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Recruitment is extremely rewarding when done right. Typically, there are a series of steps that recruiters follow to ensure that candidates will fit well in the positions for which they applied. Confusingly, the requirements for this approval process often vary between organizations, fields and sectors. Several business leaders are now taking new approaches to ensuring the right fit. One of the most prevalent assessment methods currently in use takes into account the organization’s workplace culture and whether or not the candidate upholds similar values and ideals. The cultural fit assessment is an essential component of the interview process that, when used effectively, can ensure the continued success of any recruiter.

Several well-known businesses utilize a cultural fit assessment tool. Human Resources expert Susan M. Heathfield recently investigated the interview process of online retailer Zappos. She discovered that they emphasize their workplace culture during their first phone screen and take incompatibility very seriously: “An HR Recruiter does a cultural fit phone interview before an applicant is asked to interview onsite… A prospective employee who fails to succeed during the cultural interview is never asked for an onsite interview at all.” Candidates must be culturally aligned with Zappos in order to move forward with the selection process. As a result of this initial screening process, employee satisfaction has increased dramatically.

Given their overwhelming success, cultural fit assessments have been particularly useful for nonprofits. Due to limited resources, hiring decisions can be much more heavily weighted in nonprofit environments. Additionally, nonprofits seek out candidates whose values and ideals align with the organization’s mission. A cultural fit assessment helps ensure that a prospective employee matches these criteria. When used early on, this tool allows nonprofits to save time and be more efficient with their work.

While there are numerous costly cultural fit assessment tools available, affordable options also exist. Kevin Wheeler, President and Founder of Global Learning Resources, Inc., outlined four simple steps to ensuring that a prospective employee will thrive in your organization’s workplace culture. They are as follows:

  1. Realistic Job Previews

  2. Use Referrals and Internal Connections

  3. Use Social Networks

  4. Fit Testing

The first three steps have no associated costs and are easy to implement. A realistic job preview allows candidates to determine their own cultural fit within the organization before even applying. Resources like Glassdoor can be very useful in this process of having candidates self-select employers that they feel drawn to. Referrals and social networking largely rely on help from current employees. Prospects selected by associates of the organization often share similar values and goals. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are useful when regularly updated by employees. Both allow recruiters to observe candidates’ communication skills and ability to interact with others.

When used simultaneously, Wheeler’s first three steps can significantly enhance any organization’s recruitment process at little to no cost. If you are looking to hire new employees, implement these steps in order to ensure the right fit and the continued success of your organization.

For more information from the candidate perspective, see Hiring for Culture.

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