It goes without saying that finding a technically competent professional is a crucial part of the hiring process. You don’t want to go through the trouble of adding a new member to your team, only to find they don’t actually have the knowledge base to do their new job successfully. However, now more than ever, you’ll want to look beyond just what this person knows in order to ensure the hiring choice is a wise one from a cultural fit standpoint.
Considering whether a person would blend in well with your business ensures that you’re creating an office full of positive, productive energy. To hire for both skills and cultural fit simultaneously, weave your company’s mission statement into the hiring process. Here are some tips on doing so successfully:
Make it a point to define your mission statement
It sounds obvious, but many businesses shy away from defining their mission statement because leadership isn’t exactly sure what it should entail. They might fear the philosophy they’ve come up with isn’t sufficient enough, believing that it needs to be especially profound.
In reality, the statement can be short or long; heavy or humorous. There are no hard and fast rules about what makes a mission statement work. It just needs to feel authentic to your business and its employees.
When you develop a mission statement, stay committed to it
It’s easy to sit in a conference room with your company’s top brass and eventually develop a mission statement that packs a punch. It’s also easy to let that mission statement become a meaningless pile of words that hangs in the form of a framed picture in the wall of your business’s lobby.
Remain committed to your mission statement, and carry it through the day-to-day happenings. From the deals you make to the kinds of clients you pick up and the way you present yourself within the community, always keep a focus on the vision and values that drive your company. It’s easy to stray from this philosophy in the chaos of daily business happenings, but circling back and remembering what your brand stands for is an important part of keeping your company on track in the long-run.
Once you’ve created a mission statement that accurately reflects exactly what your business stands for, here are some tips on keeping that philosophy as a focal point of your hiring process:
Weave the mission statement into your company’s materials
If upper management has spent a significant amount of time crafting a mission statement that drives that particular brand, it only makes sense to publicize this philosophy. Highlight your mission statement, emphasize how it plays into day-to-day operations in your company, and why it matters directly on your business’s website. This is often one of the first places a potential employee will look as they gather information about your business before coming in for an interview, so informing them about the mission statement early is valuable.
Also incorporate the mission statement into the job description you write for the open position. If you’re treating a job description as an afterthought, you’re doing a disservice to your company and to potential new hires. Spend the time necessary to create a thoughtful, detailed job description, and you’ll find hiring is easier because candidates come in knowing what to expect.
When you put effort into your job description, you’re less likely to get a severe disconnect between the type of person you’re hoping to hire and the type of person who actually applies.
Seek out the type of employee whose values align with yours
Instead of hiring only for abilities and past experience, take a look at this person as a whole. What kind of energy would they bring to the company? What is their philosophy on the industry? How do they approach various projects or client relationships? Make sure their take on the working world is in alignment with the way your company operates.
For example, if your business is very much about cooperation and collaboration, you would be wise to avoid someone who prefers only to work solo and has a hard time giving others credit for their successes or contributions.
Be honest with candidates
You may have a candidate in mind for a job, but telling them what they want to hear to get them to agree to an offer puts you on the fast track to disaster. As wonderful as it is to hire big name talent with impressive resumes and bookcases full of awards, you need to verify that these individuals’ perspectives sync up with your brand’s mission statement in order to promote long-term success.
A person might be a heavy hitter in your industry, but if their approach to the profession is totally opposite from how your business operates, eventually the disconnect will become problematic. Don’t try to apologize or explain away your company’s values. The right employee will have the skills necessary to succeed, while also appreciating the way your brand chooses to approach the field.
Have an authentic voice on social media
Today, many job seekers rely on social media as a way to gather information about companies before they submit materials for consideration for open jobs. Use these platforms as a way to further convey what your company stands for. As you tweet, write Facebook statuses, or craft clever Instagram captions, always keep your business’s mission statement in mind.
Though you may have different people creating content for various marketing outlets, make it a point to keep a consistent brand voice whenever your business is involved. Your tweets should be written in the same tone as your email newsletters and your sales packages, and they should all reflect the values upon which your company is built.
