Cultural fit is the biggest single determinant of the success of a new hire for both the candidate and the employer. If the candidate doesn’t fit into the culture, it’s likely they will quickly become unhappy and disengaged, and then, no one wins.

Traditionally, a candidate would get a sense of your culture at their face-to-face interview, but today with many roles being recruited via video, this doesn’t occur. To maximise the success of your recruitment, it’s a good idea to give candidates an idea of the culture before they even apply.  Here is our guide to communicating workplace culture at every stage of your recruitment process.

The Job Ad

This is your first chance to communicate with prospective employees, so make use of it to share information about your culture. It will help people make an informed decision as to whether they should apply, so you get a more engaged candidate pool.

Many job ads allude to cultural elements with adjectives like busy, fast-paced, or flexible, but it can also pay to be a little more specific.  Tell candidates what makes your environment this way. If it’s flexible, explain how – i.e., with opportunities to work flexible hours or work from home.  And most importantly, make sure the adjectives you choose are accurate. Calling a workplace ‘fun’ or ‘flexible’ might attract the most candidates, but if it’s not true, they aren’t the right ones.

The Screening Process

Video pre-screening tools that allow you to send a one-way video interview to the candidate can be a great way to see a candidate’s personality and gain insights that are simply not possible from a written resume.  To use this to best effect, ask some curveball questions that get a candidate thinking on their feet and their personality shining through.

The Interview

If you are back to doing face-to-face interviews, there are lots of ways to share your culture through cues such as how people act, talk and dress in your office. On video, you will need to be more upfront and discuss these things with the candidate.

Video interviews are also a great opportunity for the recruiter or employer to get a feel for what the candidate thinks about the role.  How seriously they are taking the opportunity can often be gleaned from video cues like what they chose to wear and the background of the video, e.g. is it a neutral background or their laundry basket?

Whether your interview is face-to-face or online, it’s important to ask questions that both help your candidate understand your culture and allow you to explore their fit.  Beyond the “tell me about a time you have worked in a fast-paced environment” type of question, ask questions that dig into who the candidate is. You can find out a lot about a candidate from what they like to do outside work, books they are reading etc.

A lot of cultural fit comes down to personality and so it’s important to understand who the person is beyond their career experience.

The Reference Check

Reference checks can be a great way to gain insight into not just a candidate’s experience but their personality as well.  Think outside the box when it comes to your reference checks and take them beyond the expected by also asking questions that get to the heart of who the candidate is.  For example, “when have you seen the candidate at their happiest?” or even broad questions like “Why should I give the role to the candidate?”, which can often give you a range of insights.

In most cases, the old adage hire for culture, train for skills remains true whether you are working in a face-to-face or remote environment.  Get it wrong, and you may have to go back to recruiting. This is an expensive and time-consuming do-over, so it pays to be upfront about culture at every stage of your recruitment process.