Don’t Let “Culture Fit” Get in the Way of Hiring Strong Candidates: Focus on These 5 Factors Instead

Consider this scenario: A candidate has all the necessary experience required for a role. Their first interview was very casual but went well. However, they were eventually turned down because a single hiring manager deemed that they “aren’t a good culture fit”. Do you see a problem here?

Of course, companies should hire candidates they feel will thrive within their culture. But more data needs to be considered than whether one interviewer just felt like they “clicked” with the candidate. Such a subjective measure can result in companies missing out on highly qualified candidates, or worse, sliding into discriminatory hiring practices.

To better calculate if a candidate will succeed in your company, focus on these five factors instead of just culture fit:

Relevant Professional Experience


Candidates submit resumes for a reason. They help companies understand what candidates have already achieved, and how they could potentially bring those experiences to the table. Before you even begin reviewing resumes, establish what experience the role at hand needs. Ask yourselves questions like:

  • What experience is absolutely necessary to perform the job?
  • What are your must-haves and like-to-haves in employees?
  • What skills is the company capable of providing training for?

Focus on these criteria so that you won’t be tempted to interview someone just because they went to your alma mater or are from your hometown.

Responses to Behavioral Questions


It’s human nature to want to find common ground with the candidate you’re interviewing. But focusing on interests and hobbies can distract you from understanding what makes someone tick professionally. Asking questions about how a candidate would behave in specific situations will give you a better idea of their professional characteristics. But first, establish what type of responses you want to see from candidates before conducting a single interview. Then, you will have an unbiased benchmark to use when scoring responses.

Also, be sure to have multiple hiring authorities involved in these interviews. One person’s opinion could be swayed by a variety of irrelevant factors, so more input is ideal.

Values and Driving Forces


A company needs to be completely honest with themselves about the types of values that are important to them. Once that is established, tools like DISC assessments can uncover what truly motivates the candidate. If a candidate is motivated by things that a company cannot provide, they won’t last long. For example, a candidate who is highly motivated by money will probably struggle in a slow-moving environment without opportunities for commission or bonus. This will go a long way in not only improving employee retention but also building successful management strategies.

Measurable Soft Skills


For the hospitality industry, many of the most important skills can seem impossible to assess unless they are on the job. But soft skills like communication, problem-solving, stress management, and emotional intelligence can still be measured during the interview process. Instead of hiring someone and crossing your fingers that they have what it takes for the role, use high-quality skills assessments to understand where their strengths are and where they may have gaps.

Have a structured interview process


No matter what type of candidate you want to hire, have a consistent interview process to identify those traits. Each candidate should receive the same level of consideration using the same interview formats and tools. Since you may not have all of the tools or experience, it’s always a smart idea to partner with experts who can help. The hospitality recruiters at Horizon Hospitality can build a comprehensive interview process. They have a wealth of resources and solutions to make sure your company’s next hire is the right hire.

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