Hiring for culture “fit” has, in the last several years, gotten a bad rap.
I Think It’s Love: Planning for More Than an Emotional Organizational Connection During Hiring
I had the chance to watch a rerun of The Love Boat recently. Yes, Pluto TV and I are good friends. I get to watch lots of old programming (The Price is Right – The Barker Years is a particular treat), and I often have an episode with the Pacific Princess playing on a Sunday afternoon while I prep for the week ahead. The guest stars are absolutely amazing. Don’t scoff. Take a peek at the long list of A-listers that rubbed elbows with the D-Listers. On this particular episode, Eddie Mekka played a high school friend of “Julie, Your Cruise Director” (it’s a requirement to say it together) who, within 30 seconds of being on the ship, sees the love of his life. He didn’t speak to her. He hadn’t heard her voice. He just saw her from afar and decided that she was “the one.” And, of course, in true Love Boat fashion, that three-day cruise, after some fumbling and lying, proved his wish to be granted. He and Audrey Landers left the boat with plans to marry. See? Easy.
It got me thinking about how we approach career opportunities in a similar fashion. We look to fall in love and to do so quickly.
Be honest. Haven’t you walked into an interview or logged onto your video appointment hoping to get “that feeling?” It’s not to say that you don’t care about the work, the community or the structure of the organization. It’s just that you might want to get the butterflies in your belly first.
Walking in holistically prepared for that interview (throughout the whole process, actually) is likely the best way to avoid a sensory-biased decision-making process. Have a plan of engagement which includes your perspectives and questions based upon some legwork you’ve done regarding the company’s work, history, reviews, cultural insights, etc. Remember, this is an interview for the organization as much as it is for you.
I am in the throws of some hiring now. Truthfully, I am keeping track of the approach. Less than 8% of those I am interviewing ask any questions…at all. I specifically leave time towards the end of the interview to invite the asking of anything about the organization. More than 90% of the time, the interviewee says something like, “Thank you, but I don’t have any questions. I just want to say how excited I am about this opportunity.”
Look, I love that people want to work with the awesome team that’s been assembled (Avengers!), but there should be things about the company that you would want to know. Ask about the organization’s commitment to excellence in its work. Ask about how an equitable environment has been created and fostered (and if it’s not yet there, ask about what the hold up is). Ask about why this role is open. If it’s an additional role, ask how it was determined that this was the right time to add. If it’s a replacement role, ask why the previous employee moved out of the job. Ask about the manner with which investment in the persons of the company are made, not just in benefits (certainly including this, though), but also in areas of competency development, work-life integration, community involvement and the like.
This prep work will balance out the emotional desire to “just know” that this is the right place for your next role. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a stroll around the deck in the moonlight while wearing a chiffon gown. However, the engine room, the laundry room and the staff quarters are just as important to get a true view if you’re planning on investing yourself on that ship.