The hiring process has evolved significantly in recent years. Core elements like background checks, employment verification, and reference checks continue to play important roles. However, the evolution is more nuanced. It's also about finding the right cultural fit.
Rob Sanders, Paychex HR consultant, advises clients in his region on hiring best practices and how to keep pace with important trends. Sanders offers this guidance to explain the benefits of cultural fit and ways to move your own hiring process forward:
"One of the key factors I counsel clients of all sizes and types to consider during the screening, interviewing, and selection stages is cultural fit. This trend is probably the key evolutionary change in the past decade in the overall hiring process. However, what is important to understand is before you can include cultural fit as part of your selection criteria, you have to know what your key cultural indicators are as an organization.”
Identifying your cultural indicators
Cultural indicators can take many forms. Mission, vision, and value statements are a good place to look for what shapes your organization's culture. For example, if trust is a key cultural element for your organization, the first step is to determine how you identify this value in job candidates when you are hiring.
As you explore the 'how,' you should develop a strategic planning process for how to identify this organizational element as a factor shared by potential hires. Behavioral-based or competency-based interviewing is one of the most effective techniques interviewers can use to identify key cultural indicators. This approach involves prompting a candidate to provide examples where a key behavior was used, identify actions taken, and explain the outcomes. The success of this technique is predicated on the assumption that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
Modifying your hiring process
One modification you can make as a way to incorporate behavioral interviewing techniques would be to shift from asking yes/no questions to open-ended questions that require a candidate to provide details to support their answer.
Yes/no question: Do you feel trust is an important element of team dynamics?
Open-ended question: Tell me about an experience in one of your previous positions when you felt trust was violated on your team, what you did to address the situation, and how the team was impacted moving forward.
In this particular example, the answer can provide insight into the candidate's perception of trust, how they chose to take action, and the impact of their behavior.
Alignment works both ways
Today's job candidates, especially millennials, are seeking to align their values with the values of a potential employer. As an employer, you should be seeking that same alignment with your potential new employees. The decision to invite a candidate to become part of your organization is among the most important decisions you make. Hiring employees that aren't in alignment and don't fit well in your culture can contribute to poor work quality, a toxic work environment, and increased turnover rates down the road.
Using behavior-based interview questions can be an effective screening tool that can help you go beyond the traditional elements of hiring best practices. As you hire, look to ensure that your business is hiring for cultural fit in addition to knowledge, skills, and experience.