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5 Traits to Look For When Hiring Employees Who Fit Your Company Culture

I’m curious. What do you think company culture is?

I’ve read many articles on company culture and have seen many different awards and recognition for “best places to work” tied to culture. However, I feel there is a misperception on what company culture is. For me, culture starts with your company vision.

If your team doesn’t understand and believe in your company vision- you’ve killed your company culture opportunity.

It’s not about free snacks, a ping pong table, happy hours or how many free days you get. Those are just great perks. Culture comes from a human-centric approach, a passion that leadership and the team must have to move the vision forward. It is in the behavior, dedication, and work within everyone that helps achieve the vision.

For example, CENTRIC’s vision is to inspire individuals and enrich communities. Team members that don’t instill this at their core won’t and haven’t survived long at our agency. And that’s okay. The vision wasn’t for them, and they need to move on to find what resonates more deeply with them. For those that do embody this – it’s what drives their desire to provide great work for our clients. It is what motivates them to stop at no end to connect our clients’ resources, products, and services to those that can benefit. Ultimately, this vision helps our agency design work the team loves and is passionate about. It drives excitement, comradery, and accomplishment among each other. But most importantly: it inspires individuals and enriches communities.

Now, that is a great culture for our vision-driven agency if you ask me.

When going through the interview process with potential employees, it can be difficult to determine if they truly align with the company culture. This difficulty is amplified when you take in the presence of virtual interviews. What makes this process easier for our agency is to ask questions that help us identify 5 key traits our ideal employees will possess: go-getter, go-giver, attitude, ethics, and skillset. I’ve broken down what these 5 traits look like below.

Go-getter: This trait is apparent before the interview has even happened. The candidate has persistence in their follow up, they interact with us on LinkedIn and they have done their homework on our agency. While in the interview, the energy they bring is infectious.

Go-giver: This trait speaks to our vision. We want to know if they have a strong network. Do they give back in their community? It also helps to know what charitable causes they are passionate about and how often they volunteer.

Attitude: This trait isn’t about a bubbly personality. Rather, it is about their demeanor and the story they share when we ask questions about their weak points. We like to see how they respond when we ask how they handled their greatest failure, one thing their friends and family would say is annoying about them, or how they handled a difficult situation with a co-worker or client.
Ethics: This is the toughest trait to crack in the interview process. Asking someone if they are ethical doesn’t work because they will always say yes. We need to come up with scenarios that speak to how they have acted in the past. A few questions we ask are based on previous work challenges. What do they respond when asked how it makes them feel when a peer or supervisor asks them to report out misinformation? Can they share a time when they were asked to cover up for another team member and how they handled it?

Skillset: Obviously, it is ideal when a potential candidate is proficient in the skills we need. However, if we are wavering on a candidate based on the level of their skillset, we regroup and revisit how well they did on their attitude and ethics answers. It is so important to remember that skills can be taught, attitude and ethics can’t.

By asking thoughtful questions that aim to discover a potential employee’s values and traits, you will be able to more easily connect with those who believe in your company culture. A company’s culture can only thrive when everyone has a shared passion, drive, and desire to do good.