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People and culture themes dominate the conference

In their “5 Takeaways from #SHRM18” post, HRDive editors highlighted how the conference showed how social events such as the #MeToo movement, diversity and anti-bias awareness and the political climate are impacting workplaces. “Executive leadership is coming around to the idea that people and culture, long the domain of HR, are critical to business success,” states the blog.

Talent leaders echoed similar themes at our busy SkillSurvey booth. Our live poll on top hiring priorities found that by far, the number one priority for the talent leaders was Finding Great People (37%) followed by Reducing Turnover (24%) and then Hiring Efficiency (15%).

Here are the full results:SHRM18 Poll Results

Culture starts with who you hire

People and culture were also top themes in the keynote by best-selling author and workplace I/O expert, Adam Grant who said “when it comes to culture-building, it starts with who you hire.”

In his work with a number of Silicon Valley organizations, hiring managers are always questioning what the key trait to look for is in a new hire. Is it skills? Adaptability? Or Culture fit? Or some combination? His research finds that culture is much more important to smaller organizations before they go public, but less so afterwards.

But there is a problem with culture fit, he says. “What does culture fit really mean to someone who is interviewing?” As Grant explains, “it’s a proxy for cloning ourselves” which can also end up weeding out diversity.

Additionally, what gets most often overlooked when focusing on culture fit is the critical role of a candidate’s values. Why are values so important? When they’re off, these are the employees who do the most serious damage. In fact, Grant states the high costs of a toxic employee are 2 to 3 times the cost of a positive employee.

Hiring for values

When it comes to values, Grant describes two types of people, “givers” and “takers.” Givers are employees who are willing to do anything, share their knowledge, solve problems and build networks. Takers are in it for themselves.

So that leads to the next question. How do you find out if a candidate is a “giver” or a “taker?” Grant cautions that you shouldn’t confuse personality traits like whether a person is “agreeable” or “disagreeable.” Traits like these can be merely a surface veneer. He warns that “agreeable takers = fakers.” And we all know they can perform so well during an interview.

On the other hand, someone who seems disagreeable might turn out to be the best asset your organization ever hired. They’re the people who may tear apart ideas, or they challenge them. But they do that because they’re very committed and want to make things work. He calls this “challenging upward.”

Getting beyond the interview

So that brings us back to talent and recruiting leaders’ top challenge, finding great people. The best way to be successful is to apply more insights into your hiring process. You need to get beyond the “like me” tendencies we all fall into and see beyond the “fakers.”

Reference feedback from a broad group of managers and co-workers who have worked with the candidate in the past can be the best source of this kind of hiring data. SkillSurvey reference can help you do this easily with a job-specific library of survey assessments that deliver feedback from a candidates’ references in less than two business days. And because it’s confidential, references are more comfortable providing more honest feedback. You can see how it works here. Or if you’d like to see more reasons to consider an online referencing solution, check out this interactive infographic.

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