The great interview hoax: It’s not just about experience

Your company’s rapid growth calls for a hiring spree, and you receive hundreds of job inquiries from qualified candidates with all the right experience. Seems like a walk in the park, since you have a large talent pool at your fingertips. Although these resumes seem impressive, they may not indicate a fit for your company’s culture, which indicates you must be strategic to find the right talent.

Performance is dependent on your greatest asset: talent. Smart companies treat their employees as their first customer and provide a competitive employee experience, because loyal employees that are attentive to customers’ needs create lifelong customers.

With the current economic state, customer retention is crucial, which is why strategic hiring should be first priority.

In a recent Inc.com article, 3 Interview Questions That Reveal Everything, Jeff Haden reveals three simple interview questions that uncover whether a job candidate is the right fit for your corporate culture. If someone is not a great culture fit for your organization, then they probably will not last, regardless of their skillsets.

These questions pertain directly to each job held by the candidate, and specifically indicate positive or negative cultural attributes pertaining to teamwork, relationship building, individual motivations, and ability to take ownership:

  1. How did you find out about the job?
  • A candidate who typically finds his/her job through general job postings instead of alternative approaches (networking or applying to the company website) is probably just looking for a job; often, any job. This person probably isn’t that eager to work for you, but the job will do for now – until something else comes along. This is a retention red flag
  • Also, if the person never found out about a job through networking or previous colleagues, then they probably do not have strong relationship building skills. This is a poor indication of a culture fit for your company, because chances are that this person will not build relationships with anyone at your organization, either
  1. What did you like about the job before you started?
  • A candidate that is unable to specifically answer the question, and instead uses general descriptions like “great opportunity” or “next step in my career” probably lacks individual motivation. If someone lacks individual motivation, then they probably will be uninspired by their teammates and become disengaged as a result
  • Top employees don’t work hard for their salaries, they work hard because they appreciate their work environment and enjoy what they do (salaries are part of our basic needs and are a general component of compensation)
  • Top employees know what kind of environment they thrive in, and they will be able to describe it. A culture fit for your organization will be able to passionately tell you, in detail, what they did or did not like about their previous job
  1. Why did you leave?
  • People leave for all kinds of reasons: a better opportunity or more money. Other times, people leave jobs because of disagreeable managers or coworkers
  • The key takeaway is an employee that takes ownership over situations will have a great sense of teamwork and responsibility, even if they didn’t see eye to eye with others
  • Candidates that consistently blame their bosses and fail to take ownership most likely will carry this trait to their next job. This is a major red flag with respect to culture fit; it’s acceptable to make mistakes and learn from them, as long as the person can describe what went wrong and understand how they can improve as an individual (regardless of a bad boss)

If you hire only based on experience, qualifications, and skills, then you may miss a key component for your workplace: talent compatibility and culture fit. It’s important to ask questions that directly relate to employee behavior and motivations. Skills can be taught; however, top talent has an inherent need to perform and achieve based on their desire to succeed. So it’s necessary to dig a little deeper and find the best fit for your workforce.

With respect to interviews, what do you think is the most effective method to determine culture fit for an organization?

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