Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem

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Written by David Smooke

Every organization has its own unique “hiring culture,” in addition to its core company culture. Hiring culture deserves just as much attention as company culture, because the two are deeply intertwined. The way an employer acquires talent determines not only who works at the company, but also the very essence of how those people function.

Culture: A Reality Check

Before we look at ways to elevate your hiring culture, let’s first look at how esteemed cross-cultural researcher Geert Hofstede defines culture:

“Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.”

By extension, a strong definition of company culture emerges: “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one company from another.”

So, what attracts people to a particular company (and culture)? And what motivates them to move from one culture to another? Early interactions with a new company bring us face-to-face with that organization’s hiring culture. It’s essential to make those initial experiences as approachable and authentic as possible. How?

Elevate Your Hiring Culture — Focus On 3 Key Factors

1) Alignment With Company Culture

Hiring culture feeds off of company culture, and company culture feeds off of hiring culture. However, your company culture has more inertia. In other words, every day, a mass of employees brings your company culture to life. Each employee is essentially a walking, talking, full-fledged marketing campaign, demonstrating what it means to work at your company. Do those employees know what your business stands for?

Companies such as TOMS and Google are models of how to “own” a company mission that focuses on social good. TOMS employees speak proudly about how every shoe purchase leads to a free pair of shoes for someone in need. This positivity carries over to its culture. Google employees popularized the slogan, “Don’t Be Evil,” as a way of pledging not to abuse the company’s abundance of information.

Every employee at your organization should know what your corporate slogan means, and feel comfortable sharing that concept with others. For example, I’m proud to say that my company stands for Zero Unemployment.

2) Transparent Employer Branding

Adding transparency to your employer branding gives potential hires a better idea of the impact your company is trying to make on the world, and a more accurate impression what it’s like to spend a day in your environment. You want to attract people that want to be there. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by being bold and straightforward. For example, Zappos offers employees $2,000 to quit because, as they say, “We really want everyone to be here because they want to be, and because they believe in the culture.”

To increase the transparency of your employer brand, and attract people who will be passionate about your company, try these tactics:

•  Share authentic pictures of what it is like to work at your company (real pictures of real employees on the job)
•  Counsel employees on why and how they should talk about your company and share your brand message, and;
•  Be awesome. This cannot be faked. When a company’s mission, vision and values are worthy, it shows.

3) Streamlined Hiring Communications

Finally, take a careful look at your hiring process. Where do you see disconnects in communication? How do they affect the speed and quality of talent acquisition? Consider a more collaborative model. For example, with a team of 3 to 4 people (rather than only 1 or 2), the hiring manager draws on more perspectives for a well-informed hiring decision, and you can get your team more invested in each new hire.

No matter how you structure hiring teams, it’s essential to have a system in place that facilitates information exchange across all levels. Hiring managers must have a way to define and update the information they want from interviewers; interviewers need a simple way to capture and share their impression of candidates, and stakeholders need an easy way to review and exchange input, so they can make timely, effective hiring decisions.

Better Hiring Culture = A Better Business

According to HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan, “If you’ve got a great product, it pulls in customers; if you’ve got a great culture, it pulls in employees.”

But here’s the rub: You can’t have a consistently great product without consistently great employees. And you can’t have great employees without a clear, coherent, compelling hiring culture. Hiring culture determines who you’ll attract as employees. Those choices will shape your company culture, and inevitably, your bottom-line.

Is your hiring culture attracting, closing and retaining the best talent for your company? What do you think it takes to develop and improve a hiring culture? Share your ideas in the comments area.

headshot(Author Profile: David Smooke is Director of Social Media at SmartRecruiters, the hiring platform. In addition to overseeing SmartRecruiters’ online communities, David is the Editor-in-Chief of the SmartRecruiting Blog and co-organizer of monthly Smartup events. He believes remarkable content determines the usage of every news feed.

David lives in San Francisco and enjoys walking the city, reading Dostoyevski, playing basketball, and discussions of the internet’s potential growth. Connect with David on Twitter at @DavidSmooke, and on LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/ClarkKent.)

Feature image credit: alborzshawn via Flickr

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  • Thank you David! Quite simply, this is a brilliant post. I’m honored to have your thoughts here. Please send my congratulations to the entire team at SmartRecruiters – your growth is impressive. I realize it’s been a long and windy road. We are changing the World of Work – We’ve only just begun. So much more innovation is in front of us.

    Talent Shout Out > “Better Hiring Culture = A Better Business According to HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan, “If you’ve got a great product, it pulls in customers; if you’ve got a great culture, it pulls in employees.”

    ….And we must live this culture.

    • Meghan,

      Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts here.

      When it comes to the world of work, this is one of the best places to share.


  • What a great post! I totally agree that Hiring Culture must be completely aligned with Company Culture. I think an integral piece is missing here, and that is for company’s to deeply and honestly define that company culture, listing out what is truly important to the brand, and not just what the brand wants to stand for (if there is a disconnect, maybe some realigning is in order!). Company culture is as important if not more important than product or reputation, in the sense that culture essentially drives those pieces. Thanks, David!

    • Hey Catie!

      Great to read your comment. Great to read people asking, What is Truly Important to the Brand?


      Let me know if you want to write about how to align company culture with new hires on the SmartRecruiters blog http://www.smartrecruiters.com/blog/

  • This assertion cannot be correct:

    “Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.”

    For if all humans were in one ‘group’, a describable culture would exist.

    Furthermore, even a basic ethnography of most cultures will reveal multiple subcultures that drive behavior, so a mere ‘hiring’ culture is not enough…what kind of hiring, for what roles, in what contexts?

    Basically there are nice companies and not-nice companies, as there are nations and peoples, with many shades within. Nature has contrived so that the forces balance each other out at every turn. Broadly speaking, most people already know which one they belong to and which one appeals to them….

  • Hey Martin!

    No assertion attempting to encapsulate all of “culture” will ever be 100% correct. Culture is a living breathing thing. Ultimately, why do people switch companies?


  • Hazar candan wilson

    Thanks David! I liked it very much! Simple, structured and to the point!

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