Five Tips for Hiring to the Brand

By Amanda Bowen
Hiring for skills is important, but remember skills can be trained. Someone with less skill and experience might be the better “fit” than someone who ticks all the qualification boxes. By “fit,” we’re talking personality, work style, motivation, and coachability. Will the new hires' work style fit with your brand culture? The best way to make sure you hire right for the company culture and expectations is to hire to the brand. How can you do that?

Hiring for skills is important, but remember skills can be trained. Someone with less skill and experience might be the better “fit” than someone who ticks all the qualification boxes. By “fit,” we’re talking personality, work style, motivation, and coachability. Will the new hires' work style fit with your brand culture? The best way to make sure you hire right for the company culture and expectations is to hire to the brand. How can you do that?

#1. Write better job descriptions

Don't write a job description off on the fly. Take time to really think about the person's list of responsibilities and requirements. If you’re growing a small real estate team or tech startup, think about how the new job description changes existing ones. What tasks will be removed from your plate for the new hire to accomplish? What new responsibilities will be added?

What are the actual needs of the job? What is the person going to be supplied with to help them fulfill their duties? The Wall Street Journal analyzed different job description approaches and found that the Needs-Supplies approach to writing job descriptions attracted better candidates than the Demands-Abilities approach. Business News Daily talks about the importance of moving beyond job tasks, qualifications, and experience and including insights into the culture to attract the right talent.

#2. Fit the personality to the work

Not everyone is the right fit for an out-the-door salesperson role. Conversely, not everyone is right to be in the background with little interaction. Job descriptions tend to put a lot of emphasis on a person's skill set, but it is equally important to look at their personality traits.  An empathetic person is more likely to find success as a nurse than working as a computer engineer.  

So a person can have all the right skills to do the job, but not the right personality for that particular role or that particular culture. See this example list of interview questions targeting a person’s “soft skills” for ideas.

#3. Conduct better interviews

The worst interviews are the ones where they asked these random questions like, ”What's your spirit animal?” or, “What kind of fruit would you be?” You can rationale these questions away as measuring the candidate’s ability to respond to anything on the fly, but the truth is they're not really assessing the person’s traits. They're ridiculous.

Yes, during an interview, you need to get a sense of the person's past skills that have made them successful. But you also need to figure out their temperament, their motivation, and if they're coachable. The right questions determine if they learn from their mistakes and how they deal with setbacks. These are especially important in the real estate field where we deal with obstacles every day. 

Give the candidate space to ask questions of you. Be honest in your answers. Having them ask you questions will indicate what things are important to them. Along the way, they may decide that the job is not the right fit for them. 

#4. Have a test

We know people sometimes stretch the truth on their resumes. How can you prove if someone actually has the skills that they say they have?  Lisa Quast believes in giving candidates some sort of test, like through a role-play or a simulation. Or, ask them to actually produce something. Example: if the role is in marketing, ask them to write a press release or some social copy. You don't need to design an elaborate half-day examination, but do find a way to prove the potential hire actually has some of the basic skills necessary for the job description. 

#5. Include many voices in hiring

The hiring process should not be isolated. Let the candidate engage with different people involved in different roles inside your brand.  The top candidates should have conversations with the people they would interact with frequently if they are hired into that position. Having additional voices in the interview phases rounds out the picture of the candidate and increases the chances you’ll hire the right fit for the role. After all, the candidate’s potential colleagues and supervisor have insights into the role that an HR person or top brass lack.

The mission of a thoughtful hiring process is to find the right person who easily jumps into the brand’s culture and helps it positively grow. Your company values must be communicated from the job description to the final interviews. The role must be the right fit for you and them. Need help finding your brand culture? Let ATYPICAL work with you to discover your unique brand proposition. 

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