The third biggest hiring mistake I see is when hiring managers don’t consider cultural fit issues with candidates. I don’t mean small/large company, although that’s a common question hiring managers ask. Here are more cultural fit issues:
- The personality diversity of the team. If you have a team of introverts (not uncommon), think about that extrovert you’re interviewing. Some people don’t know how to stop talking long enough for the introverts to think. I’ve met some teams where the extroverts and introverts didn’t know — and felt no compunction to learn — how to work with the other type. If you get past that, think about the big-idea people and the data-driven people. Does your candidate know how to work with the other type?
- What your offices look like and how people work. If you’re hiring for an agile team where the team works in a collaborative work environment and your candidate is used to an office with a door, how will you assess whether that person can learn to work in your environment?
- Is your candidate accustomed to a generous office supply policy, and you don’t buy yellow stickies because they’re too expensive? (I swear, one hiring manager told me that the yellow stickies (4″x6″) that I use to lay out schedules were too expensive. Sigh.)
- Some candidates are used to a “reasonable” training budget, and yours is zero for this year. You’re not sure when it will go above zero. You’ll need to raise the issue with the candidate and determine if that candidate would be happy working in your organization.
- Sometimes cultural fit issues are how people discuss problems at work. I worked at a company, where we were expected to call what we perceived as stupid ideas “brain-dead.” At another company, people referred to a straightforward solution as the “plain old vanilla” problem or solution. Certainly, language can be a big piece of how a candidate can adapt — or not — to a particular culture.
There are more, such as having to make all decisions by consensus, but these are the kinds of issues that candidates sometimes forget to ask about. As a hiring manager, you’ll need to look at these attributes of the job, and make sure you ask questions, to make sure your candidate is sufficiently adaptable to your cultural environment.