How to Hire for Culture Alignment

The link between company culture, growth, and performance is globalized. In fact, it has become a buzzword in the professional space, spanning from small business culture to corporate HR relations. With the prevalence being so vast yet so hard to define, many have lost sight of why it is brought up in the first place: Culture in the workplace is the core foundation for employees and organizational success.

September 2023

Dan Hunter


There is a reason why the companies deemed "the best places to work" have the most extravagant recruitment stats and growth success today. Sure, competitive pay, good benefits, and even the location play an integral role in this outcome, but it all stems from one key umbrella component – fostering a powerful, welcoming company culture.

By definition, a good company culture is the notion that employees and leaders embody the brand’s core values, characteristics, and attributes, effectively enhancing the workplace environment as a whole. That not only instills clear expectations, behaviors, and motivating inspirations as early as the recruiting stage but bolsters the company’s reputation and overall success in more ways than one:

  • Improves Employee Retention: Various studies have shown that organizations with a strong and engaging company culture have much lower turnover rates. That is because developing a healthy and interactive workplace environment from recruitment onward encourages participation and teamwork, and increases employee happiness.
  • Better Company Reputation: Happy employees are treated well, which equates to better work quality and business performance. That leads to the company building a positive reputation from the inside out, which attracts more candidates to be recruited, as they will want to work for a place with the same cultural expectations and moral stances as them.
  • Transforms Employees into Advocates: An excellent company culture can easily transform employees into full-blown brand advocates. Giving employees more than just a paycheck and proving that what they do matters to the company’s success can form a bond, which can simultaneously turn into word-of-mouth marketing for more business exposure.
  • Consistent Peak Performances: When your company culture is good, your employees feel good. When your employees feel good, they are much more likely to perform at their peak capacity each day because they feel appreciated and part of the bigger picture. Not only will operations see a surge in better performance and results, but you may also notice your employees working faster with fewer errors.

In short, hiring the appropriate candidate for a job is a critical aspect of any business. However, it should not be solely based on the qualifications and experience of the applicant. Even if candidates have outstanding resumes and remarkable skills, if their culture preferences, behaviors, and personalities do not align with the company's culture, they may not be suited for the role. This is where hiring for culture alignment comes into play, as this is a useful approach that can aid in assessing the compatibility of a candidate's workplace preferences with the company's culture. With culture alignment hiring, HR teams can ensure they onboard the best candidate who will meet the job's requirements and contribute to a positive and productive work environment.

How to Hire for Culture Alignment

1. Determine What Personality Traits Are Necessary For The Role

Before starting the recruitment process, take the time to consider what kind of workplace preferences and personality traits would blend into the organization’s environment. Be sure to have an accurate and objective understanding of your own company’s culture, so you will know what to look for in your candidates. Get feedback from others in the organization so you can avoid creating a biased expectation about what you should be seeking in your candidates.

2. Host Experiential Interviews To Gauge How Personality Impacts Work

Experiential interviews are an effective way to assess how a candidate’s personality impacts their work behavior. This method involves simulating typical workplace scenarios and asking the candidate to perform, such as writing computer code, solving customer problems, or selling a product or service. It allows hiring managers to observe how candidates behave in a work setting and respond to work tasks.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions To Gain Insight Into A Candidate’s Personality

Qualitative interviewing is a method that offers candidates more wiggle room to speak about themselves openly and freely. By asking open-ended questions, you’ll gain more insight into the candidates beyond their qualifications and professional experience. It encourages candidates to share more and show off their personality, such as by asking, “Tell me about a time you experienced conflict in the workplace.”

4. Listen To Body Language To Gauge Confidence And Communication Skills

Body language can be valuable for gauging a candidate’s personality traits, like confidence, dominance, and communication skills. While nonverbal cues like fidgeting shouldn’t automatically disqualify candidates, they can provide insight into their behavior and traits. For example, a candidate sitting up straight might demonstrate natural confidence and dominance.

5. Use Personality Tests

Several tests exist that are useful for a deeper understanding of personality, however, they don’t strictly focus on assessing the workplace environment or cultural alignment. By contrast, Workzinga takes the benefits of the general personality assessments while incorporating other assessment methods and characteristics, utilizing the data to build a comprehensive profile of how well-aligned company and candidate truly are. This helps to make better hiring and management choices, using the data and insights to make critical business decisions.

An Organization's Success Relies On Hiring The Right People

According to company culture stats, 46% of career seekers state that company culture is an important factor in their choices. Furthermore, a Deloitte survey indicates that 94% of executives and 88% of recruited employees believe that well-established company cultures are the cornerstone for a company’s success. Overall, company culture is an organization’s lifeline – and the foundation for making that lifeline strong lies with hiring the right people who will bring value to the vision and meet standards that are not just good from a singular point but mutually beneficial for the organization as a collective.

And when you do have a robust and effective culture, you want to preserve it. Hiring for culture alignment is as simple as it is complex. As an HR professional thinking about driving company culture and workforce engagement, you can view it as an exercise to build and develop alignment over time, not a quick fix. Developing a well-aligned workforce takes time and diligence, requiring awareness of your own culture and a deep understanding of your job applicants’ preferences and desires. When hiring for a strong alignment, ensure you capture the distinctive essence of who the business is, explore in a meaningful way what your candidates are looking for in their next employer, and then evaluate how much value a union between the company and applicant will add to each.

Find more blog posts with similar tags

Filter blog posts by tag