In Culture Hacker, we focus on elevating the employee experience and improving engagement. While everyone seems to focus on improving engagement, we believe in taking a broader perspective – one that takes into consideration that a part of the engagement problem is the inability to select the right people.

As thought leader Bob Kelleher says, “Many companies don’t have an engagement issue; they have a hiring issue.” When it comes to hiring, you have to focus more on the right body than just a warm body. We need to ensure that in addition to a job fit, the new person coming on board is a culture fit with the company.

Here are some reminders to ensure you get the person who is the best fit for your company:

  1. Start with job fit, but move quickly to cultural fit. Most skills can be taught, but character cannot be learned! Once a candidate satisfies the basic skills required, you must consider if their personal values are a good fit for your company. This is another reason why we stated in our last blog that defining your company values helps you make better decisions.
  2. Behavioral questions are an important element of the interview process. I believe that a person’s previous experiences are a good indicator of their future performance, so probe with questions that begin with, “Tell me about a time,” “What have you done when,” or “Can you give me an example of when you … ?”
  3. Have members of staff conduct short interviews focused around one or two questions. At SGEi, we love getting the team involved, because if they are a part of the hiring decision, then they will be more involved in setting that new hire up for success. I also like to see how potential candidates do after meeting a series of new people who are asking them questions in quick succession. If they are still smiling, then this is a good indicator they will do the same for your customers.
  4. Consider activity-based interviews where a task is given to an individual or group to see if the way they approach it is aligned with your values. Considering how someone works with others to solve challenging tasks is a great insight to gain from the interviewing process.
  5. Complete reference checks! I know the information gathered might be limited, but I find that people are more likely to give you more information on a great candidate than a bad one. When a candidate has a bad work history, your reference will quickly quote rules about not being able to share information about the candidate.
  6. Finally, remember to ensure that the interview process is a great experience for all candidates. Be on time, organized, grateful, and follow up with every person who interviews with you. Remember that they might not be your next employees, but they may become future customers.

Listen, I get it. There’s a lot of pressure to get the job done and to get someone into an open role. However, for all the things we seem to be doing quicker in business, this is one area that I suggest you slow down and take the time to get the right person; the success of your team and culture depends on it!


Thanks for reading my blog. If you’d like a comprehensive look at the Culture Hacker Methodology, then check out my book, Culture Hacker. Also, for best practices and insights from today’s cutting-edge leaders in company culture, check out the Culture Hacker Podcast on iTunes.