As a thought leader, author, educator, and consultant on humanist manufacturing, I write a weekly article that benefits leaders who want to improve their organizations using elements of my Humanist Manufacturing framework.
Our focus last week was the role the job posting plays in enticing high-caliber employment candidates to explore joining our companies. We will now transition to elements to consider adopting in the interview phase of the recruitment process. Additional steps are integral to conducting legal and ethical hiring of the best candidates. However, our focus is on how the interview continues our work to build excitement in potential new employees that will enhance our objectives of employee engagement and retention.
“I believed, and still believe, that you can build your dreams brick by brick. That you can accomplish anything with persistence.” — Maurene Goo
In my work as a thought leader, author, educator, and consultant on humanist manufacturing, a key element of success is to focus on the company’s “Why.” Whether a new startup, a long-running firm, or somewhere in between, the leader must define the “Why” for being in business. Simon Sinek’s focus in his TEDxPuget Sound presentation on “Why” companies exist has been viewed more than 61 million times. He found that most influential leaders inspired people by effectively communicating “Why” they did the work they had chosen to accomplish. It is essential to share the company’s “Why” to attract high-caliber employees. A key aspect of humanist manufacturing is to be an employee-centric organization. Every employee we employ and retain is another brick in building the organization’s foundation, essential to achieving its “Why.”
The “Why” for Simon Sinek’s company is, “We are here to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that each of us can change our world for the better.” But, of course, if you reshared a similar company “Why” and asked employment candidates if it resonates with them, they would likely answer yes. An answer they hope would land them the position if they are desperate to land a job. So instead, an article recommends asking open-ended questions to get a better sense of cultural fit. It offers a list of 50 questions, of which a few of my favorites include:
• What gets you excited about coming to work?
• What three things do you need to succeed in this position?
• How have you changed over the last five years?
• What motivates you to do your best work?
• Who inspires you and why?
• What role does kindness/empathy/humor play at work?
Intelligent applicants may have done their homework and be able to answer the questions in a manner that aligns with your culture. However, my experience has been that their true self will emerge if you get them comfortable and ask enough open-ended questions.
If prospective employees show promise of a cultural fit, it is essential to share an overview of what it means to be a member of the organization. There are several vital elements of sharing the company culture with applicants, including:
• Mission – Or, for our purposes, the “Why” that guides the organization as they work to accomplish its primary objective.
• Values and ethics – An accurate representation of employee expectations as they carry out their job duties and interact with organizational stakeholders.
• Work environment – Providing an overview of the physical space, company culture, working conditions, and whether it is a realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, or conventional workplace.
I recently read about companies requiring or allowing employment candidates to spend time with the organization before making an offer or the applicant accepting the invitation to join them. For example, candidates spend a week observing and immersing themselves in the various elements of the environment in which they would work. The experience will give them and the company a clearer understanding of potential cultural fit.
Transparency and truthfulness are vital in further educating applicants about what it means to work at the company. Information that will be helpful in their decision-making includes:
• Job responsibilities – We all can see the job description that shares the position’s duties or written expectations. However, giving a clear perspective of the unwritten requirements of day-to-day work is also vital—for example, the expectations of honesty in interactions with organizational stakeholders.
• Pay – Providing an overview of the current salary and benefits is essential. Additionally, the candidate should receive an honest perspective on annual pay increases and future opportunities to increase pay through promotions, the employee contribution for insurance co-pays, and historical employer contributions to a 401k.
• Hardships and challenges at the company – An accurate sharing of the organization’s current state allows future employees to understand what to expect if an offer is extended. Furthermore, the company must let them know what to expect in the coming months and years, both positive and negative projections.
• Workplace interaction – To ensure the best fit, the interviewer should share if the role requires high collaboration, the expectation to work independently, or something in-between.
The more honest and factual the communication is, the better opportunity candidates will have to understand if the job opportunity can work well with their makeup and their other life responsibilities.
The job interview is an integral aspect of increasing the potential to hire those that will be a solid cultural fit. An opportunity to determine if they are another brick in the foundation of an employee-centric organization to carry out the company’s “Why.” Furthermore, transparency and truthfulness will allow candidates to understand what to expect if they join the organization, increasing the potential for high employee engagement and retention levels.
Individuals interested in further exploring the topic of interviewing for cultural fit can read, How to Conduct an Effective Cultural Fit Assessment. The article shares elements of a cultural fit assessment, why using one is beneficial, difficulties in accomplishing this objective, seven tips for effective assessment, and the importance of measuring the effectiveness of the process.
I sincerely thank those employees at companies where I have interviewed that gave me a transparent and truthful understanding of their organization. But unfortunately, we often later learned that the HR person and others we interacted with in the hiring process failed to provide a complete picture of the opportunity. So I continue to be grateful for those that had been willing to let me know what to expect if I became a coworker.
Next week’s blog will continue to deepen organizational employee engagement essential to humanist manufacturing.
To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit emmanuelstratgicsustainability.com.
I encourage you to read my book “Humanist Manufacturing: A Humanitarian Approach to Excellence in High-Impact Plant Operations.” The paperback and eBook versions are now available at Amazon and many other booksellers. You can also view the Humanist Manufacturing Book Launch to gain additional insight into the Humanist Manufacturing framework.
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Cover Image Credit: Oladipo Adejumo on Unsplash