Culture Fit Part 2: How to Determine if “You and They” Match 

b loehr - cultural fitIf you’ve ever found yourself in a working environment that you loathe, you know the importance of feeling like you belong, like you mesh well with the company mindset. This mindset— the business’s personality—is the “company culture”. And as its importance becomes more clearly understood, employees and employers alike are focusing more attention on this area. So much so that desiring a good “cultural fit” ranks high as a reason for deciding to switch careers or embark on a “new job” search.

First, go into any job-search scenario with a clear picture of what inspires and motivates you to be the best employee. It may be easier to work this equation initially in reverse.

  • What makes it difficult for you to perform?
  • What deflates your enthusiasm?
  • What is so irritating or distracting that your productivity suffers greatly?
  • What core values are most important to you?
  • What leadership style brings out the best in you?

Answers to these and other work habits/preferences/pet peeves questions will paint a picture of your ideal workplace culture.

While it’s difficult to nail down all the nitty-gritty specifics of a company’s culture without actually being on the payroll, a little detective work can help you decide whether a position at ABC Inc. is worth pursuing.

But assessing corporate culture is a task not to be taken lightly. Everything from office décor and dress code to history and tradition to a plethora of unwritten—often even unspoken—rules get mish-mashed together to form the way the company accomplishes work on a day to day basis.

Google any potential employer, checking out their website, social media interactions, charitable work and community involvement as well as press releases and articles associated with the business. Look for the level of professionalism and branding their online presence exudes. Anything that allows a peek into the world of ABC Inc. will be a piece in the puzzle of their culture.

Then add to the culture picture from info gleaned during the interview. Questions that will explore the components of the company’s culture include—

  • How would you measure performance for this position?
  • Can you share an example of your leadership style? Two examples?
  • How is the company handling this year’s greatest challenge?
  • What three or four traits do your most talented employees possess?
  • What is one thing about the culture you would change if possible?

Even a terrific compensation package cannot remedy a dreaded workplace environment. So take the time to piece together the “cultural fit” puzzle for the best chance of realizing a great match.

B. Loehr Staffing can direct you to a job that fits your company culture preferences. Whether you are looking for short term, long term, part-time or a full-time position, we can offer you the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact us today to become a part of our winning team.

Culture Fit Part 1 – Why Candidates Need to Zero in on Culture Fit

b loehr - culture fitThe compensation package is quite competitive. The job responsibilities well within your skill set. The commute will be a cinch. And they seem eager to have you on their team. Awesome, right?

Yeah, sure. Anyway, you’re really not that concerned that the company’s structure and the general atmosphere seem … seem off somehow. It’s not that important. After all, you can put up with some minor issues if the money is good, the job easy and the drive short. It’s all good.

Actually, it’s probably not all good.

All the money in the world can’t compensate for a working environment where, day in and day out, you feel like a square peg being forced into a round hole. A reasonable alignment with the company’s culture is a must if you want to be both happy and successful at your job. And who doesn’t want that?

The values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors—shared by the group of individuals who make up the workforce—are the components that make up a company’s culture. It’s the set of shared expectations that create a productive work environment and enable an organization to be successful. Alignment with the company’s culture allows for success in individual roles and encourages a high level of job satisfaction.
It’s in everyone’s best interest when a candidate is a “fit” with the company’s culture.

So it is important if the atmosphere seems off. Remember, a job is more than simply a location where you perform a set of duties for 8+ hours a day, 40-50 hours a week. There’s a lot more to be considered than the tasks to be completed. Things like dealing with coworkers and bosses, not to mention the company politics that exist whether anyone will admit it, can be at the very least, draining. At the worst, it can result in an unhappy, unproductive, and ultimately unhealthy environment that reaches a toxic level.

It’s no surprise that success and happiness are close relatives in most job settings which means if you’re miserable, it’s likely your level of success and productivity will be dismal as well. And that’s not anyone’s goal—employer or employee.

While 100% alignment seldom happens, your goal should be to find organizations where the culture and your values can coexist. In Company Culture Part 2, we’ll examine the individual components that make up company culture and how to determine if your personality and environment preferences are a workable match with a prospective employer.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we value the importance of matching candidates with company cultures where the candidate can thrive. We strive to create winning partnerships between our client companies and the candidates we place. Let us assist you in meeting all of your career goals – we’ve been doing it for more than 100 years!

