With so many variables to consider when hiring, it can be hard to know how much weight to put on one over another. You know you want a candidate with pertinent experience, good references, the right educational qualifications (if applicable), and job-relevant behavioral traits. But how much consideration should you give to a candidate’s fit with your corporate culture? The answer is a resounding: It depends.
When I was doing preliminary research for this blog post, I was surprised to find, all on page one of my search results:
Why It’s Important New Hires Fit a Company’s Culture (Business.com)
Move Beyond Hiring for Culture Fit (Gallup)
Don't Hire for Culture Fit (SHRM)
This rollercoaster of articles matched my own feelings on the matter. Hiring for a cultural fit can be good or bad. It can create a cohesive team, boost morale, and minimize communication struggles, but it can also be exclusionary, unfair, and limiting.
The contradiction comes from all the different ways a company can describe or think about its culture and how they approach hiring for a cultural fit.
Corporate culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and practices that define the way an organization operates and the way its employees interact with each other, customers, and other stakeholders. It is the collective personality of a company and encompasses various aspects of its working environment.
Corporate culture is created both by choice and by circumstance. Leadership can decide on what values, beliefs, and practices to promote and implement, but the nature and type of business contributes to the culture as well. For example, a company that deals extensively with providing a service to the public may naturally be more service oriented than a company that focuses on business-to-business sales. A large, multinational corporation will have a different culture than a small, community-based business.
Since culture is essentially the personality of a company, it would make sense to hire people who fit that personality. And in some ways, it does. Take hiring for a startup, for example. Working for a fledgling company comes with high risks and greater demands. In return, it offers more potential for quick advancement and impressive gains. For some employees, the risk and the possible rewards are highly appealing. For others, the pressure is too much. Hiring someone who is aware of and comfortable with that level of risk can reduce stress both for the employee and the other stakeholders.
Now consider the opposite situation: established organizations that involve hierarchies, set schedules for wage reviews, and complicated processes for advancement (think government agencies or established universities). A person who loves risk and competition and needs continued, rapid growth to stay motivated could wither in this kind of work environment. Meanwhile someone who thrives on security and structure would excel.
It’s logical and practical to look for evidence (via reference checks, interview responses and behavioral assessments) that someone can keep up in a dynamic corporate culture, can stay energized in a competitive culture, or can build relationships effectively in a community centered culture. But if you move beyond considering whether a candidate can stay motivated and productive in your culture to less concrete factors, (do they “click” with your culture? could you see hanging out with them?) this is where hiring for a culture fit can be negative and even put you in legal jeopardy.
The problem with using cultural fit as a reason to select or reject someone is that it paves the way to miss out on well-qualified candidates based on what amounts to a feeling. Or worse, it can be used (either consciously or unconsciously) to disqualify someone on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability or other protected status.
Ruchika Tulshyan from SHRM points to the case where an overqualified candidate had excelled in a lengthy interview process and was then told another candidate was selected because they were deemed a better fit. When asked for feedback, her interviewer had none.
“Considering that she had all the pedigree and all the best references but was then told she wouldn't fit the culture of the institution, she couldn't ignore the only noticeable difference she had with everyone on the selection committee and eventually the person they hired: her identity as a Black woman.”
Even if all the criteria that constitutes a good cultural fit are written down, by nature, some aspects of it are impossible to quantify. That ambiguity leaves candidates free to decide for themselves what about them didn’t “fit” if they aren’t selected (especially if “fit” is given as a reason, as in the example above). If a core value of an organization’s culture is “work hard, play hard” for example, how would you identify a match with that in a potential hire? How do you know your choice of one candidate over another is based on anything more than, “I could see myself getting a beer with that person.” In other words, “they remind me of myself. “
People are notoriously bad at seeing our own biases, and hiring primarily based on cultural fit opens the door to allow biases to interfere with more objective criteria. If the result of this type of hiring is that employees think the same, approach problems the same way, and share the same backgrounds and experiences, it can be a quick path to stagnation.
If growth, innovation, and evolution are goals of your organization (as they should be), then instead of a cultural fit…
A cultural add looks for candidates who bring something new and unique to the company's culture. It values diversity of thought, background, and experience. The idea is that these individuals can introduce fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and different ways of problem-solving that can benefit the organization.
