How Our Small Business Hires for Our Core Values – And How You Can Too

Our core values are simple: be constantly evolving, have fun and help out, make an impact, and consciously connect. And bringing them to life in the way we work is a defining characteristic of Candor Threads. That’s why, as a family-owned and design-based company that thrives on strong relationships with our customers and among our team, it’s essential to hire people who share our values. 

The difference of values-based hiring

For us, organizing our hiring process around our core values just makes sense. We’ve worked hard to create a company culture of collaboration and creativity, where each team member is empowered to take initiative and pitch in. And this unique way of working depends on an intentional and complementary combination of personalities, strengths, and skillsets to make it really go. So adding a new team member is about much more than finding someone who can execute a set of job functions. 

Of course, having the right skills and experience to do the job is important. But hiring for skills alone doesn’t come with the same benefits. For any company, choosing employees based on their alignment with your core values can have a dramatic impact. It promotes a positive work environment, improves employee morale and engagement, and increases employee productivity and retention. If you’re into numbers, consider these statistics

  • 76%  of people who love their workplace say their company lives the values it espouses.
  • 94% of employees are two to four times more likely to produce more for their company if they love their workplace.
  • 95% of executives believe that a poor hiring decision impacts the morale of their team. 

Clearly, putting together the right team is critical for a company’s long-term success. So if you want to re-orient your hiring process to prioritize your core values, read on to learn 4 actionable steps you can take. 

How to center your core values in the hiring process

1. Ask your team how they practice your values

Naming your core values is one thing. How those values are put into practice across job roles and team members is another. That’s where values mapping can help. This exercise helps you learn how each person applies your values in their day-to-day and what, in their own words, your values mean to them. The diverse insights you gain from your team will give you a deeper understanding of how your values guide your operations and company culture. And as you evaluate candidates, this broad picture of your values-in-practice helps you look and listen for the different ways a person can enact them. 

2. Post about it

Put your values front and center in your job posting, and make it clear that these are important metrics by which candidates will be evaluated. This means not only listing your values but also adapting them into the language of the job description. 

For example, if consciously connecting is a core value for you (like it is for us), be sure to describe the work of connection in your post – like collaborating with team members, or cultivating long-term relationships with clients. This will look different for the different roles you hire for, but your values map can be a helpful reference. The time you take weaving your core values into your job post will save you more time down the road. It will elevate, from the start, those candidates who share them.

3. Set up your process for holistic assessment

Looking for a “good fit” for a job is a somewhat squishy term. It can lead to hiring phenomena like the cloning effect (where you hire in your image) or the halo effect (where one exciting aspect of a candidate overshadows all other considerations). To minimize the influence of these common pitfalls, there are checks and balances you can work into your process. For one, consider separating skills interviews and culture-fit interviews. This allows you to keep the objective of the interview questions distinct for each session, and so make evaluating a candidate’s responses against those objectives more straightforward. 

Another way to set yourself up for a more comprehensive assessment is to use a collective approval approach. For some, this can mean bringing your colleagues together to review interview notes and decide on the winning candidate together. Or, like us, you can involve each team member at different stages of the hiring process, culminating in a final interview with the whole team present.

4. Get intentional (and creative) with your interview questions

When you are interviewing a candidate for their skills, it makes sense to ask technical questions or about their past projects and portfolio. When you are interviewing for culture fit and values alignment, however, you’ll want a different set of interview tactics. 

Some companies will conduct group interviews with problem-solving exercises or role-play scenarios. Others may leverage personality indexing tools like Myers-Briggs or Kolbe A Index (our go-to). But one simple way to get a picture of how a candidate understands and will practice your core values is to ask situational and behavioral questions. Here’s what we mean: 

  • How would you describe your ideal workday?
  • What are three things you think companies can do to boost employee morale?
  • Imagine your team is giving a big presentation in two hours, but one member just called in sick. What do you do?
  • Talk about a time when you took a risk in making a decision. What was the outcome? Would you do anything differently?

All of these tactics give you insight into a candidate’s decision-making process and their approach to working with others – and, in effect, the values that guide them. If what you learn through that process reflects your company’s core values, then get ready to welcome a new member to your team!

Candor Threads is a custom apparel company that provides custom ties, shirts, scarves, masks, and more. To see what our core values can do for your custom apparel order, just reach out!

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