How to bring culture to life in the recruitment process

We’ve written before about how candidates need to sell themselves. This time, we turn our thoughts to employers. How can hiring mangers better sell their company culture during the recruitment process – and attract stronger candidates as a result?

The simple truth is, information management and data analytics are candidate-led fields. If you want to attract the best talent – employees that will enhance your enterprise, show commitment and engagement, and be around for the long haul — you’ll need to show them why they’d want to work for you.

Here are some of our top tips for bringing your culture to life during the recruitment process.

Involve your corporate culture at every stage

From initial contact with the candidate, to the interview process and follow-up, be sure you’re putting the best face on your company. Communicate your values and culture to candidates by treating them with respect from the outset. This could include anything from offering out of hours interviews to accommodate their schedules, to being available via Skype if they’re located far away. Whether in emails, phone calls or personal interactions, every point of contact with the candidate should give them a strong sense of how they’d be treated should they choose to work there.

Language says a lot about you

Is your enterprise structured and hierarchical? Or is it a smaller entrepreneurial office, with a more casual and open approach? You can give a prospective employee a good idea of what your company culture is like with the tone and word choice of your emails and other communications before they even walk through the door for an interview. And be clear about what your values are right from the start. If you are a collaborative, team-based organisation, say so. If your company rewards self-driven, individual performance, let candidates know that as well. Be very deliberate in your word choice in job descriptions and recruitment posts too; the list of requirements should reflect your company culture.

Don’t make them jump through hoops

One mistake we find employers often make is starting out the recruitment process with long technical tests or other demonstrations of proficiency. While you do want to vet candidates for their skills, of course, the danger here is putting people off straight away by making them perform for you before they even get a sense of your company or what the role might involve. Bearing in mind this is a candidates’ market, remember that top talent is in high demand – so you’re better served starting with a more appealing approach. To that end…

Be inviting

Prospective candidates visiting your office for an interview will get a strong first impression of your company culture in person – for better or for worse. Be sure you showcase the best aspects of your organisation from the moment they arrive at reception: offer a warm welcome and a bit of a tour first. If you have a great canteen or fitness facility, for example, showcase it, and be sure any staff members who may interact with the candidate are well versed in demonstrating your values in word and in deed. Later in the process, if a potential employee comes back for a second interview or technical tests, invite them to stay for lunch and meet some of the team.

Be honest

You do want to put the best face on things, of course. But it’s just as important to demonstrate transparency and openness about the issues a candidate may face in the role. Learning how someone handles challenges is an important part of finding the right fit, for one thing. And for another, sweeping any issues under the carpet won’t serve anyone well: the candidate may feel surprised at and unprepared for the reality of the job, and as such, you may find yourself having to go through the entire process again with a new candidate. Finding the right balance between giving a good impression and being upfront about the role is essential, so spend some time thinking about how you want to approach candidates with information.


KDR Recruitment is the home of the best data, technology and analytics jobs. For more hiring advice follow KDR on LinkedIn.

Chris Bongard

November 19th, 2015 View my profile

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