Seek out candidates whose experiences, accomplishments, education, or ideas can add something new and different to your company, resulting in an even more effective corporate culture. Challenge your possible biases. If your first thought is that someone won’t fit in, explore why you think that, and make sure the reason is based not on assumptions but the information you have about the candidate from reviewing credentials, speaking to references and hearing their interview questions.
Focusing on finding a cultural add doesn’t mean changing your core values and principles. Your company literature, website, social media, and job postings should make the critical aspects of your culture clear. This allows applicants to determine for themselves if they feel they would fit in or if they have something new to bring to your organization. Inviting new perspectives allows the organization and culture to evolve. That is beneficial for everyone!
You’re ready to stand out in the community and create strong member relationships, but what’s the best way to get there? First, you have to be ready to provide members with what they want, like incentives, digital engagement, and financial education. Along with meeting member needs in a modern way, you need to stay focused on the usual day-to-day needs of the organization. That starts with hiring the best people. The success of any credit union, or really any business, starts with its people. Your employees represent your core values. They turn vision into reality. They make it all happen. That’s why a strong selection process and a solid pre-employment assessment strategy that uses data-backed decision tools like behavioral assessments and cognitive ability tests will set your credit union up for success on all levels.
Myth: We have to just accept high turnover
A common misconception often accepted as fact is that frequent employee turnover is normal, so when the hiring gets tough, it almost doesn’t matter who is hired since the employee won’t stay long anyway. It’s tempting, when that open position is staring everyone in the face and making things harder on the rest of the team, to just quickly find anybody to fill it and hope they’ll stay long enough to alleviate even a little bit of the pressure. Unfortunately, this mindset often creates bigger problems, like inefficiency and expense, making the normal business problems your credit union faces even more challenging.
When working with the unknown, like job candidates you’ve never met before interview day, it’s best to collect as much information as possible to help you make solid hiring decisions. Using data-backed hiring tools is your first defense against making a wrong hire. Instinct and personal judgment can play a small part but should never be the only tools used to select people; too many things can easily cloud our judgment, and some candidates are very good at hiding their faults until it is too late.
When you are ready to start looking for your next great credit union employee, consider these 7 easy tips:
It’s easy to think a formal hiring system is unnecessary. After all, too many bureaucratic layers create unnecessary problems, while everyday business needs can get in the way of following the system perfectly. As a result, rigid selection practices can feel impractical or inefficient. And there is certainly some truth to that; strict processes can be as problematic as no process.
A formal, structured process is crucial, but you need one that works for your culture and is not weighed down by bureaucratic layers that unnecessarily burden the process. Find a balance between haphazard and inflexible. Extremes never work; find a balance that works for your credit union. Having a plan will go a long way toward avoiding long-term problems, like excess training time, performance problems, and unnecessary turnover.
The goal should always be to hire the best. You want talented, capable, dedicated employees. Never settle if you can help it. Of course, this is the real world and sometimes the candidate pool is shallow, but if you start with the mindset of wanting the best and you do the steps to uncover all you can, then you’ll have more hits than misses.
Listing out your needs and the reasons behind those needs will help you set priorities and see your expectations, strengths, and weaknesses in a brighter light. Think about the specifics of your work environment and credit union culture.
Is your credit union fast-paced and hectic with constant little fires to put out? If so, you should avoid hiring people who tell you they hate being rushed or interrupted or that they get overwhelmed easily. While patience and diligence are admirable qualities, they could be liabilities in a turbulent environment. Of course, certain roles might need those traits regardless of the overall culture, so consider all the factors, like the culture of the individual department, the manager’s leadership style, and the basic demands of the job itself. One-size-fits-all is another myth.
It's also a good idea to stay up to date on the latest hiring trends to stay competitive within your community’s job market.
The job post is the crucial first impression you make on a candidate. It’s also a great tool for instantly eliminating people who are not the right fit for the job or your credit union.
Start with being crystal clear about the job. Highlight exactly what the job is, what it entails day to day, and what personality traits are best suited to it. It’s amazing how many candidates are hired and later state they felt misled about the role. Honesty is your best employee retention tool during the selection process. It’s perfectly okay to scare people off from the job in your post. The whole process is about funneling down to the best candidates. The right candidates will want to put their hat in the ring, and the wrong candidates will turn away. If you aren’t honest though, you’ll hire the wrong candidates, and they will quickly feel resentful of the perceived betrayal and leave or perhaps stay but do the bare minimum, known today as quiet quitting. Scaring off the wrong type will help your retention efforts in the long run.
