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Tools to help assess cultural fit?

I'm helping a startup that has a fairly unique culture and is looking to hire technical staff. One of the problems is that too many of the applicants are just a poor fit with that culture, despite the fact I feel the job description is pretty clear about it. Most candidates are rejected quickly. Besides spending time talking on the phone with each person to assess them (which is time consuming), are there any tools out there that help assess cultural (not technical) fit for candidates. For example, get them to explicitly answer some questions (which is easy), make an intelligent guess (which is hard) and then provide an indication whether they would work.

40 Replies

Dave Kashen
3
0
Dave Kashen Entrepreneur
Co-founder & CEO at WorkLife - We're Hiring!
Check out http://roundpegg.com/ Dave
Lucie Newcomb
0
0
Lucie Newcomb Advisor
Global Marketing & Business Development Leader | Founder| Strategist | Board Member | Advisor | Trainer | Diplopreneur
I'm an accredited coach in a Values tool which is often used for this. If it's more about Communications styles, you might try DISC.
Jeff Mills
7
0
Jeff Mills Entrepreneur • Advisor
Global Vice President of Sales at iMerit Technology
Basically 1/2 the problem here is on the internal team. They are not outlining the "real" opportunity for the candidate to impact. The conversation needs to change from a job outline to more of a what this hire is here to impact. "We need the right person to come in and build our abc to increase xyz."- after they have identified this, both the team and the candidates are going to have a much better understanding of what they are getting into. After the phone screening, the candidate should be write a 1-Page Proposal that is showing how they are going to solve this challenge when they work with this team. The proposal is based on questions that are created for this specific position and can include one around "How have you shown that you are a (Cultural Message) type of person?" When the candidate comes into the interview, they are prepared and understand what the team needs. The team understands what the candidate is bringing to the table. The conversations has completely changed.
Rob Kornblum
1
0
Rob Kornblum Entrepreneur
Internet, SaaS, consultant, executive, Business Development, mentor, author
There are plenty of good video interviewing tools where you can configure the questions and then watch the video responses.
Bruce Carpenter
1
0
Bruce Carpenter Advisor
Co-founder and Principal, Harbour Bridge Ventures
The suggestions offered so far appear sound and I would not disagree with any of them. It seems from your question that one challenge you are encountering is spending the time of you and your team as well as the applicants when the applicants appear not to be a good cultural fit for the organization and it present members. I would suggest that you first decide what are the "genetic markers" of the culture you aspire to create or perpetuate in the organization and among its team members. Once you have documented it clearly and concisely, develop a set of survey questions that explore the likelihood of the applicants fit against that culture. The questions may be open ended requesting a reply, multiple choice, or some other type such as true/false, etc. Using a tool like Survey Monkey or some other online survey tool, you can then request applicants complete the survey and review online their answers before committing your own, your team's, or the applicant's time in a face to face interview. You may find after the first few reviews it is necessary to refine the survey which can be easily accomplished with a tool such as Survey Monkey. I hope this helps.
Denis McDuff
0
0
Denis McDuff Entrepreneur
CEO
Wonderlic.com
Marlina Kinnersley
1
0
Marlina Kinnersley Entrepreneur
Co-Founder of Fortay (Data-Driven Hiring for Culture Fit)
Culture fit is so important to a company's success! Culture drives employee engagement which drives everything else ie/ retention, productivity etc.

You might find Fortay.co very intriguing - it's a culture fit screening and engagement monitoring app. Candidates are qualified for relative cultural fit based on the unique cultural profile defined by the company's people. Unlike psychometric-based solutions, Fortay focuses on the collective, promotes diversity and matches for relative fit in just 5 min.

We focus on fast-growing startups and are passionate about helping them win!

Let me know if you'd like to chat more.
Alison Lewis
1
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Alison Lewis Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO/Creative Director
I've found this difficult also. If you're looking to shortcut the interview process, it means knowing what expectations need to be communicated clearly. Even then, there is no 100% guarantee.

This gives me a chance to rant about what happened recently and in a big ugly horrible way. Hopefully others can learn from it. We worked with a very talented software engineer that is a nice guy and great personality and has good ideas. That's still the case, but he didn't let us test along the way or communicate when he couldn't do something or it wasn't working or reach out or ask for help with anything EVER. This is a clear sign of someone that works alone and not in a team, unfortunately, we didn't know things were bad till 1 WEEK before the presentation. We ended up with NOT ONE MVP feature working in front of a live audience. The only way this could have been prevented is by hiring a different person. The team was screwed b/c of this and I'm the one that brought him on, so it hurt my rep and my rep with my team and possibly the audience as well. My life is now damage control and the only person I can blame is me for bringing them on and not asking the right questions or setting the right tone. (well, I thought I did, but apparently not). This is a worse case scenario, but goes to hiring and picking teams.

My lesson from this: set the tone early, fire quickly, and have 2 backup hires with every hire. Jeff Mills (above) is on the right track here with being clear on your needs. If you are a start-up, fire them even if you don't have someone to hire right away. Better to ditch them then have an entire team brought down due to lack of team communication and effort. Now, let's see some more good responses!
Chiquita T. Tuttle, PhD
1
0
President & CEO, Marketing, Management & Health Care Consulting, LLC
Randar, Are you referring to a work environment culture or an ethnic culture? I am not sure that one can put either into a tool instrument. Much of this has to be assessed by conversation and observation from my perspective. Dr. Tuttle Regards, Chiquita T. Tuttle, MBA, PhDc PhD Candidate, Walden University School of Health Sciences Health Services Administration/Public Health Policy e-mail: Chiquita.Tuttle@waldenu.edu
Rob Gropper
0
0
Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
Alison, that's a painful story, but all too common. sorry you had to live that, but it's a lesson you will not soon forget. I had a similar experience going live with a new product. Our dev team (a very experienced developer whom i knew reasonably well and trusted) told us we would be ready to onboard our first customer on x date. He had been following along and liked what we were doing and wanted to be a part. I knew the product looked rough, but he assured us he would have it working by x date. The customer started to work getting their internal resources organized and preparing for implementation. they sent status emails to their executive team and made a big deal of the launch and what great things we were going to do for them. 3 days before D day i was getting nervous about the lack of testing and proof from the developer. That night he emailed me and attempted to hold us hostage - said if i didn't agree to giving him a huge chunk of equity he would walk. It wasn't necessarily the ask (although he had only been with us for a few months) it was the fact that he held the company and the customer hostage that made it impossible to even consider brining him on as an equity partner. I pulled the plug with the customer. After brining in a new dev lead itturned out that he was no where near to being ready - perhaps 30-40% of the way there. Death by cop. If this was easy everyone would be doing it.
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