Working in recruiting we constantly hear companies tell us about their “amazing” company culture and job seeking candidates wanting to join a company with a “great” company culture.
But what is company culture anyways? How can you make strategic hires that not only seem to fit with the culture, but more so ADD to the culture? And how do you talk about your culture when hiring – what defines your employer brand? On the flip side, as a job seeking candidate how do you find a “culture” that is right for you?
These are loaded questions that could lend itself to separate discussions and posts on topics such as culture add versus culture fit, diversity in the workplace, best practices in employer branding, and on the candidate side, reading between the lines when interviewing for a job.
Let’s start with what company culture means, how companies talk about it in the hiring process, and how job seeking candidates can find out about it in the interview process:
Company culture in our own words:
Company culture is defined by its people and practices, not by ping pong tables, unlimited food, and beer taps. Company culture is about the way we interact with each other, guiding principles on how we behave and treat others, how we conduct business, our attitudes, how we celebrate, how we deal with a loss, how we implement change, and how we onboard new team members.
While workperks can add to culture by giving people an outlet to socialize or provide sustenance to be able to work through the night, that is not what is going to attract top talent or make them stay long term. *And side note for job seeking candidates – if a company is offering unlimited food, nap rooms, and basically everything you need to feel right at home – it can mean that the company is hoping you make it your home so you never feel you need to leave aka this may indicate long working hours (not always, but it might).
How Clarity is evolving its culture:
At Clarity, we would define our culture as transparent, collaborative, non-hierarchical, inclusive, and open-minded. However, we realized we could be doing a better job of being more inclusive to new hires. Our rock star Director of People, Colleen Robson, and fearless leader, Managing Partner, Moira Dorst, have developed a new onboarding process that starts out with a welcome breakfast and ice breaker: learning fun facts about each other. We did this for the first time last week welcoming our newest member, Kolt Free as a Junior Recruiter, and while this sounds basic, it sparked a ton of conversation, provided some laughs, and eased the process. We are excited to see how this continues to evolve and take shape as we grow!
Hiring companies: How to talk about culture to attract top talent
Today, if you are in an interview with a prospective candidate (especially millennial candidates) and all you can talk about are the fun happy hours and your dog-friendly office, you have a problem. While it was once cool to try to be the next Google and focus the interview conversation on perks, a la 2010, today’s workers are becoming less and less concerned with the non-job perks of the job, versus the job-job perks of the job such as career growth, developing skills, and recognition.
At Clarity, we meet with all generations of talent as potential candidates for our client partners across all industries and business support functions. When candidates are asked what their priorities are in their next job, the #1 response (particularly from millennials) is skills development and career growth. Sure free snacks are great and are always an added benefit, but the largest generation of workers right now is seeking an opportunity to learn and advance. Make sure to be prepared to speak to how a candidate can grow and develop within the company and if it’s a role without advancement be upfront about that and target your search accordingly.
Job seeking candidates: How to find out about a company’s culture to make the right choice for you
Job interviews aren’t the easiest to get a sense of company culture. Think about it, you are usually in a room with one or two people on the opposite side of a table getting questions fired at you. It’s hard to tell from an hour conversation or even multiple rounds of interviews what the culture is like. It’s important to ask the right questions upfront so you can get a sense of culture. If there is an opportunity to shadow someone as part of the interview process, even better! Review sites can sometimes provide insight; however, proceed with caution on those, a lot of times the negative reviews are written by disgruntled employees who may have been the problem, so take those with a grain of salt.
The bottom line
Company culture and hiring go hand in hand and is crucial to an organization’s success in attracting and maintaining quality talent. To be successful in today’s market, we all need to move with the times to ensure we are adding to our cultures, catering to generational talent needs, and for talent – asking the right questions to ensure the job/company is the right fit.
We want to hear from you! If you are a company hiring, what type of talent are you looking to add to your culture and what do you want job seeking candidates to know about your culture? If you are a job seeking candidate, what is it that you are looking for in terms of a company culture in your next career move? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.