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Per Sé Group Insights

Hiring for Culture Fit in a Remote Working World

Prior to the global COVID-19 health crisis, “Culture Fit” was one of the most important pieces many companies weighed as part of their hiring process. In fact, according the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the result of poor culture fit would cost an organization between 50-60% of that person’s annual salary. The COVID-19 pandemic sent 100% of America’s non-essential workforce out of the office and thrown into remote working. As we are still in the thick of navigating COVID-19, most companies agree that remote working has made its mark on the workforce and, even when we eventually can return to the office, it will remain a part of how we work in some capacity. Without an office, is does office culture still matter? 

What is Company Culture? 

When you think of “company culture”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? You might think of social activities, such as picking up a game ping pong in between meetings, or an after-hours employee happy hour. Yes, these social activities do make up a part of a company’s culture, but not all of it. Company culture has to do with deeper values and meaning behind the work that you’re producing. It has to do with personal preferences, such as working style and communication. When an applicant is evaluating your company for employment, they are asking themselves, “Do their values align with my own?” and “Will this style of working suit me?” 

The physical aspect of company culture may be evolving, but the fundamentals behind it remain the same. Regardless if your employees are working in an office, at their house, or on a beach – you should all be working towards the same goals and be putting importance on the same values.  

Is hiring for company culture still important? More than ever. 

Incorporating Culture Fit into your Remote Interview 

So, how can you continue to incorporate hiring for culture fit while working and interviewing remote? The same way you incorporate it in person. Below are a few tips as you are transitioning to remote interviews and hiring: 

1. Start with the job description. This should go without saying, but leave a space in your job description that specifically talks about your company’s values and culture. 

2. Use behavioral interviewing. Like an in-person interview, continuing to ask behavioral questions will get a candidate to respond to questions past the surface level.  

3. Ask about remote work experience. At this point, most people will have some experience working remotely. Asking this question can be a good indicator of how they will fit with your remote work operations. 

4. Include remote working as part of your motivation evaluation. If someone mentions remote working is a reason why they want to take a job, it’s not necessarily a negative thing, but you do want to get to the bottom of their real motivation. 

5. Avoid one-and-done interviews. If you’re committed to culture fit, your candidate should meet with multiple people from the team and on different days. This will allow for multiple perspectives and get a better feel for their true personality. 

6. Be explicit. When most hiring was taking place on-site, it was easy for employees to automatically get a sense of the company culture. Without that interaction it’s important to be very intentional about communicating culture and expectations. 

Remote working is not simply a trend. What started as baby steps to allowing employees to have more autonomy has evolved into a global best practice. Your remote workforce is likely going to grow, and finding candidates with the right culture fit is vital for those working away from an office.