In organizations, culture is defined by what we do. And just hoping that culture will evolve on its own is a recipe for disaster. To have a fluid, high-performing team, you must be intentional about developing the culture consistently.

One of the most important things you can do to shape your culture is to put time and thought into hiring the right people—people who will do the right things in alignment with your stated mission, vision, and values.

The bottom line is two-fold:

  1. How do you make people want to work for you?
  2. How do you attract the people you want?

When you have a clear understanding of your company’s values and desired culture, then identify where the role you are hiring for fits into that vision, you will hire individuals who have both the right skill set and the right cultural fit.

How can you tell if a candidate fits your culture?

“At Innovative Connections, we use a personality assessment to help determine how an employee might work within the culture of an organization as well as how they will meet the criteria for the role,” says Laurie Cure, Ph.D., president and CEO. “The assessment can indicate how a candidate’s personality, values, and potential blind spots might impact their individual performance as well as the way they might impact team dynamics and interactions.”

However, personality assessment should not be the sole criteria. “We also look at emotional intelligence (“EI”) in the hiring process. People with high EI scores are typically very self-aware, meaning they manage their own emotional experiences, handle conflict appropriately, are critical thinkers, can build trust, and are good at building strong relationships,” Laurie explains. There is a direct positive correlation between EI and leadership success.

“The research shows,” she says, “that, all other things being equal, a person’s emotional intelligence score dictates 80 percent of their success in a role. This tool identifies critical attributes for success.”

Using these two tools, in combination with a personal interview process, can be beneficial. Occasionally, a candidate’s personality profile in isolation may not indicate that they are a great fit for the company; however, further analysis through emotional intelligence profiles and interviews may reveal a more nuanced picture.

“We have had hires who, at first glance, would not have been identified as the ideal candidate based on their personality profile. But upon further discussion and assessment was determined their personality was right for the job,” she explains. “For instance, someone may have a strong ‘derailer’ (e.g., passive-aggressive or narcissistic behavior indicators, which can come across as unempathetic or uncaring). But if this same individual has high EI, they likely have a high level of awareness around their derailers and can effectively navigate and manage them to be a strength rather than a weakness.”

The interview process is also critical in deepening awareness of a candidate’s personality and EI traits. “It’s important to ask questions that will reveal the authenticity of a candidate, not just their technical skill set,” Cure says. Some key EI indicators that may predict a candidate’s potential for success include:

  • Do they think about how others are affected by their actions?
  • Do they think before they speak or act?
  • Can they process their emotions internally before reacting to a situation?
  • Can they use their own emotions to problem-solve?
  • Are they adaptable in different situations?

To summarize, it is important to use more than one method or tool to make a judgement on the desirability of a candidate.

“Having a very strong sense of your company’s culture and vision prior to even beginning to write your job description is helpful in the process of making good hiring decisions,” Laurie recaps. “Then using a personality assessment in conjunction with EI indicators, as well as really honing your interviewing process, is a great way to ensure you are hiring the right person for the right reason for the right job.”

Next up? Once you have hired the perfect candidate, how do you keep them? Employee turnover is expensive.  In fact, according to statistics, it can cost employers up to 33 percent of the employee’s salary to replace them once they leave. Stay tuned for a future post with some insights into engagement and retention.