The WHY and HOW of Hiring for “Cultural Fit”

b loehr - 5-3Why pay attention to “cultural fit”? Does it matter? And anyway … what exactly is it?

It’s pretty simple. Corporate culture is the personality of a company. The values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors—shared by the group of individuals who make up the workforce—that define the organization’s brand. It’s a set of shared expectations that create a productive work environment and enable an organization to be successful. Alignment with the company’s culture allows for success in individual roles and encourages a high level of job satisfaction.

Today’s workforce, influenced by the mix of generations and the rapid evolution of technology, has created an environment where a vast range of business and individual work styles exist. This has led to an increasing interest in hiring for “culture fit”.

“There are many different kinds of cultures, and people fit better in some cultures than they do in others,” notes Robert Preziosi, a human resources and leadership expert and professor at Nova Southeastern University’s H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship. “It has become more popular to hire for cultural fit because of the wide range of behaviors that you can find in a multi-generation workforce driven by differing sets of values.”

Okay, so cultural fit does matter. But how much?

A lot, according to Dave Jensen, Managing Director for Kincannon & Reed, who thinks equal weight should be given to qualifications and cultural fit. “The first cut should be based on who can do the job best, but the second cut should be who fits the culture. When those two factors are equal, choose the person who fits the culture best.”

It has become crucial that you new hires mesh well with your culture:

Will make awesome company ambassadors

They’ll spread a positive word about their workplace, represent the company’s mission and goals to others and are likely to recruit talent who will also fit in with the culture of the company.

Will be more engaged

Everyone wants engaged employees because job engagement spurs creativity and productivity.  It’s also contagious – in a good way. Involved, connected workers nudge others to follow suit simply by their continual output of effort.

Are less likely to leave

An employee who fits well will strive to learn and grow because he/she wants to be there. They’ll be much more likely to seek advancement within the company than to seek employment elsewhere.

The perks to hiring “culturally fit” candidates are obvious. So, now it’s on to the “how.”

So, how do you evaluate a solid cultural fit? 

It’s wise to spend the first half of the interview delving into the job seeker’s skills and previous work experiences. Seek for a solid grasp of this, without revealing anything major about the company’s culture. You do not want to inadvertently “give” the “right” answers to the mega important questions coming next. If the qualifications check out, then ease into a Q and A to gauge cultural fit.

Some of these questions are classic interview inquiries—obvious and easy to answer. Such as …

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What would be your ideal workplace?
  • What do you enjoy most about your current position?
  • What do you like best about your current co-workers?

But other, less obvious questions will require more thought on the candidate’s part and, therefore, will reveal the nitty-gritty specifics. These details will allow you to see if the “cultural fit” puzzle is complete OR if the picture is full of holes. Dig deep with these head scratchers…

  • What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
  • What “best bets” would you bring with you? How would you go about implementing these ideas?
  • What moves a “good” work day into a “fantastic” work day?
  • If given the opportunity to change anything you wanted to at your current job, what would you most like to change?
  • From what you know about our company, describe the cultural fit as you perceive it. How well do you see yourself fitting into the culture you described?

If being mindful of both qualifications/skills and cultural fit seems like a tall order, well, good. Because that’s exactly what it is. But listen; evaluating and examining the total picture a candidate presents, from both skills and a cultural-fit perspective, will pay off in the long run. Engaged, happy employees are worth the time and effort to discover them and bring them onboard.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we understand that great teams don’t happen by accident or lip service. That’s why our Team-Based Client Support System builds around the special processes that respond to the key concerns clients have about temporary staffing companies. Our assurance to you is unmatched service and satisfaction – connecting you with best-matched employees based on skills, experience, and cultural fit. Contact us today for assistance with all your staffing needs.

 

5 Strategies for Standing-Out as a Job Seeker   

b loehr 5-1What makes hiring managers who spend hours reviewing resumes and conducting interviews sit up, take notice and proclaim, “Wow!”?

If you’re part of the large percentage of Americans in the market for a job in 2016, you’d better figure it out. Because unless you rise above the job-seeking crowd, your chances of landing a job—even securing an interview—will take a hit.

