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Hiring for Cultural Fit
Johanna Rothman
@johannarothman
www.jrothman.com
jr@jrothman.com
781-641-4046
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Cultural Fit Frustrations
“No chemistry”
“Not such a great fit”
Candidate doesn’t want the
offer—and...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
What Culture Is
How people treat each
other
What people can discuss
What you reward
3
© 2015 Johanna Rothman4
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
If YouWant Cultural Fit…
Develop your awareness of
your culture
Develop questions to
detect fit for ...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Examples of Culture Based Around
Team-building in One Organization
Manager1
Team-builds with rope c...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
“Corporate” Culture Is Incomplete
We may talk about
“corporate culture”
Each manager puts his/her
s...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
WhenYou Hire…
Understand your group’s
culture and how it fits into
the organization
Check out candid...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
How to UnderstandYour Culture
1. Determine the boundaries
with context-free
questions
2. Understand...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Context-Free Questions
What does success look like?
What problems does this
position solve?
What pr...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Contextual Questions:Technical Skills
Technical skills
Functional skills
Domain expertise
Industry ...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Contextual Questions: Qualities,
Preferences, Non-technical Skills
Ability to manage large groups o...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Perform a Job Analysis
As you analyze the job, make sure you ask these kinds of questions:
1. “Who ...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Two Primary Qualities of Culture
Adaptability
Perseverance, aka Grit
These are part of the growth
m...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Develop Candidate Interview
Questions for Cultural Fit
Adaptability
Perseverance:
Courage,Achieveme...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Types of Questions
Closed questions establish the facts
Behavior-description questions:“Tell me abo...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Adaptability
“Tell me about a time you
were surprised.What
happened?”
"Tell me about a time when
yo...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman18
Carol Dweck,
Mindset
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Growth Mindset
Tell me about a time you had to learn something new.What was
it? How did you do it?
...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Success
“Tell me about a recent
success.What caused it?”
You might hear these things:
“Supportive e...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Challenges
“Tell me about a recent
challenge.What caused it?
What did you do?”
Candidates will expl...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Environment
“Tell me about your environment
now. Does it contribute to you
success? (If not, ask ab...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Offer
“What’s important to you to see in an
offer?”
Offers are much more than salary
Other perks, i...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
It’s Not Luck
You know it’s not luck, it’s
skill
Do the job analysis
Prepare behavior-
description ...
© 2015 Johanna Rothman
Let’s Stay inTouch
Pragmatic Manager:
www.jrothman.com/pragmaticmanager
Hiring Technical People blo...
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Hiring.for.cultural.fit

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Do you find it difficult to hire great people? Maybe you know something is wrong, but you don't know what. Maybe you don't feel "chemistry" with the candidate. You can hire for cultural fit, and eliminate that icky feeling or the lack of chemistry.

You need to understand your corporate culture, and your culture as a hiring manager. You can then develop great interview questions and auditions to reflect your culture to see if a candidate will fit. Learn how to think about interview questions to use cultural fit to your advantage, instead of discarding candidates for that uneasy feeling.