Your job post needs to clearly show who you are as an employer and company. Emphasize your identity and brand. Be daring. Today, employees want to work for an organization that matches their personalities. If your credit union is playful, lighthearted, and full of laughs, make sure your post reflects that. Use humor. But if your credit union is buttoned up, formal, and serious, then be serious and formal in your post. Staying true to who you are will help you attract like-minded people, and people who are compatible with your identity are more likely to stay.
After posting the job, the resumes should start rolling in. Now you can discard the ones that clearly do not meet your needs and whittle down your candidates. Keep in mind that, as you dig deeper into each person’s background, you may uncover more than just a few unpleasant surprises. Research shows that up to 40 percent of resumes include some false or inflated facts!
A pre-employment personality assessment will give you an even closer look at a candidate’s potential. Do their traits coincide with the traits needed for the job? How will they interact with their peers and supervisor? To hold on to strong, productive employees, make sure the people you hire are a match for the demands of the position. Omnia helps to set the “job personality” which shows the traits of an ideal candidate; this way you can see how a candidate’s traits align with the best traits for the job.
The best part is that a behavioral assessment is not a test; there is no such thing as pass or fail. The Omnia behavioral assessment uses the candidate’s responses to a simple word association checklist. It’s a quick yet powerful tool that provides extensive insight into a person’s strengths, motivators, weaknesses, and fit to the role.
To minimize the risk of a bad hire, make sure the potential new hire has the skills they claim to have, especially the ones needed to do the most basic aspects of the job. Use hard skill proficiency tests that are job appropriate (this is important) and designed to demonstrate abilities. It might be a bookkeeping test, a Microsoft Excel or Word test, a cognitive ability evaluation, or a banking terminology quiz. Don’t assume that the person interviewing for your IT position knows how to turn the computer on. Sometimes, people say they know how to do something just to get their foot in the door.
A background check protects everyone: you, your employees, and your credit union. Crime and violence are, sadly, not uncommon in the workplace. Make sure there are no issues from your candidate’s past that make you leery. Negligent hiring can be alleged if an employer fails to exercise reasonable caution when hiring a new employee. Employers could be held liable for illegal or violent action taken by employees who were not subjected to reasonable pre-employment screening.
Self-awareness is a powerful leadership tool. Consider your own management style and encourage all other managers to do the same. To effectively motivate and inspire your employees, it helps if you have a great grasp on what makes you tick.
Do you prefer it when employees consistently ask for your guidance, or are you more in tune with those who regularly make their own decisions? Do you closely oversee every detail big and small, or do you expect your team to fill the gaps for themselves?
While it might sound nice to surround yourself with people who are completely in sync with your own work approach, that’s not always realistic or even wise. Different roles require different traits. The power is in knowing how to adjust your style to meet the individual needs of your employees. It’s one of the strongest employee retention tools you can use.
It might seem completely daunting, and maybe sometimes it will be, to hire and lead a productive, cohesive, and dedicated team, but it is possible. Know what you want, stay true to your non-negotiables, and seek out employees who align with those needs. Don’t settle. Employ people who have the potential to exceed your expectations.
April 7th is World Health Day, and 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of its sponsor, The World Health Organization (WHO). This year’s theme is “Health for All.” Each year World Health Day brings us together to focus on global health issues and the rise of diseases caused by increased air pollution, lack of health care coverage, and chronic health issues like diabetes, mental illness, depression, and heart disease. It’s about spreading awareness for the right to equal medical treatment without discrimination and educating people on preventing diseases caused by poor lifestyle habits. Policymakers come together to focus on change for the health of their country’s citizens.
World Health Day is also a good day for business leaders to pause and consider what we can do to promote employee wellness — particularly mental health. Several surveys indicate that workplace stress and burnout continue to rise. A recent Deloitte survey showed that 77% of professionals have experienced burnout in their current job. Nearly half of millennials say they have left a job specifically because they felt burned out, compared to 42% of all the survey respondents. These are some powerful statistics indicating we need to do something about this.
