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How to keep it real in recruitment

In any business there are a variety of roles contributing to business operations, each of which comprise of different skill sets and responsibilities.

Each business also has their own distinct culture, whether they are aware of it or not, which influences the way in which employees interact and engage with each other.

In order to ensure you are recruiting the right candidate for the role and that they will be a good cultural fit, it is important that your interview process reflects the nature of the role you are recruiting for and appropriately explains your business culture.

Ensure the interview process matches the nature of the role

Consider the position you are recruiting for. Is it a junior administration role or are you looking for an experienced Chief Financial Officer? The nature of the role should play a large part in determining the best interview process for candidates.

While subjecting potential CFOs to a stressful panel interview is certainly a good way to test a candidate’s nerve, this is probably not the most appropriate method to use when recruiting your junior administration assistant.

Given that the best way to really screen a candidate is to see them in action, it’s often a good idea to have them participate in a simulation scenario. You could have them prepare a mock sales pitch, training piece, role-play or similar, depending on the role you are recruiting for.


  • Salesperson – Give the candidate 3 minutes to ‘sell’ you something they like or know about.
  • Receptionist – Dummy telephone call where you pretend to be a client wanting information.
  • Accountant – Role-play him/her explaining to you what GST is and how you can minimise the administration around it.
  • Lawyer – Role-play him/her explaining a new piece of legislation to you and the effect it will have on your business.
  • IT – Ask him/her to explain how email actually works or why setting up an internal network system is beneficial for business.

The key in the above examples is to determine whether the candidate can perform the core duties of the role or will explain technical information is a way that is easy to interpret and communicate.

Explain your business culture

Candidate interviews can be quite a formal process; it is, after all, how you ultimately decide on the right candidate for your business. However, they have little potential to reflect your business culture, especially if it is a casual or informal one.

To create a balance between the formal interview and reflecting your business culture, consider introducing the candidate to the rest of your team. This is a fantastic way to gauge how the potential employee will mix with your existing staff, plus it allows the candidate the opportunity to experience your work environment.

Employees who fit in with the current business culture tend to be more effective in their role than those who don’t. Those employees who fail to fit within the business environment generally leave to find a culture which is more compatible with their own values and beliefs.

Research from Leadership IQ tells us that a startling 46% of new hires fail during the first 18 months mainly due to lack of cultural fit to the business.

So, what can you do to ensure you are keeping your recruitment ‘real’? The first step is to review your interview process and ensure that the manner in which you conduct the interviews matches the job for which you are recruiting. Also, don’t forget the importance that cultural fit plays in selecting the right employee for your business.

If you are unsure, talk to an expert. By following these simple strategies, you can be well on your way to building a stronger workforce from the get-go.

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Paula Maidens

Paula Maidens

Paula Maidens is Managing Director of <a href="http://www.recruitmentcoach.com.au/">Recruitment Coach,</a> a unique HR coaching and consulting firm for small-medium businesses.

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