What will get you noticed? And we mean in a positive, memorable way, of course.

For starters, a lack of spelling and grammatical errors in all employment related documents is an absolute must. Seriously, applicants continue to produce and distribute error-filled resumes much to the chagrin of employers. It’s not that hard, folks. If written communication isn’t your strength, find someone whose skills outweigh yours to proofread, correct—even to coach you—so that the awesome first impression you’re striving for doesn’t get sabotaged at the gate.

Creating that “wow” moment will require effort that extends beyond a clean resume, though. Other applicants will have polished up a top-notch resume and lined up stellar references so your efforts to stand out will have to go further. A lot further.

Consider these outside-of-the-ordinary-candidate-efforts to get yourself noticed. b loehr 5-2

  • Connect with an insider

If you’re lucky, you know someone inside the organization—even an acquaintance, former classmate or the friend of a friend—with whom you can connect early in the process of applying for a job. The more influential the insider, the better, but don’t discount the benefit of any connection because a personal reference almost always has a positive impact.

If luck isn’t on your side, there are a variety of ways to establish a connection. Like the company’s Facebook page and join in the conversation there. Seek out employees and management on LinkedIn and in other professional organizations. Introduce yourself, via email or a LinkedIn message, and express interest in an article this person published or recommended.  Comment on the company’s recent expansion or customer acquisition. In other words, find common ground and begin to forge a connection.

  • Provide evidence of skill and qualifications

A great way to do this is with a portfolio that highlights your strengths and accomplishments. Bringing this collection to an interview is smart, but that’s assuming you land the interview. Better yet, build an online collection of evidence that can be accessed as your application is reviewed.

Rather than simply noting on a resume that you have strong writing skills, include samples of your writing. An online portfolio will allow for easy inclusion of other media types such as photos, time-lapse video, timelines, and proposals. Shuffle the contents to center the focus on areas that specifically pertain to this position.

  • Demonstrate your value

Don’t wait for the “How will hiring you benefit our company?” question. Be one step ahead by submitting something concrete—a proposal, a detailed product idea, a grant opportunity, a problem-solving strategy—with your initial documents.  The possibilities are quite literally endless. Simply use your knowledge of the company and your creativity to develop something relevant and realistic. That type of gutsy initiative is hard to ignore, especially when the ideas are right on the money.

Aaron White, CTO and co-founder of Boundless, suggests a unique way to get the time and attention of startup leaders.  “Coffee is cheap. Ask to meet with me over coffee, and then provide value to me by offering some valuable feedback on my product. I’ll gladly give you my time.”

  • Go the extra mile

What does that look like? In simple terms, it means putting in the effort to do what’s hard. For example, don’t take the easy route, pushing your resume to a hundred different places? (If you think that’s effective, think again.) Choose the positions for which you are best suited, and then spend time customizing your resume to each one before submitting them. Use keywords that support the job description and indicate that you have researched the company. Of course, that’s assuming you went the extra mile when researching and read the website rather than just glancing their home page. This extra mile stuff requires critical thinking, purposeful effort and gumption. It might be a lonely road as too few choose to traverse it, but you will soon discover it’s worth it.

  • Go for an over-the-top follow-up

Most candidates will follow-up with an email, but your goal is to stand out, remember? So take the road much less traveled these days and follow-up with a handwritten letter. Paper and pen required.  Should the interview process stretch over a period of months, follow-up at each level. Reference specific questions, discussions, scenarios—anything that will personalize the experience. You want to continue the “wow!” moments for as long possible.

The way to rise above the job-seeking crowd is to focus on two key principles:

  • The power of differentiation

and

  • Displaying above and beyond effort throughout the entire interview process

Make the effort to get yourself and your skills noticed with the assistance of B. Loehr Staffing’s reputation as a premier provider of quality staffing. Our employees enjoy one of the most competitive pay and benefits packages in the industry as well as excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth. Contact us today for assistance in finding a career that fits your lifestyle.

 

 

3 Steps to Nurturing a Long-Term Relationship with your Staffing Firm

b loehr - nurturingWith the ink drying on the contract you just signed with that terrific recruiting firm, you can relax, kick back and let them handle everything… right? Hmm… not so fast.

The right staffing firm will definitely make staffing your company with talented employees whose skills match your needs easier—more efficient and effective than if you tackled the task alone. But do nothing? That’s not a good idea.