First, let’s look at the differences between burnout and stress. Stress is common in work and life and usually has an end in sight, even if getting there may be difficult. Stress comes amid a difficult negotiation, a conflict with a coworker or, like me right now, pushed against a deadline to write a blog. In most circumstances, stress comes and goes; we even feel a sense of euphoria once we’ve gotten to the other side. However, burnout is chronic. It’s the cumulation of unchecked, built-up stress over time that has never gotten resolved. When a person begins experiencing burnout, they may no longer feel confident that they can get through the negotiation, they don’t care about working through the conflict with their coworker, and they have no energy or drive to meet the deadline. Burnout is a bone deep feeling of exhaustion mixed with feelings of depletion as well as declining confidence and overall drive. It’s like being in a constant state of the Sunday blues.
In 2019, the World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
If you’re a service organization, your employees likely make up most of your company’s assets and the largest line item on your budget. Your people are your number one resource. Burnout can impact your bottom line. If you’ve got a burnout issue in your workplace, you’re likely experiencing loss in productivity and sales, increasing customer complaints, and employee turnover.
According to Gallup, employees who are burned out are 2 times more likely to be looking for another job. In another survey by Limeade, 40% of workers are leaving their jobs due to burnout — and many are doing so without having another job lined up.
A recent article published by Calm Business listed these as the top signs of burnout that you could be overlooking and behaviors to watch for as key signals.
It’s important to look at all these signs together. Look for trends rather than overreacting to individual incidents. Just because someone declines a happy hour, gets sick once or twice in a few months, or asks if they can leave their camera off on a Zoom call does not necessarily mean that they are burned out. The important thing is to keep your radar up and pay attention to the general and consistent behaviors of your staff. Be mindful of drastic, ongoing changes in a particular area or a combination of these.
While burnout is an organizational issue, we typically put it on the backs of the individual and prescribe self-care. Or we turn to employee wellness and benefits programs like yoga, wellness tech, or subsidized gym memberships and hope that works. Because this has become a workplace phenomenon, leaders need to take a more systematic, strategic approach to addressing root causes. We need to take a deep look at our company culture and what may be contributing to rising burnout in our own workplace.
According to research, burnout has six main causes:
Over the course of the past few years and the traumas we all faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that many of you reading this have experienced some of these feelings and signals yourself. On an individual level, it is important that we recognize the signs in ourselves and take measures to prevent burnout from happening to avoid impacting our work and potential for career success. Learning to say no, setting boundaries, managing our own expectations, making time to retain and grow social connections, taking regular workday breaks, fitting in exercise, and using vacation time are all strategies that can help.
As a leader, if you see these signals in any of your team members, here are actions you can take to address these root causes and prevent escalating burnout.
Are the day-to-day work requirements of your teams realistic? Can your employees accomplish the scope of their work within a normal workday or workweek? Sure, there are times when we’re all going to have to put in some long days or weeks for a large client deliverable or seasonal business cycle. But is this the norm or an exception? It may be time to evaluate what you’re asking people to do and if your resources are keeping up with your company’s growth and client demand.
Make sure your employees understand what is expected of them in their role and what they are responsible for. Ask how they feel about their ability to perform, how they feel about the work, and where they may have challenges. Work with them to offer solutions and resources to address any issues. This could involve adjusting their workload, providing more autonomy in decision-making, or implementing changes to their work environment.
Once performance expectations have been set, establish specific metrics to track performance so you can recognize and celebrate achievements along the way. Be sure to set activity-based measures that are leading indicators to long-term success. Celebrate and highlight achievements that lead to a person making their annual sales goal (like number of new contacts, new centers of influence (COI’s), demos, referrals, testimonials, etc.). Everyone likes to know when they’re getting things right. Nobody wants to have to wait until the end of the quarter or the end of the year to find out if they were on or off track. It’s also important to note that not everyone is motivated by the same things. We each have unique preferences for how we want to be recognized based on our personality traits. Check out our blog on how to personalize employee recognition.
Every person wants to feel valued, respected and appreciated. It’s important that your workplace is open and supportive, and that collaboration and teamwork are encouraged and rewarded. Employees should feel comfortable taking risks and sharing ideas. Encourage honest and open feedback at all levels of the organization. This not only helps with employee engagement, but it also helps you identify areas for improvement in the business. When employees can collaborate and feel supported and heard, they are more likely to feel connected to their colleagues and have a stronger sense of pride in their work. A supportive culture promotes well-being, engagement, and productivity.