Hiring can be stressful and certainly time-consuming. There’s often pressure on those involved with the process to fill an open role as quickly as possible. This doesn’t leave much time for analyzing cultural fit or thinking about the person’s chance of long-term success within the company.
While it can become taxing on other employees and company resources to keep a position open for months on end, don’t rush the hiring process. Think carefully about the candidates you have in front of you. Who has the ability to succeed in the role from a technical standpoint? Who embodies what the company stands for? Who is able to do both?
It’s OK to take some time to weigh your options and feel certain about your decision before you make a move. Doing so reduces turnover, which ultimately protects the business.
Separate skills interviews with values interviews
When you’re looking to fill an open role, it can be tough to determine whether someone has the skills to do the job properly, as well as the personality to fit in well at your organization. In order to gain a clearer perspective about whether this candidate is a good all-around fit, make it a point to separate skills interviews from values interviews.
In one interview, the individual can show you their portfolio, talk you through how they would approach a design project, or discuss the computer programs in which they’re well-versed. In another interview, they can talk about the soft skills they have that would allow them to blend in with the rest of your team.
Let your team members weigh in
Your veteran employees know what your business is all about. They come to work each day and have a good feel for your company’s energy, flow of information, and other factors that separate the brand from others in the industry. Therefore, these people are in an excellent position to offer insight about whether candidates would be a good fit for an available position.
While it would be chaotic to have every team member voice their opinion on every person who comes in for an interview, you might find value in building a team comprised of a select handful of veteran people who become involved in the later stages of the hiring process.
Make sure your values are in alignment across the board
Once you decide on a mission statement that’s going to drive your company, you want to make sure all departments embrace this idea. For example, let’s say that a driving force behind your company is flexibility for employees. If this is the case, it would make sense then that you would offer a work-from-home policy. Perhaps you allow employees to set their own hours. You might also allow team members to bring pets into the office, or have a casual dress policy. These all show that you’re flexible with your staff, as long as they get the work done in a high quality way.
However, you want to be sure this flexibility carries over to the hiring process, too. If you’re going to preach the importance of flexibility for your team members, you need to be just as flexible with potential employees.
Consider offering a video interview, so that would-be staffers can answer questions when it’s convenient for them, instead of having to flip their whole schedule around to fit in an interview. Or be open to conducting an interview in a neutral location that’s convenient for both hiring manager and potential employee, instead of making the candidate trek out to an office in a location that might not be located anywhere near their home or current job.
When you embrace flexibility across the board, you’re successfully incorporating your mission statement into your hiring process.
Borrow from other businesses
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and this is especially true when you want to make sure your hiring process is operating as smoothly as possible. Start with some research about what other companies in your industry are up to. If you see a policy you like, don’t be afraid to implement it into your own hiring process.
Make sure the interview environment reflects your business
When you move to later-round interviews, the environment that candidates walk into should actually reflect the business in which they’d be working, should they receive a job offer.
If you opt not to conduct the interview inside your actual office space, you should choose a spot that syncs up with what your company is all about. If you’re a very creative and relaxed company, the chosen location should echo these sentiments. If you’re fast-paced and innovative, the location you select should feel the same way.
Find out if your process is actually working
Though you may feel confident that your hiring process is a perfect reflection of what your company’s mission statement is all about, you don’t fully know if it’s actually hitting the mark unless you ask. Make it a point to talk to new team members once they’ve been with you for a few months and get their thoughts. Did the interview process reflect what life at the company is like? What could you do better or differently?
Finding a new employee who has all of the skills and experience necessary to hit the ground running once they’re hired is powerful, but don’t underestimate the value of a person whose vision and values are in line with your company’s own. Hiring for cultural fit is an essential part of making sure your new team member sticks around for the long haul; so don’t discount the importance of this factor as you’re conducting interviews.
By making sure your business’s mission statement permeates throughout the hiring process, you can feel confident that candidates know what your vision and values are all about. Those who receive an offer are more likely to have a personal philosophy that syncs up with your company’s, thus yielding a productive long-term partnership.
What are some other ways to make your mission statement a part of the hiring process?