Guest Blog: Find your culture to find your candidates

By Adam Robinson,
February 26, 2013

The following is a guest blog from Keri Higgins-Bigelow the President of livingHR.

HR traditionalists have spent a great deal of time talking about hiring, which makes a whole lot of sense, given that the cost of employee turnover is estimated to be 50-150% of an employee’s annual salary.  If you hire a dud the effect can be game changing to an organization (just ask Enron). No doubt, skills and experience weigh heavily in the process of sorting applications.  Yet, the real key to finding the right fit for most positions has much more to do with understanding a company’s culture.

As my consultants and I go into each of our clients’ businesses, the uniqueness of each culture is remarkably evident.  This is precisely why it doesn’t make sense for all companies to engage similar hiring practices, interview questions, and sourcing techniques.  What we’ve found to really bear fruit in the hiring process is to screen candidates for a cultural fit as well as for a demonstrated ability to perform.

Unemployment rates would have us all believing that candidates for all positions should be knocking on our doors.  In reality, common happy hour banter among recruiting and hiring professionals revolves around the humongous talent gaps that exist in technology, healthcare, and many other industries.  

The moral of this story? – You can no longer wait for candidates to come banging down your door because the opportunity is knocking but candidates are not. 

So, what’s a discouraged HR team member (recruiter, hiring manager, etc) to do?

  1. Leverage technology, and not just to track applications and resumes, but rather to screen candidates into virtual yes and no piles based on experience.  Then screen for culture.

  2. Do not wait for candidates to come to you.  Go forth and find them. 
  3. Train hiring managers to hire for culture and performance, not just experience.
  4. Be open-minded.  Listen to your gut but don’t trust it completely.
  5. Develop a meaningful employee referral program.
  6. Get creative – Arm everyone you know with a virtual card or fun promo item to hand out at a conference or workshop when they meet someone whom they would like to work with.
  7. Tweet it, Like it, and LinkedIn with it.  In other words, use social media.

Keri Higgins-Bigelow is the President of livingHR ( a pioneer in Talent Management Outsourcing Solutions. They have a national presence in their East Coast office and headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as well as their Mid-West Division in La Crosse, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota. They create happy places to work, because happy people are productive people.

To read more about Hireology and livingHR’s collaboration, view our press release about our partnership.

Company Culture, How to Hire

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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