Did you get married with a big ceremony and celebration reception afterwards? Most people do and rightly so, it is a big event that should be witnessed by many and celebrated by even more. Perhaps you didn’t do that, maybe you eloped and got married in a state park or something, maybe you got married in Vegas. I was in Vegas a few weeks ago, the chapels there are real. The truth is that whether or not you married with a big ceremony and party or in Vegas with a bottle of champagne, you made the same commitment to another person. Getting married in theory is a lifelong commitment, or at least that is the intention. Careful consideration goes into who you should marry. A long period of dating, lots of questions of compatibility, consultation with friends and parents, and then you pop the question and enter into a new and exciting time. I was thinking about this over the weekend and while it is not the same thing, hiring someone into your organization is a commitment as well, but we treat it much differently, with much less attention. You cannot compare a marriage with hiring someone, at least not fully, but I think we can learn a lot from looking at both together.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you are most likely aware that Chris and I take culture in an organization very seriously. The basis for any culture is its core values. If culture is very important and it is based upon core values then it only makes sense to hire people that align with your core values. A friend of mine is a golf course superintendent. One of the core values in his organization is providing a great customer experience every time, in other words repeatable and consistent excellence in service. There is fairly low turn over on his team but it does happen. Obviously he needs to hire people who are technically experienced at treating the grounds of a golf course, but that is different than someone who wants to provide repeatable and consistent excellence in service. How can my friend find someone who aligns well with that? Standard interview questions only get you so far. I am not even sure there is a standard set of questions that will fully get my friend to a place where he will see that a candidate aligns with the core values. One question to ask is maybe this, “Name something that you consistently do for someone else that makes them happy?” This has nothing to do with golf course maintenance but their answer could give great insight into whether or not they are service oriented and whether or not they provide that service repeatedly with excellence.

Most of us take so much time picking our spouse. Some of us dated for years before we got engaged and then some were engaged even longer. We understand the implications of this level of commitment. Some of us however make a major organizational commitment after asking five or six questions in a one hour period. Many are more sophisticated and get other team members involved in the interview process, but regardless of how many people get involved, assessing the candidates alignment to core values of the organization is essential.  Before getting the candidate lined up, before the first resume comes in, get the team together to develop a set of creative questions that get to the heart of your core values. This could be a great team exercise and a very helpful tool in aligning candidates to your core values.


The inspiration for this post came from the following video about Heineken hiring process … well worth the few minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq6y3RO12UQ

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