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Recruitment and HR Blog

How to get the right culture fit when hiring

22nd March 2022

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We’re slowly entering a post-covid world, where restrictions are disappearing and many employees are returning to their workplaces. And we’re seeing greater levels of flexibility too, with hybrid and remote working becoming a permanent arrangement for many. This is all fantastic news with businesses now focusing on growth and building back stronger. And to grow a business successfully you need to get the culture right - which means recruiting the right people to make that happen.

But this can be easier said than done. It’s not straightforward to work out how well a candidate will fit with your culture. Someone might have been a high performer in their previous company but if they aren’t aligned with the beliefs, values and behaviours needed in your business, there’s no guarantee they’ll be as successful when they come to work for you. And the last thing you want to do is bring someone into your company, only to realise you’ve made a costly mistake.

So how can you assess potential new employees for cultural fit?

Your organisation needs someone who’s going to thrive in your environment, and the applicant needs to fit in comfortably to be happy and able to do their best work.

This is where psychometric testing plays a really valuable role, quickly helping a company get useful insights into an applicant’s behavioural style and a feel for how that style might impact on their working relationships and performance. The tests can give information about behavioural traits, leadership styles and motivation, indicating how candidates might differ in the way they respond to particular situations, and are likely to interact with other people in their working environment.

Obviously there are limitations. While these types of tests will help you get a more informed view about a candidate’s suitability for a role, they should form part of a wider recruitment process rather than be used in isolation to make a recruitment decision. Nor are they ability tests. They simply reveal preferences towards certain types of behaviour styles.

But from a cultural fit perspective, psychometric tests can provide some really valuable information that can be built on throughout, and used in combination with, other stages of the recruitment process. In an interview, it’s not always easy to get a true feel for what someone’s personality is like for example. But use the psychometric testing profile to guide question preparation and the conversation during the interview, and it can open up lots of areas for discussion.

What about diversity?

One question that’s sometimes raised is whether psychometric testing for cultural fit can negatively affect diversity efforts. And it’s an understandable concern. After all, if you restrict yourself to looking for a particular “type”, your company could miss out on some great talent, and do a major disservice to candidates who could have gone on to do the role really well. So yes, there could be a risk if the profiles aren’t used correctly, perhaps if they’re assessed against a highly prescriptive list where candidates have to be a very close match.

But used properly, psychometric tests can actively contribute towards greater diversity. The tests help you understand more about how a candidate could potentially add to and complement your existing mix of people, and even help take the culture in a new direction that you’re aspiring towards. They encourage you to think in terms of the overall blend of styles and what somebody could add, rather than having unconscious biases creep in that lead to an individual being recruited because they “feel” right as they’re similar to the rest of the team.

The benefits of psychometric tests extend beyond recruitment

Psychometric tests don’t only have to be used at the point of recruitment though. They can also be highly effective tools to use for the development of your existing employees, providing insights that create a greater understanding of dynamics, motivations and working styles, and improving engagement by using the feedback to build stronger relationships and encourage better communication. The information can be used to assist with identifying progression opportunities and internal promotions too.

Speak to us to find out more about how psychometric tests could help your company

Using psychometric tests can add a great deal to the recruitment process, helping you find the right person in terms of working styles and values. As part of our applicant assessment support services, we can provide psychometric testing and cognitive ability assessments, as well as a pre-employment testing service to enable you to assess candidates' numeracy, literacy, and IT skills and knowledge. If you’d like to learn more about the ways we can support you in delivering your talent attraction and recruitment strategy, please do contact us.

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