Have you ever had an experience where you felt the need to pretend to be someone you werent?
I had this feeling this morning, as I’m attending some training in Washington and am staying at a posh hotel as my standard “Holiday Inn” wasn’t available. The hotel is ultra-refined and full of sophisticated business individuals that seem to innately understand the etiquette of such places. Myself having grown up in a farming community am more comfortable relaxing in jeans and t-shirt and issuing casual but polite conversations. So throughout the morning I felt the need to pretend to be “ultra-refined” so I could fit and and to ensure they wouldn’t catch on to my small-town mannerisms! I have to tell you – pretending to fit in is exhausting work!!
This type of scenario is a common experience for employees in workplace around the world on a daily basis! Particularly for new employees, they may not feel that they fit into the corporate culture or they may not have confidence in their abilities or they may fear that they won’t live up to their manager’s expecations. These types of fears are common but the challenge is that they reduce the employee’s productivity, their engagement in their work, and the can impact relationships with other coworkers. So, how do employees end up in situations like this?
Poor hiring decisions.
Traditional hiring practices focus on candidates’ job titles and educational credits rather than on how well a candidate will “fit” with an organization or team. While it’s important for a candidate to have similar experience to those they will experience in your organization, and to have knowledge in their field, it’s almost more important that they have the same values as your organization and have behavioural tendencies that complement your existing team. This ensures not only that they can “do” the job, but that they’ll be engaged and satisfied in the role.
There are of a number of techniques that can be used to assess a candidate’s fit during the hiring process, but most simply you need to answer the following questions about your organization and the role first:
- How do your current employees define the work culture?
- What they do they enjoy about working with your organization?
- What do they find challenging about working with your organization?
- What makes them want to quit their job?
- What is exciting about the position?
- What makes people want to rip their hair out about the position?
After you have answered these questions you want to craft questions during the interview process to identify if candidates have worked in similar environments and roles in the past to your organization and the job at hand and how they felt during those times? Did they enjoy it or did they dread waking up and heading into work each day? The key here is to ask them about situations in the past – not whether they would enjoy the job you are offering. The reason for this is everyone is going to say yes they’d enjoy your job because they want the job offer!! So it’s more beneficial for both of you to dig into their past experiences as it’s more challenging for candidates to lie when telling a story. Most managers that implement this strategy find that the quality of the information they receive during the interview process is far more valuable and in turn the quality of their hires increases.
While this act of interviewing for fit may seem like a simple task, it really can be quite challenging. The analysis itself takes time and can often be skewed based on internally biases, so I recommend hiring an external consultant that can look at and listen to your employees feedback objectively and pinpoint what is critical for you to drill down on with candidates to assess their fit. The second challenge is developing strong interview questions to start these discussions as they often are not intuitive. Recruitment consultants can also be beneficial during this stage to get your interview guides created and your management team comfortable in using these questions during interviews. Despite all of these efforts – it’s well worth it. The wrong hire will drain your hiring & training budgets, reduce performance of your team, and leave the employee exhausted and disengaged.
If you’ve had any challenges with poor hiring decisions or if you have solutions you’d like to share, please leave a comment! Perhaps we can exchange some ideas and eradicate these pain points for both employers and employees!