Interviewing with Organizational Culture in Mind

Hiring great people is the foundation of a great culture, so your interview process needs to reflect the culture of  the organization.  Most interviews involve tedious scheduling, meeting with multiple members of the team and candidates being asked redundant questions. Here are some tips to help transform the interview process to better hire for a cultural fit:

Interviewing with Organizational Culture in Mind

  • Make your interview process more like an audition.  Instead of scheduling tedious interviews, bring in all of the candidates at once.  Think of games, techniques, or projects that best replicate your culture to see if the candidates are a good fit.  From a candidate’s perspective, if they don’t like the audition, they probably would agree they wouldn’t be a good fit for the team.
  • Throw out behavioral, brain teasers, and questions that don’t have any bearing on job performance.  Take your company’s values and use them as the basis to create new questions.  For example, Facebook embraces “Move fast and break things.”  Have the potential new hire tell you about the last time they moved so fast, things broke.
  • Get your team involved.  If you usher the candidate in past the cube farm to talk with the big guys, your culture probably values bureaucracy over transparency.  Becoming more transparent is a value most great companies embrace.  Try to get the whole team involved, whether it’s bringing the person in for a day as a paid consultant to shadow the team, having group interviews, or having your team brainstorm creative ways to get involved in creating a more transparent hiring process.

Studying many company’s culture and their interview process, a standout company that has tweaked their interview process until it works for them is Menlo Innovations.  Their interviews are more like an audition that replicates their pair programming, title-free culture.  Menlo brings in about 40 or so people for the first round of the interview process.  The candidates partner up  and are given one pen and one piece of paper between the pair.  Since pair programming requires two people to share a computer and keyboard, this audition duplicates what the new hire would be experiencing on a daily basis.  Next, the pairs are told to solve a problem while being observed by a Menlonian.  The goal of the pair is to solve the problem while trying to get the other candidate hired by making them look good.  For some, trying to get the other candidate hired is a twist they may not like.  If the candidate isn’t comfortable making their partner look good, they probably aren’t going to fit well in Menlo’s boss and title free culture.

While this an example of works well for one company’s culture, it might not work for every culture, as every culture is unique.

 What trends are you seeing as company’s change their interview process to better hire for a cultural fit?  Holla!

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Stephanie Krieg

Stephanie Krieg aka HRChick is the Founder of HR Culture Club. She is a corporate culture consultant, who makes work fun while gettin' sh*t done. In her spare time, she enjoys club hopping, bottle popping, and online shopping. Connect with Stephanie.

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