Imagine if you had to write with your opposite hand all day long. You could probably do it ok, and you may even get better at it over time, but it wouldn’t be easy, and you may even start growing resentful and irritated about it. That’s how it feels when your job requires you to do things at work that don’t align with your natural personality traits. When an employee’s personality traits are not well suited to the job requirements, they may experience stress and frustration, which leads to burnout and loss of productivity. Someone who is detail oriented is well-suited for a job that requires a high attention to detail and a focus on accuracy, while someone who is sociable and outgoing would love being out with customers or representing your company at tradeshows and networking events. Neither would prefer to do the job of the other. Take time to consider each role in your organization and what skills and traits align best with them. Then, assess your team to determine where people fit best and where some may be out of alignment so you can adjust.
We’re here to help! The Omnia behavioral assessment is quick, accurate, and user-friendly. In less than 10 minutes, you can have critical data at your fingertips that will arm you with the personal insight you need. We help you understand what makes an individual thrive and the steps you can take to coach, develop, and support them to be their very best.
Congratulations to the World Health Organization on the incredible work you have done over the past 75 years to promote health and well-being all over the world. WHO has played a critical role in advancing public health, from eradicating smallpox to fighting diseases like polio, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. We appreciate that the spotlight is expanding to mental health and addressing the workplace issues of burnout.
Season’s Greetings! Omnia’s second annual Talent Trends Survey closes on December 31st. We look forward to unraveling what’s happened in employee selection and development over the last 12 months. Moving on from 2022, I’m reflecting on the first stage of the employee lifecycle: the selection process. I’m eager to explore what’s new in recruitment and hiring that we can take into 2023 and make it a fabulous year.
Our first survey showed that the turnover rates across companies increased from the year prior for most respondents. This means it’s more critical than ever to hire right the first time as your first line of defense against unwanted turnover.
As the initial impacts of the pandemic become a distant memory, we are left with a new work-world order. It will be interesting to see what’s been happening with turnover over the last year when our new survey results emerge, especially amid continuing headlines about the great resignation, the great reshuffle, and the great reprioritization. And now that new trends have emerged, like quiet quitting, how will those numbers shift? If you haven’t already, please take a moment to share your experiences with us. Click Here.
As we all know, this has become a major perk for job seekers and existing talent and, therefore, something many companies are using to recruit top talent and keep their best people. It’s simply a competitive advantage.
Luckily, this perk often has other benefits for the company, such as a healthier workforce. Employees with better work-life balance find themselves less stressed all the way around which leads to better productivity.
Also… cost savings. Many companies have been able to reduce office space overhead. Score!
Candidate engagement looks at how responsive a candidate is during the selection process. It measures the communication and interest of your candidates as they move through your selection funnel. It also measures how well they feel they were treated by your company. A great candidate experience is an opportunity to set your company apart from the competition.
Of course, like most things in life, candidate engagement relies on having a focused plan that everyone is committed to. It’s an ongoing strategic process that involves your employer brand, communication, and technology.
How modern is your experience? You want it to be as quick and painless as possible without losing the ability to examine whether or not candidates have what you need to do the job. This can be accomplished with more modern approaches, like automation, virtual outreach, and making data-driven decisions.
Take a look at your candidate processes. Are your platforms mobile-friendly? Do you have language choices? Can candidates schedule their interviews?
The Omnia Assessment and Omnia Cognitive Assessment are great ways to add some objective decision points to your process. And because each one takes less than 15 minutes to complete, the candidate experience is a positive one.Download: Talent Trends Survey Report 2023 – Amplify Your Organizational Success.
Make your core values clear from the very beginning. By being upfront about who you are as an organization, you will attract workers who share the same philosophies and that’s taking a step towards better retention.
Companies with inclusive cultures and supporting policies attract top talent. It’s another way to stay competitive in the talent market, and it’s just the right thing to do. Even better, inclusive companies are seeing increases in innovation and buyer interest per the International Labour Organization.
Diversity is all about the ways people are different, such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, religious beliefs, marital status, where people live, job function, hair color, you name it. It’s basically anything that helps define our identity. A business that employs a diverse pool of people will benefit from those distinctive viewpoints.
