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Hiring For Culture Fit

Something every business leader or hiring manager should consider is hiring for personality and culture fit rather than a desired skillset. Companies should hire the right people…intelligent people, people who can empathize with others…people who can cultivate and maintain meaningful client relationships. Hiring for personality not only strengthens your company internally, but saves it money on costly turnovers and positions it for long-term success.
At LaSalle, we look for candidates that are hard-working, intelligent, determined, fun-loving and genuinely nice people. We’ve found these candidates fit best in our culture and thrive in the organization. Every company’s culture is different, so it’s important to identify the type of culture you have and what type of person strengthens it. Remember, it’s not all about skills, it’s about what drives an individual…their ability to self-evaluate, their sense of right and wrong, and ultimately their willingness to challenge the status quo.
Hiring for personality and culture fit ensures new employees are compatible with their peers and encourages the development of strong internal relationships. It ensures clients relationships remain in good hands as these individuals are willing to go the extra mile for a client and do the right thing, rather than taking a shortcut to make more money. They are willing to invest the time to understand the client’s
desires and goals. They get to know their client’s interests, hobbies and significant other’s name. They demonstrate a genuine interest in the life of their clients and help develop the relationship, leading to more business down the road.
Asking “unconventional” questions during the interview can help identify candidates that are a culture fit. These questions are meant to catch the candidate off guard and gauge how they handle uncomfortable situations. These questions aren’t related to past performance or their educational background, but questions about family, friends, hobbies, etc. All new hires should also pass the airplane test, meaning that you need to be able to sit next to that person for four hours and actually enjoy your time with them. If you can confidently say that they would pass this test, they may be the right fit.
Use unusual interviewing tactics as another personality test to catch the candidates off guard and see how their professional persona holds up. For example, when I’m interviewing a candidate I’ll have someone interrupt the interview to ask me a question. I’ll then introduce the candidate to that person and take note of that interaction. Does the candidate stand up, shake their hand and introduce themselves? This interruption shows me how they’re going to interact with our clients and how they view the first impression and first interaction with other people.
Sometimes the resumes don’t match the job descriptions entirely, but the candidate seems like a great culture fit. That’s why it’s important to consider the soft skills. Hiring managers need to be creative in how they go about hiring, and realize that soft skills matter. Don’t become pigeonholed into thinking the person with the exact necessary experience is the right person for the role. For instance, someone might have been in a totally different career, like engineering or computer science, but the analytical skills they have might be beneficial to the job. Ask yourself if that candidate with an art history major could be a good fit for the sales position. Once you start to think this way, you remove the blinders so many hiring managers have
on. If you don’t, you could miss out quality candidates.
Tom Gimbel is the President and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing firm based in Chicago. Founded in 1998, LaSalle has served thousands of clients and candidates, placing job seekers in temporary, temporary-to-permanent and permanent positions. LaSalle Network was an Inner City 100 winner in 2011 and 2013. LaSalle Network has also been listed on Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America list for the past seven years, named by Staffing Industry Analysts’ as a top five “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” from 2011 through 2013, and among the “Fastest Growing Staffing Firms” in 2012 and 2013.

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