In the search to find the perfect candidate to fill an open position, managers will (understandably) tend to prioritize candidates who have the most experience or who have the widest set of demonstrable skills. While it’s certainly crucial to seek out and recruit candidates who have the necessary technical experience, it can also be a mistake for employers to focus only on candidates’ “hard skills”. There is another dimension of “soft skills” – people skills or personality traits, in other words – that are equally important for managers to take into account whenever vetting a potential candidate. By gauging a job candidate’s soft skills and getting a feel for their personality, you’ll be able to determine if they would be a good fit within the workplace culture that they’d be entering into.
Resumes and cover letters are extremely useful when you’re trying to get a feel for a candidate’s experience and background, but they typically will not shed much light on a candidate’s personality or interpersonal skills. Professional references (i.e., previous employers and managers), on the other hand, can provide valuable insights into a particular candidate’s conduct at the workplace. It’s worth reaching out to one or two previous employers in order to get a sense of how well a candidate’s personality would fit within your workplace culture.
One of the most effective ways to get a feel of whether or not a candidate would be a strong culture fit is to ask the right questions. To learn more about a candidate’s values and personality, try asking some of the following questions during an interview:
Maintaining a strong and balanced workplace culture is a collaborative process. Each of your employees contributes in his or her unique way to weave the tapestry of your working environment. With that in mind, it can be extremely helpful to give your team members a chance to meet with job candidates personally to ask culture-based questions.
Last but certainly not least, it’s important for managers to thoroughly understand the responsibilities of the role that’s being applied for, and in turn to define the personality traits that will be required for success. For example, some positions will require a high degree of autonomy and creativity, and others will place a greater emphasis on collaboration and communication skills. In order to ensure that a job candidate will be a good culture fit within the company as a whole, you’ll first want to make sure that they’ll be the right personality fit within the particular department and position for which they’re interviewing.
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