5 Best Practices to Close the “Culture Disparate” Gap

I had the opportunity to sit in on a prospective new client call the other day and at the end of conversation I, as well as the others on the call, had the same kind of reaction—this could really work. This led me to the question, why?  Because here is what the position requires: quick ramp up, small market, extensive sales experience in a mature and saturated market place, old school training and culture, strict adherence to 8-5 hours, and fair compensation.  No popular bells and whistles.  The company is not Google or Facebook or anywhere near the cutting edge.  Good product- not lots of glamour – but good service.

So why are we juiced and so sure we can exceed their pressing needs to more than triple their sales force?  Because the human resources and the hiring managers and all the adjoining departments know what kind of skill and what kind of person does well in the position and in the organization. They know, so they easily shared their knowledge with us.  We in turn can create a pointed recruiting campaign, focused not only on candidates – but the best candidates.  This, as our 15 years in the RPO field have demonstrated, is the secret behind meeting those tougher than life recruiting expectations.  Measure twice—really know what you are looking for—execute only to that and the hires come faster and they stay longer.

Sounds simple right?  Are you telling yourself right now, we do this?  Frankly everyone does it—to an extent.  And it’s the extent that makes the difference.  No matter what the talent set needed, knowing your culture is just as important, if not more important, when it comes to recruiting and securing the best new employees.

Culture is a popular word right now and in our experience it has way too many meanings.  However, what we do know about it is that our customers who know who they really are—they are the ones no matter how small and competitive the recruiting market – who obtain talent faster and that talent stays longer.  On the other hand, the clients that have a “disparity” in their beliefs and understanding of their company, or individual departments within their company, well – they struggle.  And here is the biggest kick in the pants:  our clients who seemingly know or pay little attention to the employee atmosphere have better track records in hiring and retention than do those who think they know.

We at People Science call this gap of what is really offered and what’s being offered, “Culture Disparate”.  It happens when upper management, or HR have one mindset of the culture and the front line managers and supervisors or collective employee atmosphere is completely different. When it comes to Culture Disparate we often find the company wants to be a certain way, or they have goals to be a certain way, but for whatever reason(s) they just aren’t there.  At least not yet.   The irony comes when they want it, hire to it, don’t offer it, and often wind up even further behind in their endeavors.

Here are a few examples of “Culture Disparate”

Company Motto: “We promote from within”

Truth out: not nearly as much as we go outside.  It is definitely worth looking at the numbers here to determine if you truly are promoting from within.  Many companies have great intentions here, but don’t have the internal structures that truly promote internal promotion.

Company Motto: “We are progressive”

Truth out: We want to be progressive, but not all managers really want to know what you think.Not all of them are interested in helping you advance and some might actually blockade your advancement.   For this one, knowing the HM expectations or helping them determine what they truly need makes all the difference.

Company Motto: “We offer growth potential”

Truth out:  Do you really and what kind?  There are lots of different kinds of growth.  Knowing what kind you offer and for which position will point you towards the right candidate.  The danger that leads to turnover is when the new hire expects to be out of the position within 6 months and your promotion rate is more like 2 years.


So how do you close Culture Disparity in Hiring?  Hirer Really – know thyself and Hirer act on what you Really know.

Here are 5 Best Practices we highly recommend:

#1 Resist the impulse to recruit first plan second—no matter how urgent the need.  Starting to recruit before you have the full picture, even though it feels like what you should do, is almost always counter- productive.  Besides, this is the best time to get the HM to speak to you on your terms and give you the best and most accurate information about what kind of new hire will work to their advantage.


#2 Emphatically understand you’re hiring managers: By emphatic we do not mean giving them multiple choice options to questions we ask about what and who they want to hire.  Try shutting the door and really listening and learning what it is like to work for this manager. More times than not, this step is as much a discovery for the HM as is it for the recruiter and always a valuable experience for both.


#3 Interview the most recent hires and the longest standing employees.  Are they a good fit?  If so, how can you connect that to the search that was used to find them?  For the longest standing employees, what do they think the department could use now?


#4 Make sure you talk to all the key stakeholders of the hire and that everyone agrees to the profile.  Some of the worst hiring events happen when conflicting hiring officials are not in agreement.


 #5 Create interviews for all stakeholders around agreed visions of the position.  Yes, I said it. Create interview guides for the all interviewers.  This includes characteristics of the new hire and their talent set, but it’s the shared vision that will help you clear up the Culture Disparate.  We routinely find that unless supplied with a better guideline, HM’s will go back to interviewing the way they always have—resulting in more disparity.


Lastly, we have found that chasing the most popular idea of what a company should or could be is the most common catalyst for culture disparate.  Although the ideas once again have good intent, the truth is, in recruiting, knowing what you really are and recruiting to it is much more important.  After all there truly is a job for every person and person for ever job.  As long as you know what you really need there is a very good chance you can really find it.


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