The Importance of Assessing Job Candidates for Cultural Fit

In today's active employment market, workers want more than just a job. That's why an organization's culture is such a competitive differentiator and a key part of attracting, engaging, and retaining a talented workforce. At Gilman Partners, we look at culture from two perspectives. First, how do we know we have the best candidates to fit a client's culture? And second, how do organizations build or evolve into a culture that keeps employees engaged? To address the need for matching the right candidate with the right culture, we began using a tool several years ago to help us establish a common language regarding "culture and fit." Adding our Behavioral Strength Assessment gave us a way to identify and talk about candidates' behavioral strengths and how they compare to what the client is looking for. Better yet, we develop interview questions that further assist our clients in evaluating candidates on job skills and experience as well as behavioral skills like communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution. These softer skills are part of the foundation on which an organization's culture is built. We have seen a bit of an evolution over the past few years when it comes to hiring human resources professionals. HR used to be about compliance, writing the employee handbook, and keeping benefits costs reasonable. All of those responsibilities are still critical, but our clients are looking for HR professionals who also have Organizational Development experience. Many of our clients want to evolve their organization's culture as well as the way they hire, educate, and assess employees, and they want an HR partner to lead those efforts across the organization. Our assessment of cultural fit seems to be working. Over 96 percent of the executive candidates Gilman Partners has placed are still with their organization three years later. Though job skills are important, finding candidates who fit into an existing culture or can help lead a cultural change seems to be the path to employee retention success. Michele focuses on the firm's CFO, executive leadership, accounting, and finance searches. She has more than twenty-five years of experience in recruiting and human resources, spanning industries such as manufacturing, health care, professional services, and technology. Michele is also the firm's certified expert on the BG Behavioral Assessment tool, which is administered as part of the candidate selection process. A former Deloitte employee, Michele has a bachelor's degree from Penn State University and joined the firm in 2004. Email: mplessinger@gilmanpartners.com

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