Equity acknowledges differences in order to provide fair treatment and opportunities. Equality is providing the same treatment and opportunities to everyone, which isn’t always fair. For example, someone with a learning disability might need more time to take a written test. If you give everyone the same amount of time, that’s equality, but it doesn’t factor in the disability and puts that individual at a disadvantage. The difference is significant in that the tools and resources needed to succeed are not the same for everyone.
Inclusion focuses on making sure everyone has a voice and feels welcomed in the work environment. It’s kind of like putting your money where your mouth is. At the end of the day, does your organization practice what it preaches?
This trend is about listing the position’s salary on job postings, and it largely exists to reduce pay equity issues. On the plus side of this, you can weed out people looking to make far more than a job pays right from the start. While there will certainly be pros and cons related to salary transparency, it is something companies will need to deal with, especially as some states enact pay transparency laws. Even without a law in your state, you should be ready to embrace this new reality; otherwise, your organization may be seen as having something to hide, especially as the number of companies with salary transparency rises.
That’s a brief look at five hot selection trends for 2023. Let’s make the year sizzle!
It’s Spooky Season at the Omnia Group, and we’re here to inform you that hiring does not have to be scary! Over the last few weeks, we’ve collected some hiring horror stories and tips to avoid their mistakes. We’ve kept all of these stories anonymous to protect the innocent, but make sure you learn from their mistakes!
This is probably the most important tip. Finding the right cultural fit is absolutely essential in both your hiring and retention practice. It’s estimated that 63% of people who quit their jobs in 2021 left because of a bad coworker or boss. Companies can’t afford to lose anyone due to poor fit anymore.
“I made the worst hiring decision in over 30 years of my human resources career. I hired someone that I had a gut feeling would not get along with the team, but their resume was extremely impressive, and they seemed on paper to be a great catch. The fact that they were accepting our offer, lower than their previous employer, should have been a sign. This person was tasked with managing a team of 28, and by the sixth month, their turnover had gone up to 60% within their department. Not only their direct managed team, but other department heads were leaving because they could not put up with the unsupportive, unfriendly, and downright rude behavior. We will never make this mistake again.”
Assessing cultural fit is tricky, and we’ll address some ways to handle that later in this article, but one key takeaway we can point out now is that the Omnia Assessment is a key tool in assessing cultural fit. Using the tool to determine communication styles, behavioral traits, and other culture indicators can help you find the right people for your team.
The resume only really gives you half the story, and really, who knows what on a resume might be a flat out lie. While we like to think people wouldn’t lie to get a position, it’s becoming a common trend for job-hoppers to say they’re skilled in certain areas, collect a few paychecks during the onboarding process, and bounce as soon as they’re actually required to do their job.
“My worst hiring experience was finding out someone had lied about their graphic design experience and falsified their portfolio. We hired someone, we’ll call him Ted, who said he had over 10 years of experience with graphic design and video editing. We have a thorough onboarding process that includes asking people to really learn and study our products, company culture, and in doing so, we give plenty of time to ramp up to actually producing work. We value a thorough onboarding. Ted took advantage of this, even requesting we extend his onboarding by a couple of weeks.
When it came time for him to start producing, we would get excuse after excuse on why there were so many delays. We found out he was using a popular $5 graphic design site to produce work and was having to do multiple rounds of revisions. Simple projects would take weeks. When confronted about this, he admitted he didn’t have a design degree, had no experience, and was outsourcing all of his work!”
How can you combat this? Make sample projects a must in your hiring practice, and ensure you check with previous employers or references if you feel you aren’t getting the whole story. You can even offer to pay for completing sample projects, but keep a firm deadline (in most cases, 24 hours is fine to complete a basic project).
Some people say that references are outdated and everything you need to know about someone can be found on their social media profiles. That’s not true, especially with everyone putting their best foot forward 95% of the time. That glorious Fiji vacation came with 28 hours of air travel, a cramped airplane middle seat, lost luggage, four buses, and two boats to get to that island resort, but you only see the champagne and crystal-clear waters. Much like asking a travel agent for advice on getting to your destination, you should probably ask references for advice on hiring.
