5 ways to think differently about hiring

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Ryan Bonnici.

Hiring is one of the most important aspects of running a business.

Excellent employees can make a huge difference, impacting output and results.

But more often than not, companies end up trawling through countless resumes and resorting to a generic rubric of skills and experience to determine which candidates are the best fit.

Business Insider recently reached out to a number of Australian executives to see how they approached the hiring process differently.

It all came down to hiring for cultural fit and employing those that either aligned or would improve the company culture in the long run.

Here are five alternative ways to think about hiring for culture.

Don’t just listen to the resume

As easy as it is to stock up on Seek resumes and source candidates based on their objectives and skills, it’s important to ditch the conventional rubric and instead, single out the personality of the candidate you’re interested in.

“Works well independently and with others, punctual, enthusiastic… We can all recite the lyrics to the resume rhyme, but isn’t it more important to identify the personality of the person? Workplace culture has gained serious momentum over recent years and is an important pillar of any hiring decisions. As such, it sits as a cornerstone to HubSpot’s entire ethos,” says Ryan Bonnici, marketing director Asia Pacific and Japan at HubSpot.

In some cases, candidates will not fit perfectly, but if you believe they are someone who can bring a unique perspective to the company, they could end up being a valuable asset.

“We feel it’s vital to recruit based on our ever-expanding Cultural Code. We want to discover brave candidates who would rather fail than never try. We’d rather uncover diamonds with flaws, rather than a pebble without, and leaders (or employees at any level for that matter) who are brave enough to speak out –- regardless of their role. You get the picture” says Bonnici.

“Ultimately, all candidates are individuals with their own unique insights, experiences and personalities a culture –- why not work for a company that aligns with theirs? Work has transformed dramatically over the last decade -– evolving from a place you go to an activity you do -– and we think it’s time hiring policies reprioritised the role of people and culture too.”

Set goals for inclusion in your hiring policy

John Ruthven.

“There’s a major difference between companies who talk about inclusion and those bringing real-changes to their hiring policies. Diversity is a hot-topic across Australia and New Zealand, and while workforce leaders recognise the benefits of different social or generational groups working collaboratively, not enough is being done to shake-up traditional recruitment strategies,” says John Ruthven, president and managing director of SAP Australia and New Zealand.

SAP has made diversity and inclusion one of their primary focuses in hiring, so that people feel comfortable expressing themselves at work but also because it can lead to greater engagement and creativity.

“SAP’s Autism at Work is one initiative that introduces people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to the workforce, harnessing unique skills and abilities to benefit the ICT industry. By 2020, it’s SAP’s goal in Australia (and globally) to have one per cent of our workforce comprising people with ASD to reflect the demographics of our wider society and in turn help to overcome the skills shortage which constantly challenges our industry,” says Ruthven.

“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion at SAP plays an integral role in our success and our focus on hiring. We embrace and encourage different perspectives and believe we are made stronger by our unique combination of culture, race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental ability, and work-life situations.”

So far, the company has hired 100 SAP colleagues through the the Autism at Work program, and has hired people from over 120 different countries with women making up nearly a quarter of management roles.

“This culture of inclusion not only helps make us a great place to work, but also drives the success of our business. And when teams reflect who our customers are, we can better understand and meet their needs.”

Put diversity at the forefront of hiring

Pip Russell

For Pip Russell, VP of human resources at Schneider Electric, “diversity is a strategic asset” and “a key element of our competitive edge”.

“We embrace diversity to the fullest and see it as crucial to our success and motivation at work. We endeavour to cover all facets of diversity, in particular gender diversity, which is a current focus for our company,” she says.

Diversity is treated as a “business and moral imperative” for the company which brings about creativity and openness within the office.

“Last year we joined the UN Women’s HeForShe solidarity movement along with 10 other companies. Over the next five years, we will serve as incubators for innovation and role models of gender equality. Globally, we have targets to reach by the end of 2017 -– to increase female participation from 29 per cent to 40 per cent, to increase female participation in key positions to 35 per cent and to implement a salary review equity process worldwide.

“When it comes to recruitment, the key to achieving diversity is really a mix of education, hard targets and an awareness of our unconscious bias.”

Be prepared to make tough decisions

Melina Cruickshank.

Like the above, Melina Cruickshank chief editorial and marketing officer at Domain believes that hiring for cultural fit is key, but she also says that it’s important to recognise when it’s time to let people go.

“Getting the right people in the right roles has been crucial to every successful team I have built. People who thrive in digital environments are generally the type who can adapt easily, try new things and move fast to make decisions,” she says.

“I’ve had to make many changes in order to build the right teams. Letting go of people who didn’t fit the culture or have the right capability for the future is always hard because we are human and it’s the tough side of growth.

“In my earlier years I allowed myself to be trapped by what I perceived to be ‘critical talent’ and took too long to make these calls. Soon you realise that real talent is actually about being able to communicate, execute and work as part of team where everyone has each other’s back.”

It’s part of their growth strategy which can open up space for new candidates who are more suited to the company’s culture and add value in the long-term.

“I’m a big fan of Jim Collin’s theory about having the ‘right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus’. Getting both sides of the equation right is essential. The people you need working with you are smart, adaptable, positive and bold. You need people that will question the current scenario.”

Hire those who will amplify your vision

Jack Delosa.

Jack Delosa, founder and CEO of The Entourage says it’s critical that new hires “intrinsically identify with and amplify the vision you have for your organisation”.

“For example, our vision here at The Entourage is ‘to push civilisation forward by enabling people to live on purpose’. Our vehicle do this is through the power of education, specifically for entrepreneurs.”

“We only hire people who are deeply passionate about the change we create through our education because it’s the fundamental alignment to why we do what we do, that fuels us to achieve our ambitions” says Delosa.

A good way to identify if candidates align or will add value to your vision is by looking at the conversations you have during the interview stage.

“If you have a suitable candidate in front of you and are discussing KPIs and sales strategy, then it’s likely you will hire someone based on skill rather than who they are as a person.

“I believe that you can train someone to have the right skills — you can program them with all the information they need—but you cannot change the things that naturally inspire and enthuse them.”