Company culture is one of the top considerations for today's applicants. If you want rock star talent, your culture needs to reach rock star status. Yet, many founders neglect to consider the culture they're creating, and that's a damaging and costly oversight.
The result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person's annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). A savvy CEO can define and articulates a complete understanding of their company's values, goals, and practices. When woven into the hiring process, this understanding better ensures an outstanding fit between the organization and its employees.
"There is still a huge disconnect between making hiring decisions based on culture fit, rather than hiring someone who just looks good on paper," says Adam Robinson, CEO and Chief Hireologist at online hiring platform, Hireology. "Hiring managers tend to put an emphasis on experience without considering whether a candidate will truly fit in the company's culture. This leads to hiring someone who looks great on paper, but ends up alienating other employees or doesn't perform to expectations."
Robinson suggests that a behavioral interview will evaluate applicants on the four so-called super elements: attitude, sense of accountability, past-related job success, and culture fit. This ranking is an effective tool in determining the right hiring decision.
Here are Robinson's interview tips for a behavioral interview to help you make the best possible hires:
1. Use questions that elicit genuine responses.
Chances are an applicant knows that you're going to ask them, "what would you say are your greatest weaknesses," and chances are that applicant has a pre-rehearsed answer. What does that tell you about the candidate? Try asking the same types of question but in a different way. For example, "what is the biggest misconception people have of you?" Their answer will demonstrate their level of self-awareness and will likely result in a more genuine response.
2. Read between the lines.
When conducting a behavioral interview, a hiring manager can learn more about a candidate by reading between the lines of their answers. Though it may sound cliché, hiring managers have to master the art of evaluating the way a candidate responds to an interview question. Take for example asking an applicant about a past project that went wrong. They are more apt to give a brief overview of the project and how they handled the situation. You'll learn more about the candidate by positioning your question in a different tone. An example question would be asking them to think about a past project that went wrong and ask them to hone in on what went wrong, whose fault was it, and what could they have done differently.
3. Dive deep into culture fit.
The first part of any interview process should explain the company culture to the candidate and ask them if they can visualize themselves as part of the team. Start with, "what part of our culture interests you the most?" and have them elaborate. Then, ask the candidate to describe the worst company culture they worked in and gauge their response on how they coped with that type of environment. Ultimately, the best way to hire based on culture fit is to compare the candidate's career to the company's core values. Make a list of the most important values and ask questions based on that list, whether it be self-awareness, ability to work independently or with a team, etc.
4. Understand the super elements:
A person's attitude related to his or her performance at work. Studies show that a person's satisfaction with their career stays relatively stable over time, even when changing jobs or companies. That implies attitude is innate and can be screened during the interview process. If a candidate recalls a positive outlook on past experiences, he or she will most likely be a better performer at work - no matter the job.
- Sense of accountability
The interviewer can determine a person's sense of accountability by whether the applicant portrays an internal or external locus of control. The prevailing theory on an internal locus of control is positively related to job performance--in any role. Those who feel they have direct control over their environment or situation tend to perform better than those who attribute personal outcomes to external factors, such as luck or fate. The locus of control is now being looked at as one of the strongest innate predictors of job success.
- Past-related job success
The past is the best predictor of future behavior. The interviewer should ask questions about how the candidate performed certain tasks in the past that they will be required to do in the future, if hired. Determining past behavior can be difficult to gauge, but past-related job success is a much better predictor of future behavior. It's more effective because it takes context into consideration. For example, if the context of the person's past job closely matches the context of the future job, then a candidate who met or exceeded goals in the past is likely to achieve similar goals in the future.
- Culture fit
Research shows a strong relationship between the extent to which an individual is a match with their work environment and their subsequent job performance. Culture fit may seem subjective, but measuring it can be quite simple. It's a matter of evaluating the degree to which a candidate shares similar values with the organization and demonstrates an authentic interest in the job at hand.