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The Q Works Group has a unique background in that we have four team members born and raised in Europe. Each has spent their career learning the importance of understanding and embracing cultural differences in the workplace. They have seen first-hand the pitfalls that can occur when companies hire people based on resume material alone, such as having the right degree, experience or technical skills, while overlooking the importance of cultural compatibility.

If a company says they have great employees, this speaks to much more than their ability to perform their assigned jobs based on technical skill alone. Typically there is a mutual respect and sense of “good fit” between the company and those employees.  When someone says they love their job, this too encompasses much more than the actual functions of the work itself.  This usually includes an overall fondness for the company, as well as a feeling of their personal needs being met. Herein lies the notion of “company cultural fit.”  While this is not a new concept, many companies are still struggling to find the best way to manage it when hiring new talent.

Working in the recruiting industry, it has become apparent to us that there is a big disconnect in the hiring process when companies disregard the aspect of cultural fit. It is currently estimated that 89% of hiring failures are due to poor culture fit. First of all, there is no right or wrong culture. A culture is something that reflects an organization’s beliefs and behaviors. As such, it is our role (as recruiters) to simply understand, not critique a client’s culture and then deliver people that will fit well into that environment.

Recognizing that company culture has a direct and significant impact on being able to recruit and retain good employees is the first step to overcoming this incompatibility issue. Before an organization is able to devise a strategy to determine if a candidate is a good fit, the company needs to comprehensively define its own culture.

Defining Company Culture

Here are some questions to consider when examining company culture. Share these with high quality employees of all levels, not only management, to generate a clear and accurate synopsis.

  • List 5 words you would use to describe the organization.
  • What are the values of this organization and do you feel they are maintained on a daily basis?
  • Describe the overall personality of the company.
  • What is the management structure like?
  • How is conflict handled?
  • What is the communication level within the organization?
  • What degree of cross-department teamwork takes place?
  • How are employees motivated and rewarded?
  • Attire: corporate, business casual or casual?
  • Work space: cubicles, offices or open-floor plan?
  • Schedule: traditional office hours (8-5 Monday – Friday), flex-time or remote access?

The information gathered will better assist recruiting and hiring efforts whether internal or choosing to work with an external recruiter. Having a well-defined culture promotes better hires and greater retention.

By understanding the significance of this issue, we aim to set ourselves apart in the world of executive recruiting by placing adequate emphasis on this piece of the puzzle.  Not only has this become a primary focus of our recruiting procedures, it has also become part of the fabric of our office as well, applying this same methodology when we add staff.

Recruiting and Hiring: Internal Procedures

Here is an inside look into how we determine a “good fit” for the Q Works office.

Once we have selected a candidate, he or she goes through a series of behavioral interviews, in which they are asked to share their motivation factors to check that they match our company’s core values. The assessments reveal a person’s preferred styles and how these can be used to be more successful in their profession. The information gathered can be used to coach or mentor the individual as needed and also helps with the on-boarding process.

They are asked to participate in a “Discovery Day,” essentially a sneak peek into what a day in the office is like. This allows them the opportunity to engage and spend time with other staff members. If the candidate will be a good fit both technically and culturally, and we may extend an offer.  This goes both ways in that the candidate now has a good idea of what to expect and can make a well informed decision.

Once a candidate is hired, we believe in a stringent on-boarding process in which the new employee can gain the necessary information, skills, and behaviors to become an effective team member. He or she will go through in depth training over the next several weeks.

The Q Works Group has a notable strength in our ability to match the right candidate to the right company.  We know how important this is and that is why we apply the same value when searching for candidates to hire within our own office. There are many choices available when working with an executive recruiting firm and that is how we set ourselves apart with our capacity to match technical skills and personality/ cultural compatibility for both our own employees and the candidates we present to our clients.

Written by: Angie Barnes, The Q Works Group