3 ways to incorporate culture in your talent acquisition strategy

 In my previous blog, I highlighted the importance of incorporating culture into your recruiting and hiring processes.  I wanted to drill in a bit deeper to provide a step-by-step actionable approach to culture-centric talent acquisition.

Step 1: Make a list of the essential elements of your company culture.

This can include your vision, values, preferred behaviors and work styles, motivations, even the language, habits, and beliefs that fuel success at your organization. Many employers find it useful to write a sentence or two about each element. This helps capture why these things are important and how they support the success of the organization and its people. If your company values spirited debate, for example, that should be clearly stated along with why and what that term means to you.

Step 2: Map these cultural elements to your job descriptions.

In addition to spelling out the hard skills and previous experience required for a role, your job descriptions for talent acquisition should tie back to your company culture. You can achieve this by:

  • Identifying specific challenges candidates will face in getting the job done. This can provide real insight into your company culture and how work actually gets done. These challenges can relate to the preferred work style, communication skills, personality attributes, personal interests and motivations—anything that’s necessary for success in the job and at your company in general.
  • Describing how the job contributes to your company’s overall mission and success. This ensures new hires don’t go into their jobs disconnected from the bigger picture and from what drew them to your company in the first place. Having a clear understanding of how and why their contributions matter keeps them motivated and engaged in their day-to-day tasks.
  • Crafting a section of the job description that actually describes your culture. Remember, candidates are looking for an organization where they’ll fit in. Once you’ve given them the specifics of the job itself, tell them about your company culture, including your values, your mission, your leadership and managerial styles, what current employees love about working there, etc.
  • Asking current team members to collaborate on writing job descriptions. This is a great way to make certain your culture shines through in your job descriptions. Employees can speak from first-hand experience about the skills and attributes needed for success. If you allow them to do it in their authentic “voices,” it will speak volumes about your culture.

Step 3: Tie your culture to your candidate interviews.

To achieve this step, you must ensure that every recruiter and hiring manager has a clear grasp of your company culture. That’s why Step 1 (making an actual culture-related list) is so critical. Without a clear and uniform understanding among your talent acquisition recruiters and hiring managers, gut instinct and cultural disconnects can easily creep in, which undermines the entire process.

To tie your culture to your interviewing process:

  • Openly discuss your company culture during the interview. As stated above, candidates want to find an organization where they’ll feel comfortable and fit in. Use your culture list to talk about the company’s values, preferred styles of collaborating and communicating, the habits of successful employees, and the like. Also consider addressing issues such as the company’s approach to career development, opportunities for reach assignments and personal development, and work-life balance.
  • Ask questions that probe around issues of culture. These questions might include: What drew you to our company? Why are you interested in this job? What kind of work environment do you prefer? Which management styles do you like to work under? What type of culture do you thrive in personally? What concerns would you have coming into this job and this company?
  • Ask questions about the candidate’s own values and motivations. These kinds of questions might include: What kind of work gives you meaning and satisfaction? What excites you most about this job? Is there something that excites you most about this company? What was your best job and why? Who was your best boss and why? How many hours do you normally work each week? How do you handle pressure, periods of heavy workload, and personal conflict?
  • Encourage candidates to ask your interviewers questions in return. Questions from candidates can be every bit as insightful as their answers to your questions. Often their questions will help you assess how well they’ll fit into their prospective teams. And whether they’ll thrive or struggle under a specific manager. But just as frequently, their questions can help you discern whether they truly are personally aligned with your organization and not just interested in securing a job.

The bottom line

Your recruiters and hiring managers want to make high-quality hires. They want to bring in people who have the greatest chance of success. And who will sustain high levels of performance, job satisfaction, and retention. Hiring for culture fit empowers all of that—but it isn’t without its risks.

When done incorrectly (by placing too much emphasis on personality type, for example), it can reinforce conscious and unconscious biases among recruiters and hiring managers, hamper diversity, and limit your organization’s potential. When done correctly, however, hiring for culture fit considers the candidate as a whole and in the context of your unique and specific work environment.

In its best practice, hiring for culture fit is a progressive endeavor, one that embraces the notion of “culture add” by identifying and welcoming people from a spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. After all, these are the individuals who can fill critical gaps and move your culture forward.

Learn more about how Dynamics 365 for Talent can help your organization improve talent acquisition, hire top talent, and enable their success from our demonstration experience.

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