When I was first trained in recruitment, one of the main rules of what not to do was to ask a client to describe their culture. The reason given for this is that culture is subjective both to the line manager and the successful candidate. Each person’s experience of culture is individual to themselves so as such, how can this be communicated to a candidate?
This is a wrongheaded approach to recruitment that views a successful recruitment process as matching a candidate to a skill-set. Recruiting successfully is significantly more about soft skills, relationship building and finding a cultural fit. These intangibles are significantly more challenging to gauge compared to more objective measures. So how should hiring managers recruit for culture? These are a few strategies to ensure culture is integrated in the recruitment process:
No working environment is perfect, in fact most are far from it however hiring managers and recruiters are often inclined to accentuate as many positives as possible to sell an opportunity to the candidate. When things aren’t ideal it’s best to state the truest experience a hiring manager has in their workplace. If candidates must operate in an ambiguous environment, they should know that, same with needing to manage difficult and challenging stakeholders. Being honest about the warts of an organisation has two different advantages, firstly it creates trust. Candidate’s appreciate honesty and transparency and will be more prepared for the eventualities of their role. Secondly, it sifts out those who are unprepared for that environment so that rather an uncomfortable candidate being hired they will recognise from the outset it isn’t for them. This results in an outcome where clients are less likely to need to re-recruit a role and will ultimately end up with a better fit candidate for the role and the organisation.
Trust person to person relationships.
Relationships matter in recruitment. Any successful candidate will need to be able to build relationships and the relationship between both employee and line manager in addition to employee and their immediate peers will provide a foundation for success. Candidates get interviews based on skills, they get jobs based on the immediate relationships they can build and how they will connect with others in the organisation. This isn’t to restrict culture fit hires as only someone who is a direct fit with the team as pure like for like recruitment based on personality leads to problems of group think and a lack of new perspectives and insights that can add real value to the organisation.
Ensure that when recruiting, you are honest and look to how strongly person to person relationships can be built rather than looking to fit a skills brief to lead to better quality of outcomes.
I specialise in project services, business and process improvement. If you would like a confidential discussion on how to progress your job search or career, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Project Resource Partners
Level 29, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T +61 3 9949 8100 D +61 3 9949 8105