How to Hire for Company Culture

team with strong company culture

Ever hire a remarkably experienced, impressively skilled employee only to find out they just don’t fit with your company culture? It happens. You assumed the new hire shared your values and would adjust well to your workplace, but for some reason or another, they ended up blending in as well as a hammock in the boardroom. And unless your office is much cooler than ours, that can be a pretty big problem.

So what can you do to minimize your chances of getting a bad hire? Hire for your company culture. It’s important to look for the candidates with applicable skills and experience, yes. But, more importantly, look for candidates who want to put their knowledge and talents to the service of your mission. After all, skills and experience only matter if the person who has them contributes to the excellence of your organization.

How to hire for your culture

1. Clearly define company values and expectations

The interview process isn’t just about the applicant. It’s also about you and your organization. When discussing the requirements of the job, make sure you tell applicants about your organization – where you’ve been and the direction you’re going. Be up front and concrete about what your company values are, how your company follows them, and how you expect every employee to exemplify those values. Mention the behaviors and habits you want to see in an employee. Ask applicants why they would want to work in your specific culture, and press them for specifics.

2. Include employees from various departments in interviews

No matter how well your workers embrace the company culture, you’re not just a monolith or set of divided roles and responsibilities. As cheesy as it sounds, your organization is comprised of people – people with various backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives. Your employees have their own ways of participating in and contributing to the company culture. Take advantage of these differences by inviting employees from various departments to participate in the interviews. The more diverse your interviewers, the more likely you’ll be to spot a red flag before extending a job offer.

3. Ask about specific behaviors

When questioning candidates and their references, ask about their preferred way of doing things – not just what they do, but also how they do it. Have applicants name the values that matter most to them and what they did in their previous jobs to bring those values to life. Ask about both large, long-term projects and small, day-to-day operations. (You can often tell a lot about an applicant’s character from their disposition toward the menial but necessary tasks of an organization!) Most importantly, don’t make assumptions about an applicant’s fit with your culture. Just as you would require evidence of an applicant’s skills, expertise, and experience, require evidence of their cultural fit as well!

Think you’ve found the perfect candidate?

Congratulations! Before you pop the question and issue an offer letter, don’t forget to:

  1. Screen your candidate for any potential Work Opportunity Tax Credits with a service like Most employers skip this step and in the process lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in tax savings!
  2. Update your documentation to make sure your handbook, job descriptions, offer letter, and new hire forms are up-to-date. (Hint: you can find all of these and more in your HR Support Center!)
  3. Onboard like a pro. Throw your paper packets in the shredder, because onboarding just got easier! Switching to a paperless system will save you tremendously on time and money, eliminate your risk of transcription errors, and keep you compliant with a consistent process and secure digital files. The best part? When you onboard your employees in SDPConnect, they are imported directly into payroll! Try SDPConnect + Onboarding for your next new hire for only $23, and be prepared to ask yourself why you stuck with paper for so long! (Not already on Connect? Ask us about the free upgrade today!)

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

business, company culture, Employee, hiring, HR, retention

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