Recruitment: Hiring for Current or Desired Culture?

Does your organizational culture attract job applicants? Culture represents the identity of the organization and it can attract people if it radiates outside the office walls.

A positive culture can be a magnet to the professionals that your organization is looking for! Professionals are more and more looking for fulfillment at work and seeing their careers as an integral part of their lives. It’s not uncommon for job applicants to check first or ask their network about the culture before they apply.

The first question for organizations (their leaders and HR people) is, thus: do we have an outspoken, distinctive culture? What is our culture? Do we have that clear and is it clear for others?

The second question is: does this typical organizational culture attract the professionals we need? When your organization is looking for Millennials and other young talents you need to check the four elements of a Positive Culture. Do we have a shared meaningful purpose, collaboration, positive awareness, and learning & autonomy?

Read more about the four elements here.

Those elements align with research (such as Pink’s) that suggests that people look for fulfillment at work. They are engaged when they get Mastery (learning and getting better in their field), Autonomy (being trusted and making your decisions about your tasks) and Purpose (an inspiring purpose to work for).

Employee Experience

That resonates with a recent study by the Execu|Search Group. “With professionals in the driver’s seat, they’re commanding more than just higher salaries,” said Edward Fleischman, their CEO. “Professionals consider their careers an integral part of their lives and they expect their job to provide meaning. Top performers who do not feel engaged or supported at work will be first to leave.”

What does the Hiring Outlook report convey?

  • It’s becoming increasing difficult to keep talent: 66% of professionals are NOT planning to stay at their organization long-term.
  • Companies must offer more professional development: 86% of professionals said that they would change jobs if they were offered more opportunities for professional development.
  • 66% of professionals said that there isn’t much support for those wishing to take on leadership roles.
  • Managers play a critical role in employee engagement: Professionals ranked support from leadership/management as the most important element of company culture.
  • Employers are falling short regarding work-life balance: 45% of employees do not feel their employer promotes a healthy work-life balance.
  • 71% of professionals said they would change jobs if they were offered flexible scheduling in a new role.

Many organizations need to work on their culture to be attractive for young professionals. Marketing and PR won’t do the trick. You need to walk the talk and the culture of the organization must match its external image.

Hire for Culture

Once your culture works well, the third question is: should you hire for culture? Hiring for culture and character can work well, especially if skills can be learned or improved afterward. You cannot change someone’s character and the culture won’t change overnight, either.

A good fit with culture enhances the chance that the candidate will feel at home, build good relationships with co-workers and collaborate well. It will also be easier to retain this new colleague.

There are several ways to find out whether people would fit into the culture. You could interview them, have them meet their future colleagues (and let them decide), organize personality tests and assessments.

Some of my clients use the OCAI assessment to test the culture fit. They ask the receiving team to complete the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument and create a collective profile of the team’s current (and preferred) culture. Next, they ask the candidates to do the OCAI and bring their personal culture profile to the job interview.

The culture profiles are easy to compare and it’s a great way to talk about culture. What do you like, what do you need to perform well, what do you expect of this team or organization?

Enhance the Culture

Even though a culture fit sounds efficient, hiring for culture could diminish the diversity that organizations need as well. People who think different, who bring new angles and ideas to the table, or those who criticize the plan that everyone loves are necessary as well.

Research shows that diverse teams and organizations make better decisions and perform better than their less diverse peers. The art is to create a culture of inclusion and diversity before you hire colleagues who are “different”. Just adding new people won’t make your culture more diverse. If the new people don’t feel comfortable, they will either leave, disengage, or become like everyone else to belong! Your culture must be open to receive them, respect them and embrace their contributions.

Hire for the Future

Some organizations don’t hire for culture, but for culture change. They bring in just enough professionals with different mindsets and actions to nudge the others. Again, some of my clients have used the OCAI to determine the culture their organization would need to be successful in the long run. Next, they started the recruitment process to hire new colleagues who already embodied the “desired values” for the future.

Organizational culture determines whether or not a new colleague succeeds and remains in their position in the long run. It’s powerful. Just take a look at this video:

  • What’s our culture?
  • Is it a distinctive, positive and attractive culture?
  • Will we hire for the current culture, or for the future?
  • Do the OCAI culture assessment at

Learn to develop a positive, productive and inclusive culture in the Positive Culture Academy.

© Marcella Bremer, 2019. All rights reserved.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ashleyjohn

    Excellent blog! I really appreciate, very well explained on recruitment hiring for current or desired culture. Interesting and Informative, Please keep sharing.

  2. liana sweety

    thank you so much. it is very useful.