Staffing for Culture: 4 Things to Look For

Puzzle depicting culture fitMost job postings focus heavily on qualifications, and for good reason: A candidate without the necessary skills and experience will flounder on the job.

But while qualifications are necessary for success, they aren’t sufficient for success. A candidate with stellar credentials will also struggle on the job if the candidate’s values and approach to work don’t mesh with the company’s culture. Poor cultural fit contributes to high turnover and can hinder the entire team’s productivity and motivation.

Four Factors to Keep In Mind When Hiring

1. Soft Skills

Some candidates are cultural “ambassadors”; they can make themselves at home in nearly any company’s day-to-day culture.

Spot these candidates by looking for the key soft skills of cultural awareness and adaptation: communication, conflict resolution and curiosity. Interview questions like “tell me about a time you had to deal with a co-worker conflict,” as well as an eye for effective communication throughout the process, can help you find candidates who will adapt to your specific culture more easily.

2. Self-Reflection

To make the best “fit,” both you and the candidate need to be aware of factors that contribute to fit – or ruin it.

While some candidates will hint at their awareness in their cover letter or other application materials, the best way to gauge a candidate’s awareness of their own values and work approach is through an interview. Questions like “What’s your ideal workplace?” or “Describe the best boss you ever had” can help you determine not only if the candidate is a good fit, but if the candidate is aware of the importance of that fit.

3. Best Practices

Conflicts between new candidates and the existing team can arise when the candidate’s concept of the right way to do something and the team’s are radically different. By seeking candidates who can describe the best practices of their previous workplaces and how they might introduce these to a new team, hiring managers achieve two goals: they learn how the candidate may handle the transition, and they hear about opportunities to improve their own processes.

4. Additional Perspectives

Even the most self-aware candidate is likely to have a blind spot. By speaking to references and conferring with your staffing partner, you can gain a more well-rounded perspective of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, providing additional information to help you make a confident choice.

How TERRA Can Help

At TERRA Staffing Group, we focus on understanding our clients’ internal cultures as unique ecosystems. We take the time to know candidates as people, not as lists of qualifications, so we can recommend a promising cultural fit every time. To learn more about our staffing services in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona, contact us today.

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