Why are so many "successful" companies actually terrible places to work?

Because they default to hiring people who will get the job done, instead taking the time to find people who will get the job done while fitting into the company's culture.

At my company for example, we value positive energy.  That means we pass on lots of candidates who can do the job, but have a negative outlook or a snarky attitude.

But the good news is that it's easy to hire--and train your employees to hire--people who will both excel and fit into your company like they always belonged there.

Here's how:

1. Know your company's values--and use them

Corporate values are the guideposts of company culture. If your company values winning, then you more than likely have a competitive culture.

If your company values innovation, however, then you probably have a culture of risk taking.

It's important to be able to clearly articulate your company culture during the interview process. Too many executives, when asked to describe their company culture, use lame generalities like "fun" and "open," or say, "we have lots of happy hours and a ping pong table."

Whatever your culture, clearly identify it and make sure everyone in your company talks about it in the exact same way.

Great candidates care about culture and it's a red flag for them when everyone they interview with describes your company's culture in a different manner.

2. Identify suitable candidates

Before potential hires even get to the interview process, look for things on their resume that are aligned (or misaligned) with your culture.

For example, if you have a cut-throat culture of success by any means necessary, then maybe you're looking for things like, "I was the last woman standing in my department after seven rounds of layoffs."

3. Craft behavioral questions around culture

In the interview process, in addition to questions you'll ask to determine qualifications and aptitude, create behavioral questions based on your culture.

Behavioral questions are questions designed to dig into a person's prior professional behaviors. They have the benefit of being both conversational and intensely revealing.

To craft a behavioral question around culture, start with the opener: "tell me about a time when," then speak to the behavior you're specifically looking for. Here's where culture comes in. If your company values integrity for example, you might say: "Tell me about a time when your integrity in the workplace was being challenged. How did you react?"

Ask at least one behavioral question tailored to each of your company's values during the interview. By the end you'll have a great sense of whether or not they'll fit in with the rest of your team.

4. What happens when you get cultural fit wrong?

The consequences of getting a culture fit wrong can be damaging to both the business and its employees.

New hires who don't click well with their co-workers may become isolated, or worse, cause great employees to leave.

5. Getting it right brings rewards to your business

Taking the time to hire employees who share your values will ensure a happier, more productive work environment for everyone.

And as the boss, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you have created not just a business, but a culture.

Published on: Oct 4, 2016