Skills and professional experience aren’t the only things you should seek when hiring an employee. Finding a cultural fit is a key, too, and it can make or break the success of your team. Generally, when someone fits in at their workplace, it leads to greater job satisfaction, higher employee engagement, improved job performance and higher retention rates. What employer wouldn’t want that? In the Q&A session below, ITAC’s Chief Administrative Officer, Charles Baughman, weighs in on the impact of cultural fit on hiring decisions and company performance:
Q: How do you define company culture?
A: To me, it’s the collective evolution of how a company conducts itself, with respect to its employees, its customers, and all other stakeholders. Culture includes a company’s vision, its core values (the real ones, not the aspirational ones) and its purpose, which are also often manifested in the physical attributes of employee work spaces. For example, if a company truly values collaboration, work spaces and technology solutions should be available to foster open communication.
Q: How do you describe ITAC’s culture?
A: We’re a sales organization, so there’s a definite air of competitiveness, but it is tempered with the real service aspect of our purpose. We’re constantly faced with the “perfect tension” between finding the right job for our candidates and finding the right candidate for our client-companies. At the end of the day, if we’ve been able to improve the lives of our clients and candidates through connecting the two, we’ve been successful. That being said, ITAC’s culture is centered around quickly finding the best matches (which is about “quality”) between candidates and client companies. Our real passion for building lasting relationships and connections makes this possible.
Q: When interviewing a candidate, what is the best way to determine if he/she would be a good fit for a company’s culture?
A: First of all, it’s important to make sure every person involved in the interview process shares the same understanding of the company’s core values. Anything to the contrary can result in differing thoughts about which candidates really fit the culture and whether they should be invited to join the team. Once everyone is on the same page with the core values, developing interview questions that solicit candidates’ perspectives on those values will help interviewers determine “fit.” Generally-speaking, interview questions that begin with “Tell me about a time” or “When ‘x’ happened, what was your response?” can get to the heart of a candidate’s behaviors and thoughts.
Q: Why is it important that a candidate is a good cultural fit at a company?
A: Fit is everything short of the candidate’s skills, competencies and abilities they’ll use to deliver on the hard expectations of their job. We know our clients and candidates expect us to not only find “skill” and “financial” matches but fit as well. That’s the intangible aspect of our jobs that a matching algorithm still hasn’t mastered.
Q: How does fitting in impact a candidate’s/employee’s experience?
A: For an existing team, bringing someone onto the team who reflects the existing values of the team makes for a much faster bonding experience and keeps employees focused on their purpose. Employees with misaligned values or purpose will inevitably find dissatisfaction in their choice to work somewhere OR they’ll make everyone they work with miserable. In the meantime, stakeholders and customers can become victims of a poor “fit” match.
Q: How does a company’s culture impact its performance?
A: If company culture aligns with its leaders and employees, everyone agrees on the way the company operates. If everyone shares the vision, has similar core values dictating how they operate when no one is looking, and feels supported by those in leadership, the company’s performance is much more likely to result in success!
With our strategic approach, ITAC strives to improve lives by connecting candidates with the right client companies. To do this, we invest in getting to know both our candidates and client companies. We look beyond a candidate’s skills and experience to determine what unique traits make them a great match for a certain company. Once we’ve done this, the result is a quality cultural fit between a person and a position.
ITAC Solutions is a recruiting firm headquartered in Birmingham with additional offices in Atlanta, Huntsville, Mobile and Nashville. ITAC specializes in the temporary, contract, and direct placement of accounting, information technology, corporate and administrative professionals.