The best staffing firm relationships come from a partnership, a commitment to work together toward meeting your company’s staffing needs—now and in the future. You see, the more effort you devote to developing a close working relationship, the more satisfied you’ll be with the end results.

Let me repeat myself, now is not the time to sit back and just let things happen. A decision to maintain and nurture this important relationship is a must. These steps will set you on a path to a successful, long-term partnership.

  1. Make communication a priority 

The first order of business should be focused on establishing a regular channel of communication. About everything. Seriously, the more the staffing specialist knows about your company, the better. The culture, the working conditions, the variety of products/services offered, the company’s goals and aspirations, what is causing the staffing need, the minute details about your staffing needs—like I said, everything.  The more information he/she is able to gather, the better equipped the staffing firm will be to deliver a qualified candidate to meet your staffing needs.

  1. Define your staffing needs

Before the firm can supply the best-suited candidates for your open positions, you must have a clear, detailed understanding of what your exact staffing needs are. A general “we need someone in the office” or “the warehouse is short-handed” or “the tech team could use more help” simply will not cut it. Before you approach the staffing firm, put time and thought into the specifics concerning the needs of each and every department. Involve the appropriate supervisors, managers and co-workers to assist in painting an accurate picture of the skills/experience as well as the intangibles, personality, and cultural needed. Even very short-term openings will be better filled if you can pass along a clear understanding of the type of candidate you need.

  1. Determine duties and skills 

Thorough job descriptions are of critical importance to successful candidate placement. Of course, the staffing specialist will need to know the duties to be accomplished by the candidate. But knowing the specific skills you want this candidate to possess will give added direction and insight, and up the chances of that “perfect fit,” which both sides are striving for. Take into account how heavily personality figures into some positions and relay this information as well. Again, tap the input of management and co-workers to form a complete assessment of each position.

At B. Loehr Staffing we are committed to supporting your growth plans and helping you maintain optimal staffing efficiency. As a St. Louis staffing source since 1898, “We’re not the best because we’re the oldest, we’re the oldest because we’re the best.”is more than just a slogan. Contact us today about establishing a partnership to meet all of your staffing needs.

3 Keys to Establishing a Winning Relationship with a Staffing Firm

b loehr - staffing 2

More and more companies across the country are turning to staffing firms for assistance with their recruiting and hiring needs. It simply makes good business sense. The more consistent and sizable the need for staffing, the greater the benefit to the company. But even businesses who would require fewer workers or less frequent assistance can benefit from establishing a relationship with a staffing firm

Choosing a firm whose services will be a good fit for your needs is the first crucial step. To consolidate all your staffing needs with the services of one firm, look beyond the immediate openings to the months ahead, the upcoming busy season, the expansions on the horizons. Many companies find they have multiple staffing needs including seasonal, short- and long-term assignments, temp to hire, full and part-time positions or some quirky combination.

With your needs in mind, now you’re ready to compare firms.

  1. The “staffing-needs eggs” belong in one “staffing firm” basket

For a plethora of reasons, including cost savings and the ease of having one point of contact, you’ll want to partner with a firm who can handle all of your staffing needs as determined above.

  1. Uncover their specialties  

You’ll also need to consider what areas the firm specializes in, such as manufacturing, information technology, finance, medical, or administrative, etc. Dig a little deeper to determine how well they know your particular industry. Do they understand the specific challenges you face? Check out their resources and inquire as to how much time they spend expanding and updating their industry knowledge.

  1. If the above all checks out, it’s time to meet in person   

Because your goal is to establish a strong relationship built on mutual respect and trust, it’s not a good idea to limit communication to email or even telephone conversations. Invite the prospective recruiter to visit your company. Show them around. Give him/her a glimpse at your company culture. Get a feel for rapport and a sense of connection, or lack thereof, on your home turf. Following the meeting, review all the information you’ve collected and mull over the impression from the face-to-face to determine if this firm offers a good fit for your needs.

When you establish a relationship with B. Loehr Staffing, you are partnering with a staffing firm who will prioritize your individual needs. You can rely on us to provide tested and qualified candidates and be responsive, flexible problem-solvers who communicate clearly, frequently and honestly. Contact us today.