6 Ways to Show off Your Company Culture to Applicants

September 21, 2015

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Gone are the days when companies looking to hire held all the cards. In today’s hiring market, great talent is in more demand than ever before, and companies need to do all they can to attract the top individuals. This is true even more-so in Argentus’ specialty of Supply Chain and its related disciplines, where a combination of rapidly changing market forces and business requirements, as well as a looming shortage of talent, means that Supply Chain professionals are becoming both scarcer and more valued.

Everyone knows that Company culture is taking more prominence in the modern workplace. In the 21st century, companies need to offer more than compensation and career growth to attract the most strategic, skilled and high-potential workers. And this is only becoming more important, with surveys coming out all the time about how the ascendant millennial workforce values culture, flexibility, and a shared sense of mission in the workplace more than previous generations.

Make no mistake: workplace culture is a hot topic. And every job description these days seems to describe an organization’s culture (with a healthy smattering of buzzwords) to try and sell the job alongside responsibilities and growth potential. We all know that culture is about more than foosball tables or casual Fridays. Flexibility, work-life balance, and neat perks are all great – but candidates are more than ever taking those aspects as a given. They’re no longer the same differentiators that they used to be. So how do you convey your company’s actual culture, at every step of the hiring process? How do you excite star performers and make them actually want to work for you?

“Show” rather than “Tell.”             

This old writer’s adage is also a good rule of thumb for hiring. It’s one thing to state your core values in a job description or up front in an interview, but it’s altogether more effective to demonstrate those values throughout the hiring process, from interview to feedback to onboarding. Are you a fast-paced, highly entrepreneurial working culture? Or are you a highly collaborative, team-oriented organization? Do you have a social mission underlying your product? You should work to show these aspects of your culture, rather than just discussing them. But how do you do this to attract star performers? Here are a few tips:

In an Interview, show candidates how your organization engages with a role. 

The first interview of a new hire is typically with Human Resources. During this interview, the Human Resources manager needs to establish their bona fides with the role, demonstrating an understanding of its scope and potential, more than simply discussing generalities. This shows collaboration and an integrated approach. Individuals in Supply Chain (as well as Procurement, Strategic Sourcing, and much of strategic business) work cross-functionally. An initial interview that gets into the meat of the role helps establish that the company takes the function seriously, and that the company is agile without being siloed off.

Show off the company’s recent accomplishments:

At Argentus, we always council candidates to prepare accomplishment-based resumes that show not just what they’re tasks are, but what they’ve accomplished in their positions. Companies should do the same thing to get candidates excited for a role, and to get them to be willing to put other offers or interviews on hold for a truly compelling opportunity. A company that is able to prepare a compelling picture of where the organization is going, and what its biggest accomplishments are (with quantitative data and specifics), is showing their culture in action, instead of just describing it.

Remember: top candidates are evaluating a role just as much as the organization is evaluating them. And it takes a lot to get star performers (especially in Supply Chain) away from their desks and to the hiring table. They have to see how an organization is growing and maturing, and that they’ll have the opportunity to be truly strategic, not just filling a seat.

Show them how they can make an impact:

This one rolls from the previous one. What will the candidate’s career trajectory look like? Demonstrate what their initiatives will look like and how they’ll have room to grow. Ask them for their opinions about recent initiatives. Ask them how they’d contribute, and provide a road map for what their deliverables will be in the first few months of the role. Think about what your approach to these questions implies about your company culture. Whatever tack your organization takes in the interview, it’s worth it to pay attention to what message the interview sends. Is the culture fast-paced? Is it informal? Is it full of passionate individuals? Is it the type of company where you’re not afraid of having fun once in a while?  Your interview style should be as close to your working style as possible.

Show them around. Get them involved.

After or during an interview, be sure to show the candidate your office and facility. Introduce them to the team they’ll be working with, and let the team participate in the interview process. This is the biggest chance you have to show off your organization’s culture, by demonstrating your stated values in action. It’s the moment when an exceptional candidate truly decides that this is a place they’d like to work. It’s also the opportunity to show openness and inclusiveness, if those are part of your company’s core values. What’s more, it’s a further opportunity for a candidate to demonstrate their own ideas. (For example, if you’re hiring for a Supply Chain or Logistics role, show them the warehouse and recent initiatives to get their feedback).

Show your commitment to the hire:

After the interview is another opportunity to show off your culture. How many candidates have applied at companies touting a “fast-paced” working culture only to have to wait weeks for feedback? Companies should aim to respond to candidates as soon as possible. This applies if you’re looking to schedule another interview, if you’re looking to make an offer, and even if the candidate is unsuccessful for the role. Because after all, if a candidate isn’t successful for this job, it doesn’t mean they won’t be the perfect fit down the line for a different role, or when their skills have developed. Building an employer brand is about maintaining candidates’ interest over the course of their careers, not just at a specific moment. So the manner and speed with which you provide feedback after an interview speaks volumes about your company’s culture.

Many companies we work with at Argentus are attracting top performing, ambitious individuals with great people skills because they’re able to nail all these aspects of the hiring process. These are just a few tips, but hopefully enough to get companies thinking about how every moment in the hiring process is an opportunity to show off culture, not just the moment when they write the job description. favicon

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