Measuring Cultural Fit


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Measuring Cultural Fit

  1. 1. Detecting Cultural Fit by Jerry Bernhart Bernhart Associates Executive Search t is probably no Do you rely mostly on "gut feel" when environment means to the candidate. ToI surprise that most companies raterecruiting for "cultural fit" assessing a candidate for culture? Many employers do, and this suggests that while organizations may be using methods such as behavioral interviews, one person it might mean everyone was on board with a particular decision, but to another it might imply that they had the ability to make his or her own an essential part of they may not possess the skills to The answers to these probative questionsthe hiring process. The expediently elicit and evaluate responses. will help you determine the candidatesfrustrations of "culture In many companies, human resource cultural alignment with your organization. managers have developed behavioral-clash" are familiar to all based questions to help detect cultural 2."Tell me about yourof us: No chemistry, not fit. But because hiring managers put their greatest challenges. Whata good fit, incompatible individual stamp on top of corporate caused them?"leadership styles, wrong culture it is imperative that they, too, ask While question number one deals withvalues, etc. A bad fit the right questions to accurately assess the positives, this question is designed to a candidates cultural fit.results in poor morale, bring out the cultural obstacles that stoodlow productivity and in the way of the candidates progress. I always coach my clients to ask these Finding out what caused these chal-costly employee turnover. behavior description questions that cover lenges, instead of how they overcameA good fit wont always four major areas — Success, Challenges, them, will give you much greater insightguarantee success but Environment and Offer. The questions are: into the areas of your culture that mighta bad fit will practically become an impediment to a candidates 1."Tell me about yourguarantee failure. successful performance on the job. greatest successes? What caused your success?" 3."What kind of environment Most employers stop with the first portion do you need to be most of this question. Its the follow up question successful?" that prompts candidates to become much Here, candidates discuss process, more introspective. The candidate might tools and staffing issues. This helps describe how a supportive environment you learn about their assumptions about energized their success, or how their what it takes to be successful, and their success came about because the company assumptions about what prevented them encouraged risk taking or gave them the from being successful. Those assump- ability to make their own decisions. tions will include key cultural areas Its not enough to know that a supportive such as work style, team orientation, environment was behind their success. customer orientation, decision making You need to know what a supportive and risk taking.FEBRUARY 2005 © 2005 MOKRYNSKIdirect
  2. 2. 4. "Whats important to you to see in an offer? With this question were looking for things other than money. This includes vacation time and other perks such as laptops, cell phones and other electronic tools, additional training or the ability to purchase other capital equipment. How candidates respond to this question will help you determine what needs to be included in a final offer in order to gain acceptance. I also highly recommend that candidates speak with peers to help them determine if there is a range of personalities or if there is one type of personality in the organization. Sometimes hiring managers will override their team, but it has been my experience that candidates rarely succeed when the manager making the selection hires against the recommendation of their staff. For more detailed information, please contact Jerry Bernhart at: 507-451-4270, or email jerry@bernhart.comFEBRUARY 2005 © 2005 MOKRYNSKIdirect