In this Issue:
The Missing Link: How to Match Personal Style to Corporate Culture
There are three dimensions to every position opening: the duties of the job reflected in the job description, the current challenges of the job or projects the candidate will face, and the environment or corporate culture into which the candidate must fit.
When screening candidates, hiring managers are quick to check that their professional skills match the job requirements, and that their past accomplishments provide the experience to meet the challenges to be faced in the role. And frankly, for any given position, there are many candidates with the skills and experience that are capable of doing the job, but there are very few who will actually get considered as qualified for the role. Most candidates either fail in the interview or, even worse, after they have been employed for a short while, because they “just didn’t fit in”. Personal style versus corporate culture is the crucial and, oftentimes, missing link to effectively matching candidate to company.
Skills and experience can be uncovered with a variety of probing questions that most hiring managers are very capable of addressing. But, how do you determine “fit”? It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see an individual’s personal style when reviewing their resume alone.
Most companies are comprised of like-minded people with shared values who would prefer to hire people just like themselves. The first step is to understand and define what type of behavior is successful in your company. What attributes are admired and respected? Why do people work there? What types of people have done well working for you? Why do people stay there? These details need to be articulated and be made part of the profile for the position.
Chemistry and fit are all about shared values and beliefs that drive behaviors and motivation. On the very first interview, you can assess the potential for a “fit” by asking this question: “If you could change 3 or 4 things in your current job and create the perfect job for yourself, what would you change?” Then listen carefully and use probing questions to learn about the candidate’s priorities and value system. This information is vital to understanding their motivation. It is the key component for determining whether a good match exists. If their motivation is primarily compensation, drop them immediately. No one changes jobs primarily for money. The underlying question is, “Does what they want, match what you have to offer”?
When you realize that they have what you want, and it is time to make an offer, you can reflect back on their answer to this question and feel comfortable that you also have what they want, and further negotiations and counteroffers are negated.
If you are not honest in your assessment of your own environment, the misinformed new hire will show up and quickly learn the truth: they bought into a culture whose values are different than theirs. The resulting disconnect will likely diminish their performance and, ultimately, their retention. In order to recruit and retain top talent, addressing the missing link is the key to getting the right person into the job.
Sometimes it is best to leave this brutal honesty and objectivity to an executive recruiter whose livelihood depends on knowing his client’s culture and making good matches for the long-term.