“We always said during our hiring process that we would be checking references, but we figured just asking would weed out people that didn’t have quality references. We let one slip through the cracks with someone that wanted to join our customer success team. After we made the offer and started down the onboarding path, and before their actual start date, they started making demands and asking to change the terms of their contract. We decided, out of precaution, we would go ahead and check references for the first time in our hiring…
We found out A LOT about this person, just given that all of the phone numbers were incorrect, and all of the emails were answered very quickly, and all mostly said the same thing. We pressed on these emails and asked for a voice to voice conversation and found out these references were forged! Thankfully, we were within our rights to withdraw the offer, but we lost several weeks going down this path with the wrong person.”
This one is easy: always require references, and always check them. People will tell you a lot if you give them the chance to talk. Listen more than you speak on these reference calls. And, keep your questions open ended.
As we noted above, we’d cover some strategies to ensure a good cultural fit, and group interviews are probably the most important aspect of this, other than behavioral assessments, which can give you a much deeper level of understanding. Still, a group interview can uncover some very interesting tidbits of information.
“I was part of a group interview recently where the candidate had gone through several rounds with several members of our leadership team and was finally advancing to the final round. All of the references checked out, the background check was clear, and employment history was verified. We thought we had found the best candidate for the job.
When he got on the call, he was horribly inappropriate. He made jokes about how people looked, about wanting to take the group out to bars, and even asked one of the team members if she was single. When the leader on the call (who had not been a part of any of the other interviews) informed him he was being inappropriate, he said this was his opportunity to really bond with everyone. The whole team confirmed that was NOT the way to bond.”
Needless to say, the offer was not extended.
Obviously, that’s the worst-case scenario. Still, a group interview can give you great insights into how someone will fit into the team and their true behaviors. Allow everyone in the group to ask their questions!
For this one, we’re going to flip the switch a bit. Let’s talk about a horror story on the other end of the hiring process. When promoting your company, you have to be clear with talent on advancement opportunities, career growth potential, and any other relevant culture information your potential talent should know. This next story comes from a hiring professional who experienced their own horror story as the one being hired!
My last company was an “up or out” culture meaning everyone was expected to continue to advance their position in the company. If you weren’t being viewed as one to promote you were viewed as one on the way out. This meant you had to be constantly thriving to do more, give more, and produce more. You weren’t evaluated by how well you were doing your current job but by what you were doing to advance to the next one. At performance review time if you only exceeded the core requirements of your job but didn’t find new things to do and create new value, your performance was rated “marginal.” I had no desire to make partner – I just wanted to do well in the job I was in and to continue to learn and thrive in that role. As you can imagine, this culture also created a cutthroat mentality and behavior among peers. Everyone was in competition with others to get put on projects, or even to do basic volunteer activities. Nobody really looked out for each other – they were all in it to win it for themselves. I still have some PTSD from that experience. It was not a culture fit for me at all.”
If you’re looking to avoid these hiring horror stories, consider using the Omnia Behavioral Assessment to take some of the guesswork out of hiring. Find the right cultural fit, learn more about your potential hires than their resume can tell you, and make offers with confidence. If you’d like to learn more about the Omnia Assessment, get in touch with us, or try it here free!
Also, don’t miss our upcoming webinar, Hiring Doesn’t Have to be Scary, featuring ways to use the Omnia Assessment to your advantage!
Do you remember the days of classified job ads in the newspaper? (Do you even remember newspapers?) Those tiny blocks that gave you nearly zero information about a job aside from its title and the phone number of whom to contact? Or maybe you remember the early days of online job postings. Though they made the leap from black and white print to color and multiple fonts, they weren’t much better. Now, online job listings beckon us with dazzling graphics but also often include copious amounts of business jargon and buzzwords that take up a lot of space but don’t actually say much. (Seriously – So. Much. Jargon.)
You may think of job ads as the first necessary, but not particularly impressive, step involved in hiring a new person to fill an open position. Many feel its purpose is to cast a wide net that draws in interested candidates that, in turn, causes HR or management to spend days or even weeks sifting through resumes and conducting interviews to find the person who fits the job requirements best. But what if the job ad itself can help you target the right person from the get-go? Sounds good, but the question remains: how do you compose an ad that’s both informative and attractive to the exact person you want in the job? (Hint: it’s not extra buzzwords.)
