A company’s success is dependent on its people, which is why it’s so important to invest in attracting high performers. As Steve Jobs once said, the process of hiring top talent is ‘the most important job’.

But it’s not enough to find candidates who will excel in the role – they also need to be a good fit for the organisation. Get it wrong and that new hire may soon be your ex-hire.

So how do you attract candidates who share your company’s values?

1. State your organisation’s values in the job ad  
Candidates are often left to read between the lines of job ads. In addition to the listing the required skills and person specification, state the key values of the organisation – and think carefully about the language you use.

Do you celebrate innovative thinkers who disrupt the status quo, or value diligent workers who adhere to company rules? Should employees be driven by success and thrive under pressure, or do you nurture employees and help them grow into the role?

Research shows that the language used in job ads attracts different kinds of applicants. If you want to find candidates with the same values as the organisation, take the time to word things right.

Try writing several versions of job ads and seeing which one generates more interest – higher webpage views, click-through rates or applications from particular groups.

2. Determine criteria to measure person–organisation fit
You can’t rely on candidates to know whether they are a good fit for the company when applying – you need to assess this during the selection process. Start by listing employee characteristics which are valued by the organisation and drawing up measurable criteria.

It can help to determine ‘anti-fit’ criteria – i.e., those traits which do not fit with company culture. You may decide to hire an ‘anti-fit’ candidate for certain roles – those that require people with unique skills or traits, or because you need to disrupt current ways of working.

3. Invite selected candidates for a day’s ‘trial’
Interviews give candidates a very brief window into the company. A tour of the office will give applicants a clue about work culture (do employees wear suits or jeans / is the office buzzing or library-quiet / are there rows of cubicles or breakout zones with funky chairs and pinball machines).

Consider inviting selected candidates to work with their prospective team for the day. If the company isn’t right for them, it’s best they know that now.

4. Consider the organisation’s future aspirations
Candidates who identify with the company’s ethics are more likely to feel a more valid connection, which in turn improves employee engagement and retention in the long-term.

To further ensure longevity when hiring, think beyond the company’s current culture and consider its aspirations for the future.

5. Recognise that hiring managers can be biased
Good HR professionals hire fairly – regardless of age, gender and race – but they are only human and subtle biases can easily creep into the decision-making process.

Hiring managers may prefer candidates who are similar to them or someone they know (affinity bias), or feel more comfortable hiring candidates who are similar to people they’ve employed before (status-quo bias). An interviewer may even disregard someone because they remind them of a previous bad hire!

Interviewers make assumptions about who will fit the organisation – sometimes wrongly. Train your HR staff to recognise their own unconscious biases and they will be better able to identify candidates with the right values, even if they don’t meet the ‘standard’ profile.

Challenging hiring bias will also help to widen your talent pool and ensure a more diverse workforce – which can only be a good thing!

For more insights into the behavioural science of recruitment and selection, read the CIPD report: A head for hiring.

Does your company struggle with attracting the right candidate? That’s where we come in! We source the right candidates, designing and overseeing the entire interview process. Email us today to find out more.