Will That Candidate Succeed In Your Office Culture?

BY Kathy Crosett
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How important is company culture? Some of today’s most successful tech giants point to adherence to specific cultural practices as the reason for their success. This same commitment to a strong culture can help you maintain excellence as your company grows.

Alison Eyring, in an Inc​.com column, summarizes Reed Hastings’ commitment to culture at Netflix, a company that hires “flexible problem-​solvers.” For Hastings, hiring the right people continues to strengthen the Netflix culture. He and his team make a concerted effort to avoid hiring candidates who won’t fit the culture. Read that as – Netflix shies away from hiring rigid people who tend to blame problems on someone else.

Any organization leaders, including you, will need to take concrete steps to mimic the success that Hastings’ has experienced with Netflix. Culture may seem obvious to current employees, but you should survey team members on their opinions. In addition to learning what your team members think, you can use the survey process for formalizing your culture in a published document. If you have a fast-​growing organization, where products and customers are quickly changing in response to a competitive marketplace, your culture should support team members who are comfortable in that environment. If your future success depends on team members who must rapidly develop plans to enter new markets, develop a culture statement that reflects reality. Doing so reinforces the shared values in your organization.

Hiring managers must be aware of the top-​level commitment to culture. Nothing dilutes a cohesive and focused team more quickly than the addition of a member who doesn’t embrace the culture. The job market has become increasingly competitive since the end of the recession. When you find a candidate who has the right skills and experience to succeed in your open position, it’s tempting to immediately make an offer.

Step back and think before deciding. Remember that a bad hire is expensive and disruptive for any company. Ask the candidate to take a test that is designed to reveal her core personality and beliefs. The results of this type of assessment, when matched up with others in the department and the company, will help you determine if this hot prospect will exist peacefully with her co-​workers, while also contributing in a meaningful way to the success of the organization.