Screening for Personality: Finding the Right Fit for Your Culture

This is obviously a hot topic. A simple Google search of the phrase ‘hiring employees to fit your company culture’ yields more than 24 million results. It seems everyone is an expert, or wants to be one, on this crucial hiring conundrum. There is A LOT of information to sift through so we did the hard work for you. Here is a roundup of the Top Five Things To Consider When Building a Culture-Based Workforce.

1.) Culture First, Pedigree Second

Who doesn’t want an Ivy Leaguer with knockout credentials and experience? We’d say that sounds awesome most of the time – on paper. But what happens when that highbrow dude(tte) swaggers into your office thinking he/she already owns the place? We’ll tell you. Discord. Hurt feelings. Low morale. Indignation. The list goes on. Consider this statement from Nancy Rothbard, an associate professor of management at The Wharton School that ran in this CNNMoney/Fortune article: “Cultural fit is incredibly important on a candidate’s abilities to use his skills. You have a positive effect through skills, but culture completely cancels that out.” So the next time you’re choosing between candidates, look at more things than pedigree. We’re not saying degrees and work experience aren’t important and we’re not saying that culture should win out every time. Think of them as two separate dancers, who, when they come together, perform a seamless routine that leaves everyone wowed.

2.) You Can’t ‘Test’ For Culture

Resumes won’t cut it. See above. Just because a person seems to be worldly and intelligent doesn’t mean he acts that way.

Interview questions won’t cut it. Most candidates have been through enough interviews that they know what you want to hear. It’s lip service.

Here’s what you can do. Psychometric tests are increasingly popular. They measure traits like personality, attitude, motivation. Background checks will confirm or refute a person’s honesty and integrity. They are an essential tool to ensuring you’re hiring someone who is trustworthy and safe. Detailed job descriptions help candidates weed themselves out. Specific job tasks and culture-related descriptions like “team oriented” or “independently driven” will tip job seekers off to what it’s really like to work there. Use recommendations and referrals wisely. Your current employees probably have friends who are similar in nature, possibly even talent. Why not let them promote open positions among their circles? It’s a direct gateway to a potential cultural match.

3.) Don’t Expect Change

We all know the story of a woman who married a man she thought would change. Maybe he never put his dishes in the dishwasher before and she thought, for sure, that once they had nice, new plates from their registry that he would, certainly, put his dishes in the dishwasher. Guess what? Ten years in and he still claims he doesn’t know how to open the dishwasher.

The lesson is this: most people won’t change. Even if they want to. Even if you want them to. Trying to change someone’s innate characteristics and traits is next to impossible. They were, most likely, born that way. It’s OK to accept a candidate for who she is and decide she’s not the right fit for your company. It’s also OK for job seekers to know the circumstances under which they work best and look for a company who can provide that. Don’t enter into a commitment where you’re hoping the other person will change. You’ll end up disappointed.

4.) Learn Some Corporate Culture Clues

We mentioned interview questions in point #2 in our top five list. Yes, for the most part, standard interview questions won’t tell you if a candidate will jibe in your office. There are, however, questions that can home in on a candidate’s personality. Rhonda Ness, a manager of recruiting services at Insperity, outlined some of these questions in this blog post:

  • Share a time with me when you were working on a team. What was your part? How were you successful in working with your colleagues?
  • Share an experience with me when you were targeting your next promotion.

Sheila Margolis, another well-known corporate culture author, shares these questions in her post, Hiring for Culture Fit:

  • What causes matter to you?
  • What issues are you drawn to and personally care about?
  • What do you aspire to do in your life through your work?
  • Why do you want to work in this industry?

What are some of your top culture clue questions? We’d love to share them with our readers!

5.) Define Your Culture

If you’ve been reading this thinking, “Yeah! Great points. I totally want to do this,” but you’re not even sure what your corporate culture is, then you have some work to do. The Bridgespan Group is a great place to start. This is an organization that not only has the pedigree (two Harvard Business School case studies), but a clearly defined culture (they work with mission-driven organizations and non-profits to help eliminate larger societal issues like poverty). They are a good example of a business who knows who they are and what type of people they want to work with.

Lucky for you, they’re also gangbusters at teaching companies how to create and build culture. Here are The Bridgespan Group’s top categories to examine before building your culture:

  • Work Style
  • Professional Opportunities and Advancement
  • Work Hours and Commitment to Work
  • Architecture, Aesthetics, Atmosphere

Click here to read the full post (it’s really long but worth it).

What steps did you take to implement and build your corporate culture? How do you hire the right people? Are background checks a part of your hiring routine? Is this too many questions???

Give us a shout in the comments below. We love having a dialogue with you and we’re always ready and willing to answer your questions about background screening.

This entry was posted in General, Human Resources by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia’s clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter – give her a shout @pattycfreelance.

 
        
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.