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How to Find a Good Culture Fit – Even if You’re Hiring Remotely


‘I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years, we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently.’Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.

Zuckerberg isn’t the only CEO predicting a shift in workplace culture. Businesses across the globe have had to adapt their ways of working in response to COVID-19. Some have done so as a temporary measure, others as a more permanent shift.

Whether temporary or not, today’s HR teams are hiring remotely, and with this comes new challenges. Understanding a candidate’s culture fit is one such challenge, and if you get it wrong, it’ll cost you. According to The Society for Human Resources Management, the result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50 to 60 percent of the person’s annual salary.

Here are a few pointers to help you find a candidate who is suited to your business, regardless of whether you hire remotely or not.

1. Ask the Right Questions

Finding candidates whose values, behaviors, qualifications, and ethics align with your organization is a hiring manager’s biggest obstacle. That’s especially true if you never get to meet a candidate in-person.

Armed with the right questions, however, you can begin to paint a comprehensive picture of each candidate. Here are a few culture-focused questions to include in your interview process to start painting that picture:

  • What gets you excited about coming to work?
  • What surprises people about you?
  • How could a manager best support you?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • How do you manage conflict with coworkers?

These questions aren’t designed to understand skillset or past work experience. Instead, questions like these help uncover how a candidate will respond to certain workplace pressures, how they approach their work, and what intrinsic factors will help drive their engagement with your business.

2. Involve More Than Your Hiring Team

Diversity of thought is one of your greatest assets. It allows you to gather a consensus about a candidate’s fit not just within a department, but across the entire business.

According to LinkedIn, however, only 35 percent of companies ensure they have a diverse interview panel when hiring. If you want a clear picture of a candidate’s culture fit with your business, be sure to include people from all corners of the business throughout the application process.

3. Perform Reference Checks

Reference checks are more than just a formality. They’re an excellent way to gather real-world testimonies about a candidate’s character and personality.

Testimonies aren’t to be relied on by themselves, however. Instead, use reference checks as a way to confirm your internal assessment of a candidate’s organizational fit. This will offer reassurance when it comes to making a final decision.

Informal meetups aren’t out of the question

Work-from-home policies at many businesses are extending into September and beyond, according to the New York Times. And rightly so.

If you’re still unsure about a candidate’s culture fit after the remote interview process, informal meet-ups are still an option (if you do meet up in person, be sure to keep social distancing in mind). This is a great way to help hiring teams gather that important ‘gut feeling’ about a candidate’s fit at the business, which can be easily lost over webcam. Ultimately, it’s this ‘feeling’ that matters most when it comes to considering culture fit, and it’s what will save your business from a bad hire.

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