When companies put the time and energy into designing a unique, effective, and positive company culture, the efforts are reflected best through the employee experience. But where does that really start?

Even before a person becomes an employee, their experience with your company starts during the recruiting process. You can avoid the pitfalls of traditional recruiting and showcase your culture in a way that helps you choose the right fit for your workplace.

Here are four ways you can do that:

1. Highlight employee stories, not just the company's.

It's not easy for someone to understand what it's like to work for your organization without some firsthand insight from your employees. When I was a consultant at Zappos, one of our best-known projects was the creation of the Culture Book. This Culture Book was a collection of employees' definitions of the company's culture in their own words (one of my favorite submissions was from an engineer who wrote hers entirely in code). Good, bad, or ugly, we included it.

The book was made available to read for all employees and anyone in the world who wanted insight on the culture. It highlighted the individual 'why' behind the employees' reasons for being at Zappos and brought a transparent, honest perspective. In this age where employees and customers have a bigger voice than ever before, a sense of authenticity is valued higher than the best, perhaps superficial, 'face' you can put out there in the hiring process.

My organization uses the culture book as a tool for culture-building. We helped Century 21 Stores (C21 Stores) put together their first book and soon after, new hires started to cite it as a reason why they chose C21 Stores over other competing companies. The book alone made the impression that the leadership and organization genuinely cared about their people.

2. Set up meetings with their future teams in a less formal setting.

It's funny how managers get worried about how a new team member will fit in, but forget that true connectedness and friendship don't necessarily spark in a conference room. Have your potential new hires meet their teams at a cool coffee shop, at the swings in a nearby park, or while doing some sort of unusual activity (scavenger hunt, anyone?).

These inaugural moments are essentially first impressions from both sides so it's worth making them memorable since it marks the introduction to people who will hold a significant role in your new hire's life.

As much as we try to separate work from our personal life, it's really about work/life integration more than separation, or even balance. As these two worlds begin to integrate, mark it as a celebratory kickoff to new milestones ahead.

3. Stop asking them to take a test right after their in-person interview.

You've gotten your new hire super excited about their potential team and workplace, you've almost hooked them in. So don't ruin it by asking those same candidates to take a test right afterward to determine their personality traits or pass an intelligence benchmark. They already became emotionally invested in you, and now you've reminded them that it all might be for naught.

Most companies are getting the testing out of the way before the in-person interview, but if your hiring program isn't up-to-date then it's best to make that change soon. As you review your current program, see if you can introduce new kind of surveys that gauge for strengths and states of flow, like StrengthsFinder of Strengthscope. 

4. Don't just show your core values, show candidates how you live them.

One of my favorite examples of this is through a company called National Business Capital & Services. The organization implemented the practice of giving out 'WOW' cards. Each card has a company value on it and employees give these cards to one another when they are exemplifying a specific value. Not only does this provide peer-to-peer recognition but it also makes core values a part of everyday behaviors and conversations.

Why does this matter to your potential new hires? By showing how you recognize values in your employees, you are showing them how you treat employees as people with emotions, aspirations, and purpose, not just another cog in the factory.