Is Values-Based Hiring Right for Your Business?

By Amy Gulati May 13, 2016
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Values-based hiring is not a new concept in the world of talent acquisition, but the recent focus on strategic hiring and the importance of cultural fit brings the benefits of values-based hiring into high relief. Why do values matter in hiring?

“We are driven by thoughts and beliefs, and this is the greatest predictor of how someone will move in his or her career path,” said David Naylor, executive vice president for global learning and development with the training and development consultancy 2logical, based in Rochester, N.Y.

And, Naylor said, a candidate’s beliefs and values will drive his behavior. In this sense, values-based interviewing differs from the popular technique of behavioral interviewing in which hiring managers ask candidates to describe how they responded in past scenarios.

The Benefits of Values-Based Hiring

To identify values that are positively correlated with workplace success, Naylor recommended focusing on five key areas:

  • Has the candidate shown a propensity to take ownership?
  • Does the candidate believe in his or her own adaptability?
  • Can the candidate navigate adversity?
  • Does the candidate believe that he or she can set and achieve goals?
  • Does the candidate believe that he or she can overcome fears?

Identifying traits in candidates that are tied to long-term organizational success gets to the very root of strategic hiring, according to Ryan Naylor (no relation to David), CEO of culture recruiting platform, based in Phoenix.

“Employers who incorporate culture into the hiring process can expect more responses and better retention up to a year after the date of hire,” he said. “Clearly, values and cultural fit have an impact on talent acquisition and talent management that lasts far beyond the hiring process.”

David Naylor added that turnover due to poor alignment of culture or values “is very costly and has lots of downstream effects; the [hiring managers] themselves become burned out.”

Words of Caution

Both men were in agreement that the biggest risk to effective values-based hiring is when recruiters and hiring managers make assumptions. “You may assume that a candidate who has jumped around doesn’t value loyalty, but unless you talk to them, you may miss out on important circumstantial information,” said Ryan Naylor.

David Naylor added, “The biggest thing that short-circuits a hire is a confirmation bias. You look at a resume and determine whether someone is a good candidate or bad candidate, and the rest of the interview is about confirming the initial judgment.”

This means that in the age of HR technology, applicant tracking systems and hiring assessments, there’s no substitute for in-depth interviews with candidates if your true goal is to evaluate their values and beliefs.

Implementing Values-Based Hiring

The first step to using values-based hiring should always be to determine and clearly define the values of the organization. Beyond universally positive traits, these values then become the standards against which candidates are compared. Once the organization’s values and culture are clarified internally, they should be promoted during the hiring process.

“Most companies simply post a job description listing duties and responsibilities,” said Ryan Naylor. “When they include information about organizational culture, mission and values, the number of applicants dramatically increases.”

He added that the quality of candidates will be better since they should be able to determine whether they share your organizational values or not. In short, incorporating values into your hiring process can help improve many different aspects of talent acquisition—branding, sourcing, screening, onboarding and beyond.

Amy Gulati, SHRM-SCP, is a freelance writer based in the Washington, D.C., area.

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