Why Recruiters Need to Know Your Culture

The cost of every failed hire averages around £17,000 according to research from AXELOS – time spent reviewing CVs and interviewing, lost salary and productivity, the cost of time spent onboarding etc. It all adds up. More worryingly, many research studies point to between 40% and 50% of new hires failing within 18 months…

I’m happy to say that at Clarity our success rate is in a different league to that average. Why? Because of the importance both we and our clients attribute to cultural fit. According to one study that places the average failure rate at 46%, only 11% of those failures were the result of a lack of technical skills yet many recruiters limit their efforts to matching candidate skills and experience with the job description.

The importance of culture and values

Compared with cultural fit, technical skills are relatively easily learned. Every organisation has its own culture - a set of shared behaviours based on the values of the organisation. As individuals we have our own values and changing these or flexing them to fit values we are not comfortable with is far from easy. If the organisation’s and individual’s values are not aligned then there is inevitably friction.

To make matters more complex organisations may have two cultures. The official culture articulated, or at least aspired to, by the leadership and an actual culture that drives different behaviours.

Your recruitment consultant needs to understand both cultures.

Let us under your skin

As local, niche recruiters (we specialise in accountancy and office support functions for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire) we already have a perception about many local businesses. And when we take on a new client we will take a look at their online presence and any marketing materials but this simply scratches the surface.

However, it is only when get in front of a client that we can really get under their skin. As recruiters we need to understand both the existing culture and how the organisation is trying to evolve the culture given both will affect the likely suitability of candidates.

Meeting the individuals involved in setting the organisational culture as well as hiring managers is fundamental to developing a robust perception of what will constitute a cultural fit.

Did you know: As social creatures our instincts about our environments are nuanced and sophisticated. Author of Silent Messages, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, highlights that during face to face meetings our words communicate only 7% of our total message with 38% communicated through vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc).

Visiting your offices or premises further refines our ability to find good matches. Simply walking through the space will give a depth of understanding that cannot be explained as we take in the environment, the atmosphere, the demeanors of individuals.

It may sound like a time-consuming process but in the long run the impact on our success rate and your productivity will be significant.

Our investment in you reflects our investment in the general recruitment process

There is little point in our investing this much effort in getting to know you if we don’t get to know our candidates with the same thoroughness. Screening CVs for a skills match is simply the first step we go through when considering candidates for each role.

The result of our approach is that you spend less time reviewing potential candidates, fewer of the interviews you schedule will be obviously futile within minutes of them starting, and more of the candidates you hire will prove a good investment.

Clare Wight is managing director of Clarity Appointments, a fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals a regional director for The Employment Agents Movement (TEAM). Her email is: clare.wight@clarityteam.co.uk