It can be a challenge to write a job posting. Covering the technical requirements of a position is usually easy - the education, experience, and specific subject matter knowledge a candidate must possess to be considered. But what about the intangibles - the attributes that can make the difference between someone who simply performs job functions and someone who becomes a superstar within the role and within your organization? If you’re in HR and simply getting a job description from the manager overseeing the position, you may not be completely sure what the role needs in terms of soft skills or personality traits. Even the position’s manager might be at a loss if that person has never held the actual job.
That’s where benchmarking can make a huge impact. Evaluating the people who are (or were) in the position who have proven themselves to be excellent at the job can give you incredible insights into what to look for in future candidates.
The Omnia Assessment measures assertiveness, sociability, pace, and structure. These four dimensions create a well-rounded picture of how a person approaches their work responsibilities and the motivators that get them excited to come to work every day. Having this awareness about your high-performing employees can help you understand why they are so successful in their roles and what you need to emphasize in your job posting to attract people with similar attributes. Also, a job ad that targets these behavioral traits can cause people who think they will do well, but do not possess the behavioral qualities that are optimal for the position, to pass.
Is your phenom account manager someone who loves helping others and acting as the go-to problem solver for your clients? Then the job ad for a new account manager may need to target those team-oriented, accommodating traits (and cause those who are more focused on pursuing individual challenges than on providing support to look for a different position). Does your rockstar salesperson love the thrill of the chase and converting that skeptical prospect into a high-dollar client? Then a job listing for a new salesperson needs to appeal to someone equally ambitious, competitive, and bold (and scare off those uninterested in taking risks).
Of course, you may have several people who excel at the same position. Benchmarking them can help you see where the commonalities lie as well as how they approach the position in different, but equally beneficial, ways. Perhaps your more assertive and extroverted CSR tops the leaderboard in suggestive sales to existing customers while your lower-key, analytical CSR is the first person clients go to when they have questions or need a complex issue resolved. Knowing how their different traits impact various areas of the position can help you tailor your job ad to find precisely the type of personality you need in the role.
Benchmarking can also bring to light the unique needs of a particular department or organization that may differ from the industry standard. Imagine you’re posting for a management position to replace a retiring supervisor who oversees a small team of capable, self-sustaining employees. But, all of the candidates coming through your door are ambitious, take-charge individuals who have told you about the big changes they would make on Day One. You know that type of aggressive management style would demoralize this staff who are already strong performers. So, you decide to benchmark the current supervisor who has successfully managed the department for years.
Through benchmarking, you find out that this person has a moderate level of assertiveness (instead of the extreme boldness of your job candidates) that enables him to step in and take care of issues confidently while also allowing others on the team to give their input. He is a routine-oriented person who implemented systems within the department that enabled the employees to produce thorough results, and he fosters a sense of order and consistency for his team. This manager also offers the staff autonomy to handle their responsibilities independently while still making himself available to answer questions or offer advice when his employees come to him with concerns. Because of benchmarking, you now understand the nuanced management style that works best within this particular department, which can help you compose a job listing that pinpoints exactly what you – and the team – need.
To illustrate the value of benchmarking for job ads, I bring you a true story from our very own halls of Omnia. Years ago, we were looking to bring a new profile analyst onboard. The manager of the department, having worked with the analyst team closely and also having previously been an analyst herself, knew exactly what traits typically equaled success in the position. So, she wrote a job posting that listed all of the traits she knew to be important in an analyst. She phrased much of the listing in “If You…” statements: “If you are the person your friends come to for objective advice; If you want to work in a job where you’ll be valued for your knowledge, accuracy, and strong attention to detail; If you are comfortable working on your own,” along with several others.
The person who was hired based on that job ad is none other than my talented colleague (and fellow blog contributor) Jennifer Lucas who has been an indispensable part of the Omnia family for years. In the interview, she told the manager that she wouldn’t have been surprised if the last “If You” statement was, “If your name is Jennifer.”
That’s the power of benchmarking to create a targeted job ad that brings in just the right candidates. At Omnia, we have seen time and time again the tremendous advantage that benchmarking excellent employees can bring when it’s time to find that next A-player – both for our clients and ourselves. But don’t take my word for it. Have your outstanding employees take our Omnia Assessment so you can create a job ad that’s so clear and sharp, the right candidate practically materializes in front of you!
Let us help. If you’re struggling to turn your benchmarking data into the perfect job posting, Omnia will gladly do it for you. We write job postings for just $29 per ad. Contact our client success team to learn more.