Saturday, August 28, 2010
The Culture Interview
What is culture? In any company, culture is the way the organization and the players in the organization behave. Culture is how behaviour lines up with values. Culture is propagated by storytelling, passing along information, sharing experiences. An organization and its leaders recognize the behaviour of values and share honestly with their people if they are off the tracks. Leadership is examples, living the culture and modeling the way. It is essential when bringing candidates into the organization that they can fit into the culture and enhance it with their presence.
When preparing to interview, look over the role requirements, the candidate’s history and the experience they bring with them. Questions to prepare can have a somewhat standardized format for all candidates because the questions that follow the original one will lead to more information.
Role requirements are critical to understand. Not only the physical work, also the mental work, leadership and management that will be required. When reviewing this information, having the candidate qualifications nearby can be helpful. This can be part of the question formulation process.
Questions need to include the words that are prevalent in the organization. Every company has a "lingo" of its own. Using this lingo helps the candidate understand the necessary participation and engagement that will be required to be successful in the position. With external candidates, using and defining the lingo can be helpful, providing the candidate with more company information.
Initial questions lead to more in depth behavioural questions. Looking for explanations as to why something occurred or was reacted to in a certain way or how results were obtained can help both the interviewer and the candidate Find common ground.
Many forms of interview processes can reflect the culture. A high team-involved company would benefit from using team interviewing. A highly customer focused company such as a retailer would benefit from seeing the candidate in action, selling on the sales floor or even merchandising. Just as a journalist would be required to show a portfolio, any other candidate can be put through their role in order to see how they would act/react in the organization. This provides the organization with a clearer view of what they will be getting in terms of performance in the future.
After the interview is completed, asking for any culture-based questions can help clarify a potential fit both the organization and the candidate. The candidate should leave with a clear understanding of whether they would be able to work in that company for the rest of their career. That fit would make the difference.