Earlier this month, TechCrunch published a blog called Why A Values Fit Matters More than a Culture Fit. To us at Outside-In® Companies, culture fit and values fit are one in the same. Outside-In® is defined by our values. When we are looking to hire a core team member, we consider how well a candidate’s values align with ours. So whether you are hiring or are immersed in a job search and wondering how in the world to do so based on culture fit, simply boil it down to your core values.
For an individual seeking a job, there are plenty of core value and personality assessments on the Internet these days. If you’re struggling with where to start in defining your core values, look up some of these assessments online or find a list of 30, 50, 100 values (there are plenty of lists out there too!). Just seeing a list of words will spark your brain and you’ll quickly cross some off the list and mentally check ones the strike a chord with you. Narrow the list down until your confident you have selected the values that represent you. You may have 3, 5 or 10 — it doesn’t matter how many, as long as they mean something to you. Once you’ve identified your core values, you’ll begin to look at employers differently.
For employers scouting the next hire, your first step is also to define your company’s core values. Whether you already had core values defined, or if you plan to figure them out, the next step is to assess candidates based on how well they align to your values. It’s pretty easy for a candidate to go on an on about how well their values align with the company’s, especially when you publish your values on your website. So how do you know they aren’t faking it?
As a job seeker or an employer, you should develop interview questions for each of your values that help you assess whether your core values align. For example, one of our Outside-In® values is Risk Taking. In an interview, we may ask people to provide an example of a time they have taken a risk in a past role and share what they learned from the experience. Conversely, if you are assessing an employer for how well you’ll fit in and “making a difference in the community” is one of your core values, you may ask if the company gives back to the community. If they are slow to answer or vague in their response, it will be clear to you that one of your core values does not align.
So “Values Fit” is a two-way street. If you are not asking direct questions about your core values in the interview process, how can you be sure your next hire will align with your core values, or that your core values won’t conflict with you new employer?