Interview for Fit

By Martin O'Neill Oct 3, 2011

Your hiring process should accomplish three goals: to qualify the candidate, to educate the candidate, and to assess his or her cultural fit. Here’s how.

Interview one. The interview you plan is conducted with the help of an HR recruiter. While not a traditional interview, it is a way of getting to know candidates.

Identify candidates who possess the skills you need and who have an aptitude for the job. Check references to determine whether the information on their resumes is accurate. Request transcripts and other documentation to validate credentials. Ask yourself whether the candidates have an inherent understanding of the job.

Interview two. With the background work completed, you won’t need to waste precious one-on-one time rehashing resumes. Use this time to assess aptitude and cultural fit. Top leaders realize that cultural fit is as important as technical or professional skills. They take extraordinary measures to attract and identify individuals who will strengthen their teams.

You’re not just hiring an employee; you’re hiring a businessperson—someone who can understand the company’s operating model, how the company makes money and how the success of the company is tied to his or her personal success. You’re hiring someone who can embrace your organization’s principles and values.

Ask yourself if the candidate has the ability and desire to learn, execute and teach your operating model. A candidate’s willingness to learn your operating model sets the stage for his ability to make sound business decisions once hired. If each employee understands what the company does and how the company does it, everyday actions are translated directly into top-line revenue gains. Your employees will understand that the decisions they make every day can affect profitability.

Finally, when employees develop the ability to teach the operating model to new employees, your way of doing business is reinforced.

Interview three. Imagine the interview you wish you had conducted. Most leaders have opportunities to move people to action. You have an opportunity to bring to the organization people who understand and will commit to its operating model. When leaders speak to external customers and candidates, they should inform and educate as well as create a desire to join the company.

Such conversations lead to good hiring decisions now and in the future. They articulate your company’s direction, and motivate and inspire incoming and existing staff. And, such interviews will lead to a successful new hire.

The author is a consultant and author of The Power of an Internal Franchise (Third Bridge Press, 2011),


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