Assess Cultural Fit – Part 3 in the Entrepreneurial Hiring Process

In this step, focus on ensuring a cultural fit. Each time you hire a new employee, you’re not only hiring someone to fill a job category, billet, or some other arcane position description, you are making a decision to bring another franchisee into your organization. You’re not just hiring an employee, you’re hiring a business person. You’re hiring someone who can understand how the company is going to build business value, how the company makes money, and how the success of the company is tied to his personal success. Your hiring someone who can embrace your principles and values. This is your culture. The people you hire must embrace your culture.

Use the following test when adding a person to your team. If you can answer yes to these questions during the hiring process, you are thinking in terms of attracting people with the right attitude.

Does the candidate have the ability and desire to:

  • Learn how you build business value?
  • Execute your operating model?
  • Teach your operating model?

A candidate’s willingness to spend the time and effort to learn how your company builds value sets the stage for his ability to make sound business decisions once hired. If each employee understands what the company does and how the company does it, everyday actions are translated directly into top-line revenue gains or bottom-line profits. Employees will understand how they can affect Key Management Indicators. When executing your operating model as a part of their daily activities, they understand the direct relationship of their actions to the success of the company. They know the decisions they make every day can materially affect the profitability of the company. Finally, when an employee develops the ability to teach the operating model to new employees, your way of doing business is reinforced. One generation of employees sees to it that the next generation of employees understands the operating model and thus begins the never-ending cycle of learning, executing, and teaching your way of doing things.

Ask yourself two questions. Does the candidate have the ability and desire to:

  • Challenge how you build business value?
  • Improve how you build business value?

Your competitive position is destined to change. There is certainly no sign that competition is lessening, or that your products and services will succeed without changing. This necessitates constant change and improvement in your company’s operating model. Just ask General Motors or Bank of America about the need to adapt and change. Customers continue to ask “What have you done for me lately?”

Spend most of your time asking candidates probing, leading questions that will help you assess their ability to fit into your culture and help you build value. Consider using small teams when interviewing candidates. People relate differently in group sessions than they do one-on-one. Ask them questions about their experiences working closely with customers. Determine if they are motivated by helping customers. Ask them to tell you stories about their experiences working in their actions? Their answers to these questions indicate how well they will fit in teams. Ask them about innovative ways they have improved their current company’s ability to perform. Focus on their goals and aspirations. Are they interested in learning how your business runs? Do they take accountability for their actions? Their answers to these questions indicate how well they will fit in.

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