’m aligned with what my organization expects of me, which is extremely valuable.
If you’ve ever thought your hiring experience was missing something or that the candidates you’re hiring are leaving because the organization doesn’t match their expectations, the culture interview may help. If used properly, it will help you find and retain quality talent in your organization.