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ASPR Journal - Summer 2011 - Three Ways to Assess a Candidate’s Cultural Fit
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Three Ways to Assess a Candidate’s Cultural Fit

By Alan Lewis, for the Harvard Business Review, March 31, 2011, copyright Harvard Business Publishing.
Reprinted by permission.

Many hiring experts recommend hiring for fit first and skills second. The theory is that you can teach capabilities, but not values. And, organizations need employees who mesh with their core values. Here are three ways to assess whether an applicant will mesh well with yours:

Observe interactions

Candidates can tell you they hold the firm’s values, but it’s far better if they can show you. Ask interviewees to participate in group exercises or interact with employees to test whether they demonstrate those values in an almost-real-life situation.

Be clear about your culture

Be open and honest about what it's really like inside your organization. Some candidates will self-select out if they feel they can't fit in.

Interview for values separately

When possible, assess for values with a distinct process. You will likely learn something you would've missed if you were trying to screen for values and skills simultaneously.

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