Person-culture fit: Five recruitment tips for small to medium enterprises

In small to medium enterprises (SMEs), the pain of recruiting someone that does not fit into your culture or the intended role will be felt acutely and it’s an expensive error to put right.

A poor recruitment process is also frustrating for the candidates and will do no favours for your employer brand. According to a study by LinkedIN that surveyed over 26,000 professionals worldwide, candidates seeking work in small to mid-sized companies most commonly face these challenges:

  • Not knowing what it’s really like to work at the company
  • Applying to the company and not hearing back
  • Not understanding what’s really expected in the role
  • Facing difficulty in negotiating salary, title, role etc.
  • Unclear communication during the process

There’s no need to make your accountant blanch by proposing the introduction of fancy assessment centres but a little structure in your recruitment process will help you to get the right person in the right role and will create a positive candidate experience. Given that word of mouth and referrals continue to be a popular channel for recruitment, it’s certainly beneficial to make the right impression.

So before you begin the recruitment process, consider the following to help you achieve a successful person-culture match:

  1. Get a clear and simple job description in place and ensure key stakeholders agree on the content. Online tools like the Dimensions Role Profiling Wizard by TalentQ can make this a quick and easy task.
  2. Profile the existing team so that you’re clear on the current capabilities and skills mapped against the goals to be achieved. This will provide useful insight as to any missing skill gaps that need to be filled.
  3. Define what your culture is; how are things done and what behaviours are most suited to the company? What behaviours would be damaging?
  4. Develop communications that describe the culture of your company. The warts and all version – not the glossy shop window version. Ask current employees to create a video or invite them to have an informal chat with candidates.
  5. Utilise personality questionnaires and competency-based interviews to gather more data points in the hiring process. This also helps to reduce decision biases (like unconsciously hiring people similar to yourself!) and increases assessment validity.

Remember to keep candidates updated on outcomes. Prepare communication templates in advance to help manage this efficiently.

Happy hiring.

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