How do you ensure that even the most competent hire is the right fit?

How do you ensure that even the most competent hire is the right fit?
Organizational culture can be hard to maintain and build, even for the most experienced human resources pros. But what about making sure your hiring supports the culture you’ve built? Finding employees with the right skills is hard enough. How do you ensure that even the most competent hire is the right fit? We spoke with Joel Johnson, EVP, Director of Human Resources at Sunrise Banks to get his insight.
 
When searching for new hires, do you find it more challenging to find someone with the right skills or the right fit for the culture?
In general, it is more challenging to identify individuals who are the right fit. This is because identifying skill sets tend to be very objective, for example – do they have the proper education, certifications, experience. However, whether an individual fits the values of your organization or the culture of a specific team becomes harder to identify through the interview process.
 
What sort of compromise is needed when a candidate is perfect for culture or qualifications but not quite right for the other?
First of all, if a candidate does not fit the culture of your organization, hiring them could cause more harm than good. If they are perfect for the organization’s culture but are missing certain skills or abilities – you need to determine if the skills, abilities or knowledge can be learned. Often they can be, in which case there may be great value in moving forward with the hire. As the talent pool for positions becomes tighter, it will become more important to find good culture fits for your organization and train them on the knowledge, skills and abilities they will need to perform the functions of the position well.
 
Realistically you can’t re-hire everyone for a cultural fit when a workplace changes; what kinds of things can be done to bring current employees on board with cultural changes?
Communication and transparency are always key in any changes. Typically cultures do not change dramatically overnight, unless an organization is acquired. If you are not being acquired and you believe your culture is changing, you may find it is more about communicating what your culture is or has been. And finally, it is key that leadership embodies the culture of your organization.
 
Just as many people are hired for their potential to learn and improve their skills, do you think it is realistic to expect a new employee to grasp a workplace culture right away? What can be done to aid that?
Right away – probably not. You should identify interview questions to ask that help you determine if a candidate fits your culture. Then you should be transparent as to what your culture is and communicate it to the candidate. Hopefully candidates who can see your culture is not a fit for them, will select out of the interview process. Whether your culture is fast paced, slow, formal, informal, whatever it is – let them know.
 
What advice do you have for newer HR professionals in regard to finding cultural fits in the hiring process? What are some good things to look for in that process?
First of all – make sure you fully understand the culture and ensure that leadership, from executive to front line managers, supports and exemplify your organization’s values and culture. Then identify questions that will help you determine if the candidate is a culture fit.