Published in: Business

Hiring.for.cultural.fit

  1. 1. Hiring for Cultural Fit Johanna Rothman @johannarothman www.jrothman.com jr@jrothman.com 781-641-4046
  2. 2. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Cultural Fit Frustrations “No chemistry” “Not such a great fit” Candidate doesn’t want the offer—and it’s not a salary issue What is your culture? 2
  3. 3. © 2015 Johanna Rothman What Culture Is How people treat each other What people can discuss What you reward 3
  4. 4. © 2015 Johanna Rothman4
  5. 5. © 2015 Johanna Rothman If YouWant Cultural Fit… Develop your awareness of your culture Develop questions to detect fit for culture 5
  6. 6. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Examples of Culture Based Around Team-building in One Organization Manager1 Team-builds with rope courses, laser tag, other physical activities Loses people over a few years, but the people who are left are a team Manager2 Believes constructive debate builds teams Part of a new hire’s audition is to to engage in a debate CEO Believes that corporate parties/activities build the management team Managers must attend summer picnic, holiday party, lead the United Way charity drive Their children and spouses must attend the parties also 6
  7. 7. © 2015 Johanna Rothman “Corporate” Culture Is Incomplete We may talk about “corporate culture” Each manager puts his/her stamp on top of corporate culture Culture is local 7
  8. 8. © 2015 Johanna Rothman WhenYou Hire… Understand your group’s culture and how it fits into the organization Check out candidate’s culture preferences 8
  9. 9. © 2015 Johanna Rothman How to UnderstandYour Culture 1. Determine the boundaries with context-free questions 2. Understand the specifics of the role with contextual questions 3. Determine the manager’s cultural stamp 9
  10. 10. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Context-Free Questions What does success look like? What problems does this position solve? What problems does this position create? Why are these results desirable? What is the position worth to you? 10
  11. 11. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Contextual Questions:Technical Skills Technical skills Functional skills Domain expertise Industry expertise Technology/tools expertise 11
  12. 12. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Contextual Questions: Qualities, Preferences, Non-technical Skills Ability to manage large groups of people (or small groups) Ability consider several ideas, not jump at the first one Analytical abilities Negotiation skills How people-oriented vs. task-oriented (especially for managers or project managers) Sales ability (for not-specifically sales folks) … 12
  13. 13. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Perform a Job Analysis As you analyze the job, make sure you ask these kinds of questions: 1. “Who will this person work with on a regular basis? On an irregular basis?” 2. “Tell me about the level or responsibility you want this person to take” 3. “What is this position worth to you?” 4. “Tell me about the strategic/tactical/operational parts of this job” 5. “What will this person do/what deliverables do you expect on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis?” 6. “Tell me how you can see this person working on a daily basis. … Tell me about the interactions you expect to have with this person” 7. What’s important for this person to already know to succeed in this position 8. “Tell me about the way you describe your group to other people. Is there something I should know about, something that will attract a certain kind of person?” 13
  14. 14. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Two Primary Qualities of Culture Adaptability Perseverance, aka Grit These are part of the growth mindset Caution: if you don’t have the growth mindset, don’t hire for it (typical in a control culture) 14
  15. 15. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Develop Candidate Interview Questions for Cultural Fit Adaptability Perseverance: Courage,Achievement, Follow- through on long-term goals, Resilience, Release vs. perfection Success Challenges Environment Offer 15
  16. 16. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Types of Questions Closed questions establish the facts Behavior-description questions:“Tell me about a time when…” Auditions Hypothetical questions:“What would you do if…” Meta-questions:“What else should I ask you?” 16
  17. 17. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Adaptability “Tell me about a time you were surprised.What happened?” "Tell me about a time when you did not have the conditions you would've liked for your project.What did you do?" 17
  18. 18. © 2015 Johanna Rothman18 Carol Dweck, Mindset
  19. 19. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Growth Mindset Tell me about a time you had to learn something new.What was it? How did you do it? Give me an example of a time you had to take courageous action. Tell me about a time you wanted something that seemed far off. What did you do? Tell me about a time when it felt as if you failed.What did you do? Tell me how you know something is sufficient for release. Have you ever wanted to postpone release? Why? 19
  20. 20. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Success “Tell me about a recent success.What caused it?” You might hear these things: “Supportive environment” “Risk-taking” “Ability to make my own decisions” “Decisions by consensus” 20
  21. 21. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Challenges “Tell me about a recent challenge.What caused it? What did you do?” Candidates will explain problems — especially where the culture interfered Example:VP and process 21
  22. 22. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Environment “Tell me about your environment now. Does it contribute to you success? (If not, ask about environments in the past.)” Listen to what makes people successful I’ve met many senior managers who believe they need to be the star technical person. 22
  23. 23. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Offer “What’s important to you to see in an offer?” Offers are much more than salary Other perks, including vacation time Electronic toys/tools Labs, other capital equipment Ability to use funds for books, conferences, training, etc. for staff Senior managers: ability to hire, ability to manage raises and bonuses 23
  24. 24. © 2015 Johanna Rothman It’s Not Luck You know it’s not luck, it’s skill Do the job analysis Prepare behavior- description questions Use an audition 24
  25. 25. © 2015 Johanna Rothman Let’s Stay inTouch Pragmatic Manager: www.jrothman.com/pragmaticmanager Hiring Technical People blog: www.jrothman.com/blog/htp Book: Hiring Geeks That Fit Please link with me on LinkedIn 25

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