Recently I received a great question from a young man I work with, Seth Ott, who is a fantastic entrepreneur. He said the biggest challenge he had in his organization right now was hiring people that would match well with his culture. Here is the note I sent back to him.


Here are my thoughts on culture fit.

1. Your company’s success depends on the quality of the people you can get, grow, and keep on your team.
This means talent acquisition, development, and retention should be a significant focus of your business.


2. You are right to focus on your culture.
Out of all the areas that can help an organization or kill it, the most important is culture. Even if you hire very talented people, your culture determines whether they are energized and engaged or frustrated and disengaged


3. The first step is to clearly define the kind of culture you have and want to develop by asking yourself some critical questions.
  • What values drive your organization?
  • What behaviors are encouraged or not tolerated?
  • What attitude do you want from the people who work for you?
  • What does an “ideal” team member look like?


4. Once you determine precisely what sort of a culture you want in your organization, build questions around your culture’s core values and unique aspects.
For example, I would ask them these questions if I were interviewing someone for my company.
  • What are your personal core values?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • What are your thoughts on customers and customer service?
  • What do you think is most important to be a great team player?
  • What are the last three business books you’ve read, and what did you learn from them?
  • Describe for me what you think makes a great leader.
  • Please take 15 minutes and tell me about our organization, our top three competitors, our industry, and where you see it in five years (if they cannot answer this question satisfactorily, they should not be on your team).
There are many other questions you can ask. Still, these align with the core values of our business and what I look for in a new team member.


5. Hire for attitude and aptitude, train for skills.
You can teach someone how to use a software program, but you cannot teach them to be honest, kind, hard-working, and collaborative.


6. Onboarding is critical.
It is challenging to recover if you do not get new team members on the right foot from the moment you hire them. Think about it carefully and structure it to help people successfully integrate into your culture.


7. It is essential that all leaders in the organization model the behaviors and attitudes they want from all the employees.
Whatever your culture is right now directly reflects your leadership team.


8. Hire slow, fire fast.
Reward people that exemplify the core values and culture of your organization. Remove anyone who violates the value or acts contrary to your desired culture.

Those are just some ideas off the top of my head. I hope you find them helpful.

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