When it comes to hiring, a candidate may tick all the boxes in terms of their ‘job fit’, but how do you know that they’ll get along with other members of your team? In some instances, even a first class candidate with the right skills and professional qualifications can turn out to be a bad hire. It may be that they upset colleagues or simply don’t align with the organisation’s way of doing things.

A poor recruitment decision can lead to several negative consequences, for instance, reduced moral, reduced productivity, and higher attrition. On top of this, evidence suggests that the greater the ‘fit’ of an individual, the higher the level of employee engagement, and we’ve blogged before on the benefits that this can bring.

So how can you assess candidates for cultural fit?

1.      Define your organisation’s values – It’s likely that your company already has core values in place, but if they’re not widely recognised, think about the words used to describe the culture, for example ‘competitive’, ‘innovative’, ‘team orientated’ and ‘achievement orientated’.

2.       Connect your values with the competencies in the assessment process – Ensure that you include culture – the way things are done as well as the behaviours that are unacceptable – in the assessment process. Competency models can be effective in assessment, but they should be combined with tools that also assess cultural fit.

3.       Communicate with internal and external suppliers – Liaise with recruitment agencies and media agencies so that their contributions match your organisation’s image and values. For instance, if one of your values is ‘intimacy/listening to customers’, ensure that the process is two-way, perhaps including human interaction through a telephone interview at an early stage.

4.       Spend some time on marketing – Remember that there are multiple places for potential applicants to find out about your organisation, for instance your website, social media channels, friends and family. Ensure that each of these routes will match with your messages and values.

5.       Review your assessment process – Throughout the process, there are different opportunities for applicants to gain an insight into your organisation – both directly and indirectly. These opportunities, such email wording or speed of response, should all reflect your values and culture.

6.       Create an effective induction process – The focus on values should not stop at the recruitment stage. Throughout the onboarding process, you should be looking to continue to reflect your organisation’s vision so that your new employee can settle in and become part of the team. And this should carry on throughout their career.

Many companies spend time, money and resources on putting a fully defined and structured selection process in place, with the aim to increase the speed and efficiency of hiring. However, to ensure there is cultural fit, a greater focus should be given on reviewing your values and integrating them into the selection process. It’s vital to get it right to ensure you have the best talent in your organisation. Skills can be developed, but cultural fit should be identified in the first instance.