Cultural Fit: Assessing If a Company’s Culture Is Right for You

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These days, everyone seems to be talking about cultural fit.

Many blogs you’ll see, however, focus on cultural fit from the employer’s point of view. It’s not often that people talk about cultural fit from the candidate’s perspective.

That being said: cultural fit for employees is important, if not essential. Getting acclimated to the culture of the company you want to work for can make or break your experience with the company. Even if you’re exceptionally qualified, a poor cultural fit can turn a great offer sour very quickly.

Today, we’re going to go over a few key tips for assessing what kind of company culture is right for you. Take a look below:

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Employers: Hiring Employees Who Care (Part II)

looking up at skyscrapers

Yesterday, we gave you several reasons why you should hire employees who really care about their job.

As we mentioned, hiring passionate employees can bring a lot of benefits to a company. From the strive for excellence and progress, to an employee’s personal investment in the company, all of these things can help enhance the overall success of your company.

But finding passionate employees isn’t always that easy. As a hiring manager, it can require a little detective work to sift through all of the candidates, especially when everyone can simply say, “Yes, I am passionate.”

To lead you in the right direction, here are a few tips that can help you pick out the right (read: passionate) candidates for the job. Take look below:

Assess cultural fit

Cultural fit may determine exactly whether an individual is passionate or not, but it will help make things easier for you. By comparing the values of your candidates to employees who you already know are passionate, you can get a better idea of where they stand in terms of commitment. If you happen to see the same drive and characteristics in them as you do in your employees, then it is safe to say that you are at least heading in the right direction.

An extraordinary interview

The interview is usually the first serious one-on-one conversation where you will be able to gauge their passion. With that in mind, here are a few things to look for.

  • They ask a lot of questions and aren’t afraid to share their opinions. A lot of interviews typically consist of the hiring manager asking all of the questions and the candidate answering back with planned answers, but that’s not the case when it comes to a candidate who is passionate about the job.

    Look for people who aren’t afraid to share their opinions, whether it has to do with their personal assessment of the industry, how they believe they can enhance your company, and more. An interview with them should feel like you are being interviewed by the candidate as well.

  • They make a great sell. Above all, a candidate who is passionate about the position is also more likely to try to sell themselves (i.e. their qualities and characteristics) compared to the average candidate. This is a good sign because it shows that they are persistent and truly believe they are the right candidate for the job. That kind of drive is a great quality to have in any employee.

What do you think about hiring passionate employees? Is it important to your company? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: swisscan via photopin cc

Ways to Help You Manage Problem Employees (Part II)

Yesterday, we started talking a few ways to help you manage problematic employees. As we mentioned, one essential component to understanding how to deal with difficult employees is figuring out what kind of difficult employee they are.

We already gave you the “procrastinator” and the “hot shot.” Today, we will give you a few more. Take a look below: 

  • The martyr. The “My gosh, I have to do everything around here.” There is nothing wrong with taking one for the team, until it becomes a nasty habit. The martyrs often overwork themselves to the point of burnt out. In turn, you not only end up potentially losing an employee due to the risk of dissatisfaction, but the work they put in will most likely be less than satisfactory because they are spread so thin.

    The solution: Tread lightly with these types, but don’t be afraid to tell them no. Explain to them that you are glad they are so willing to take things on, but that you want to make sure they aren’t doing so at the cost of their own well being. As a leader, it is your job to delegate tasks and ensure everyone receives a fair workload.

  • The poor fit. Cultural fit is pretty important in our book, but it doesn’t always end up being a priority among recruiters and hiring managers. In turn, you may end up having an employee who is well-qualified for the job, but doesn’t necessarily work well with others on the team.

    The solution: Situations like these sometimes require a bit of tricky maneuvering on your part; if you see qualities in the employee that you would like to influence the company culture, then you need to support them and their characteristics. On the other hand, if worse comes to worst, you may need to let them go.

  • The pessimist. A negative attitude can spread like wild fire if not taken care of right away.

    The solution: It’s best to confront the pessimist either in the act or immediately afterward, explaining to them how their attitude affects the your team and the company as a whole.

