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5 Tips On How To Hire For Culture Fit

Sofia, Bulgaria | June 1, 2021

by Aleksiya Kokolios

Hiring people whose vision and values match those of your company is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. While only a few years ago, recruiters from the CEE region would often base their hiring decisions entirely on an applicant’s technical skills, assessing for cultural fitness is now highly prioritized as it holds the power of decreasing the retention rates among IT professionals. In this article, the BICA team presents you with several tips and strategies on how to upscale your hiring by choosing people who fit your company culture. 


1. Start by defining your MVV. Mission, vision, and values (MVV) are key for the business strategy and the hiring process. As the three elements are the cornerstones of your company identity, they can be used for raising your brand awareness and be powerful instruments to attract skilled employees who share similar beliefs. As you define your company MVV, you set clear expectations for the candidates while also presenting them with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the unique cultural characteristics of their potential workspace. Be specific about what you aim to achieve and how your company culture is reflected in the structure of the operational teams, office environments, and different work procedures. 


2. Practice planning in advance. The problem with recruiting for cultural fit is that it takes more time and effort to understand the personality of the candidates. Many IT companies are usually in a rush to hire people who have the technical expertise to complete their projects. This often leads to choosing people who have good technical skills but problematic behavior, which makes other employees feel uncomfortable, and thus communication in a company suffers. Plan your strategy for filtering employees who are matching the company’s culture in advance and turn it into a standard part of the application process to avoid such problems as they might decrease the satisfaction of your long-term employees.


3. Ask the candidates questions to understand their vision and values. Make sure to understand what the personal values of your candidates are. This will help you understand whether you are looking in the same direction. Among the first questions that need to be answered in order for recruiters to filter out prospective candidates is whether the person is passionate about developing products in the technological niche of the company.  


4. Watch out how the candidate feels during the interview. In case you are on a quest to understand a candidate’s personality during the interview stage and you notice that they are feeling nervous or distracted, try changing the topic to ease the tension. An applicant who is feeling uncomfortable will not be able to give you the big picture about his values and visions. Thus, you will not be able to fully understand whether he fits your company’s values or not. Try to bounce back to the topic after you see that he or she feels more comfortable talking about it and always keep in mind that there are brilliant candidates who simply do not perform well at interviews. Another good idea is to approach the applicant in person after the interview - talk informally and try to make a better sense of what he/she is like.


5. Talk about your company. How do your teams and divisions operate and coordinate? If you do your daily meetings differently than most companies, do not hesitate to give insights to the candidates. What does your office look like, are there any social initiatives everyone contributes to? Every cultural detail can give applicants a better understanding of who you are and where you stand when it comes to company culture. On the other hand, this will provide you with the opportunity to see how the candidate reacts to those values, thus giving you a clear picture of whether he will fit the environment. 

Things to watch out for:

Is your employee actually a good fit? 

By definition, the employee who fits culturally stays in the company for longer than the average period (over a year and a half at the Bulgarian IT market) but the question is not always about the length of his career in your company. Usually, such a person not only stays but engages in spreading the company’s culture among new employees. In some cases, he/she even teaches long-term cadres who have been working in rather isolated teams on what the values and vision of the company at stake are. 

Assessing the cultural fit is only an element of a good recruitment strategy. It can also be combined with implementing wellness and benefits programs. The goal is the same - to increase employee engagement and satisfaction rates and give your specialists a reason to stay longer. In case you are worried about how cultural fit assessments might affect the diversity at your company, you can also create an internal diversity strategy with concrete KPIs (key performance indicators) and milestones, reflecting what employees you want to have in your teams. Are you aiming for an international team, for a workforce with a diverse personality type, or is it something else?  The answer to this question will bring you a step closer to upgrading your hiring strategy.

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