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Using culture to make smart hiring decisions
In today’s modern world, culture is something that is talked about constantly. It is a crucial aspect of the hiring process although it is almost impossible to accurately measure. As headhunters, it is always interesting to witness the perceived vs actual culture of an organisation and influence recruitment decisions accordingly to get the best outcome.
Experience dictates that in each country companies operate in different ways. If you are Japanese, American, French, Indian or Australian you will have cultural differences in what is considered to be the norm within a working environment. It is our role to ensure that all parties know what to expect.
There are so many companies with a massive disparity between perceived culture and reality. In almost all cases this leads to low levels of engagement and a very high turnover of staff. If your company operates as a hard sales environment, don’t dress it up to be anything else. Providing you remunerate your staff appropriately, you will attract the right people to your business. If you pretend to be otherwise in order to attract a broader, less aggressive and more diverse staff base, don’t be surprised when those people leave.
Turning up to a trendy Shoreditch start-up in a suit would be equally disruptive as wearing board shorts to a City bank. Whilst dress code and foosball tables may provide some indication, ultimately the challenges of identifying organisational culture are much broader.
Interview for a cultural fit
Define your culture
Don’t rush hiring decisions
Just because you think you have met the perfect candidate, don’t immediately offer them the job after stage one. Meet them a couple of times and get a second opinion. Take them out for an informal drink or meal to get to know them personally. You will be spending a lot of time with them in the future, so ask other members of your team to meet them too, as it’s always great to get the views of others they will be working with.
Conduct a thorough recruitment process
Ensure the role is clearly defined
Don’t make assumptions
Don’t lie to the candidate about what to expect
The key defining factor of any company’s culture is the people who are hired. Whilst it is easy for any business to simply write down what they would like the working environment to be, ultimately that is decided by the employees. Through consistently smart hiring decisions, ensuring all parties understand the working environment and supportive action from the management team, companies will develop a culture they are proud of. For exactly the same reason, a company will always end up with the culture it deserves.
When you are looking to appoint board directors into a business, very often you may be looking to change the organisational culture. This will come from the top, but will be extremely difficult and not without challenges or risks. You will be hiring them to drive that change and therefore it is crucial to have clarity around their cultural and personal values, ensuring they are in line with the changes you are planning to implement.
If you are looking to make an executive hire and would like to discuss how we can assist with finding the best candidate for the position, please do get in touch.
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