  • The lazy one. The “I only do as much as I need to get by.” These employees typically put in only a minimal amount of work, causing much frustration among their peers who have to pick up the slack.

    The solution: Focus on explaining the negative impact that their carelessness is having on the team and overall productivity of the company. You may also try motivating them by rewarding those who are putting in the extra time and effort and picking up their slack.

Do any of these employees sound familiar to you? How did you handle the situation? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

3 Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself In an Interview

Interviewing may seem like a no-brainer–you simply ask whatever comes to mind as the most relevant question to the position or your company.

But in reality, interviewing is much more than going off the cuff or worse, reading off of a list of generic interview questions. Interviewing requires you to keep up to date with the values and needs of the employees you are looking for, as not doing so can result in a bad hire, which can cause a lot of trouble for you and your company.

So to get you thinking about updating your interview questions, here are 3 questions you should be asking yourself when it comes to the interviewing process:

1. When was the last time you updated your interview questions?

First things first, if you aren’t asking yourself this question regularly, then you ought to start doing so.

Sure, some interview questions are classics, such as “What do you know about our company so far?,” or “What questions do you have for me?” But beyond that, your interview questions should be updated frequently. If you’re still looking at that word document for Gen X’s from Windows 95 or before, then it’s probably time you start considering questions for recruiting Millenials, or even the up and coming Generation Z.

2. Are you asking about social media and technology?

If your company is now heavily relying on technology or has the made the jump into social media, your interview questions should reflect that. Consider asking questions like:

You may even want to consider preparing yourself to answer a few of the interviewee’s questions about social media.

3. Are you asking for specifics?

Asking about specifics is certainly not new. But as your questions begin to get outdated, they also are likely becoming more generic as your company evolves.

Here’s what you can do:

Asking yourself these questions can do a lot to make sure that you are getting the right people and the best talent around. If you have any questions or comments, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’re always happy to hear from you!

Recruiting Millennials: Overcoming Stereotypes

There’s been a lot of buzz lately concerning the rising number of Millennials in the job market–and how employers can go about recruiting millennials.

As this next generation makes its way onto the scene, it brings with it a new set of values, aspirations and expectations. Previous generations, however, are not exactly thrilled by their younger counterparts, pegging the Millennial generation as “entitled, self-obsessed and unprepared for the realities of adult life,” and their alleged poor work ethic and laziness are said to be the cause of much frustration among managers and co-workers.

But let’s face it: the presence of Millennials in the workplace isn’t going away anytime soon—eventually they will make up a large percentage of the workforce (about 36% by 2014 and 46% by 2020)—and these generational stereotypes often don’t reflect the talent and potential that Millennials posses.

Below, we’ve compiled a couple of stereotypes about Millennials that are thrown around the workplace, and how you as an employer can overcome these stereotypes and start recruiting Millennials:

The Stereotype: Millennials Are Technology-Obsessed

When being interviewed, 64% of Millennials ask about social media policies and about 24% say it would be a key factor in accepting a job offer, so it probably goes without saying that a majority of Millennials place a high value on social media and technology.

The Solution

This isn’t necessarily a negative stereotype, or one that you really need to overcome–since you may not want to change your policies on the use of social media in the workplace. However, when it comes to recruiting, you should take advantage of this tech-obsessed generation by increasing your online presence through the use of social media and other online tools.

The Stereotype: Millennials Have High Expectations or Lack Company Loyalty

Millennials are said to have too high of expectations when it comes to finding a career that allows them to live up to their personal aspirations. Being raised with idea that “self-esteem is the key to success” has led them to believe that they can do anything they put their minds to. Here are a few facts about millennials that are related to this stereotype:

  • About 84% of Millennials place a higher value on making a positive difference in the world over professional recognition.
  • The Center for Women and Business at Bentley University reports that “less than two percent identify a colleague at work or an employer or supervisor as the person who encourages them to pursue their professional aspirations.”
  • About 24% of Millennials are dissatisfied with their current job (compared to the 14% of Generation X employees and 18% of Baby Boomers), leading to another stereotype: that Millennials lack company loyalty.
  • On average, Boomers hold their jobs for about 7 years; Generation X: 5 Years; as for Millennials? Only about 2.3 years.

