One of the things that we’ve tried really hard to do over the last couple years as a company is to recruit for culture. When I say that, I mean we’ve spent a lot more time recently talking to people about:
- who they are
- what they want to do long term
- what kind of work environment do they prefer to work in
While this is something we are looking at now more than we ever have previously, we obviously still do a technical interview where we make sure the people can do the job. The difference is that the technical interview is really considered just a gateway at this point. We spend a lot more time on fit then we do anything else. The first interview which is to get the person through the technical gate is usually conducted by whoever on staff is going to have them working for them or going to be working closely with them. They conduct the preliminary interview which is probably 60%- 70% can you do the job and even there, there’s a part of it that is seeing how they respond to things and seeing if they send back a thank you afterwards. As I mentioned before we are looking to see if this person will fit into our organization, will they get along with current staff, and for someone who shows basic good people skills. We want people that are considerate, the people that do all of the things that you learned in kindergarten very well. We are also concerned with what you learned in college but if you missed those lessons in kindergarten, we may not hire you just because it’s too hard to work in an environment where it’s all about solely the technical part of things.
I can see maybe in some larger environments where the technical may trump other things because it’s the thing that’s most easily measureable. Maybe once you hit a certain size of organization some of that corporate culture is diluted. I myself don’t tend to believe that though because I’ve worked in some very large organizations that have very strong corporate cultures but I could see how it could happen. I just know that for us and for ours, one of the most important things that we look for is that ability a person shows that they’re going to be able to fit in and work with us and show that they can be a true teammate. We’re not looking for individual star performers or somebody who is solely focused on their own achievements because that doesn’t work very well in team environments. So we engage heavily to figure out what types of things are they interested in and what are they interested in most about the types of people that they work with because you can pick up clues there about how and if they value teamwork and collaboration. I’m very curious to hear about what other people look for as they interview and how they go about maintaining corporate culture in their own organizations.
This seems to jive with the research shared in books like “Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive” and “Good to Great” (First Who, Then What). Good reminder, Joshua.
At the last division I worked for it was very much about fit of the person. We had made some hiring mistakes in the past and didn’t want to repeat that mistake again! We were very careful to make sure we hired people whose personality complimented the other team members and who would promote the culture of our division. There was a lot more employee satisfaction, a much greater amount of work being completed and far less employee issues. I now work in a group that hired only on technical aspects – much less employee satisfaction and a lot more personell issues.
I have interviewed with companies that did psychological tests as part of interview, handwriting analysis, interviewed by whole department for fit. I have to say that I was much happier working in those places when I was hired because the culture was better.
Gov job went strictly by how I filled out my resume, no interviews for any of my jobs. Just a call that I qualified and did I want the job. I understand that this can avoid discrimination but not much goes into determining if it is a good fit. Sorry to say that I have seen a lot of people who do not play well with others.
Worse is when they get promoted so the current employer can get rid of them, so they are recommended to any possible hiring agency. Now they are supervising with no people skills. Too many managers do not want to go through the necessary steps to remove the person or try to improve their interaction with others. This is where better hiring measures will really help.
If you have ever had to work around a person who is violent or any destructive mental qualities it is very bad for all those who have to work with them. They know their jobs, but you can barely work from fear, not knowing what will set them off.
Thanks for the great feedback! I’ll have to take a look for “Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive.”