Some of these qualities–especially how long Millennials hold their jobs–can be frustrating, especially when you consider the costs of hiring an employee. And while there may be some truth to this stereotype, there are ways to overcome this.

The Solution

As we mentioned, there is some truth to the stereotype about Millennials having a sense of entitlement. But with the job market being as volatile as it has been these past few years, it’s also true that finding meaningful employment has been much harder for some in this generation than in generations past.

A good way to ensure that any Millennials you hire ‘get over’ this sense of entitlement? For one, ensure that an employee is the right cultural fit. Finding the right person will lessen the chance of a dissatisfied employee and save you the headache of starting the hiring process all over again. Though it’s sometimes hard to overcome high expectations, taking the time to hire the right person will greatly increase the chance of mutual satisfaction for you and your employees.

Millennials aren’t going away anytime soon, and by overcoming these stereotypes early on in the recruiting process, you can secure the top talent that’s right for you. To learn more about how AIM Careerlink can provide you with the right tools for finding the best talent around, get in touch with us through our website or on Twitter.

Cultural Fit: Are You Doing It Right?

A recent blog post by CEB, the world’s leading member-based advisory company, showed a pretty staggering statistic.

In a survey they conducted of thousands of hiring managers worldwide, they found that hiring managers admitted that 20% of their team shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. Hiring managers they surveyed said that their team thought that one in five new hires were a “bad” or “regretted” decision.

And given the outrageous cost of hiring a bad employee, it’s essential to make sure that you do everything in your power to ensure that new hires are fit for your company, both in terms of skills and culture.

But how do you do that? How can you know whether you’re going about figuring out cultural fit the right or the wrong way?

Here are a few dos (and don’ts) for determining cultural fit:

  • Do assess cultural fit before hiring. Even if you don’t think that cultural fit is all that important, you should still give it some consideration in your interview process. Cultural fit (i.e., teammates who get along with each other and can work well) is an important element of business success, and leaving it out could have negative consequences.
  • Don’t rely on talent alone when hiring new candidates. Finding real talent is essential when making new hires. But the dynamics of your team and business are also important. Find talent, and then assess cultural fit, but don’t rely on talent alone to get new candidates through.
  • Do figure out your own culture. In order to adequately assess the cultural fit of new hires, it’s essential to understand your own. Ask yourself questions like “How do we get our work done–collaboratively, independently, or both,” or “do we provide flexible work hours, or is everyone on a set schedule?” Figuring out how you work will help you articulate your culture to others.
  • Don’t “wing it” when explaining your company. This is true for a lot of things during the interview process, but if you go in underprepared, expect to be sorely disappointed. If you expect to be able to “wing it” when you’re explaining–and asking about–your culture, you may be surprised when it comes time to assess a candidate. By being clear and prepared you can be much more effective in evaluating a candidate’s cultural fit.
  • Do interview for values separately. An interesting suggestion that we’ve heard is to interview for values separately. That is, have one interview for things like skills and work history, and another for values and cultural fit. By separating interviews off into sections, you can be more focused about what you learn and how candidates fit in with what you’re looking for.
  • Don’t expect everything to happen all at once. Finally, when assessing cultural fit, don’t expect everything to happen all at once. While it would be great to walk out of a half-hour interview knowing everything there is to know about a job seeker, the reality is that such a situation is extremely unlikely to happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for follow-up interviews, questions, or concerns. While you may spend more time and resources up-front interviewing candidates, the reward of hiring the right person will be great.

As we’ve mentioned before, hiring is often an imperfect art. But just because hiring may be an imperfect process doesn’t mean that you can neglect doing basic things that will help improve the quality of your new candidates.

Talent is important. In fact, it’s essential. But a new candidate’s talent could be overshadowed if they’re a poor cultural fit for your company. At the same time, you should never rely on cultural fit alone when hiring a new candidate. Having a team who gets along well does nothing for you if they don’t possess the skills needed to succeed within your business.

But whatever you do, you should make sure that you take cultural fit into consideration while doing interviews–the money and time you save (and the great new talent you’ll get) will make it all worth it.

AIM Careerlink can help you find the right talent for your open positions. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you get the best talent around, get in touch with us through our website or on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.