The I Before the WE

How to Identify Employees Who Will Fit the Company Culture?

Corporate Therapy for matching employee agendas

A typical employment ad looks something like this:

Customer Specialist wanted

Key Responsibilities






Really? Does that mean that anyone can work with anyone? Hint: absolutely not. Company culture is the sum result of their employee likes, ways of doing work, and beliefs about work. It is not possible to build company culture and then match it with the employees. Instead, company culture is always in the making by its employees, and they should therefore be selected in ways that flatter the existing culture, rather than disrupt. Unless, of course, disruption is the objective. A few easily applicable ways to select employees to match the company culture are putting them in RWE and focusing on personalities rather than functions. How? 3 suggestions below.

1. Don’t ask work-related questions

It is often forgotten that before employees became employees they were (and remain) people. “People first” should therefore not become “employees first”, even in companies. Asking potential employees questions about who they are rather than what they can, saves time and money. It is one thing to know how to perform a function, but it is another thing to like and love that function. Long-term orientation hints companies should be focused on the latter. How? Ask questions relating to who a person is - likes, dislikes, preferences, dreams, fears, and the future vision.

2. Place employees in RWE

Employees need to fill gaps in company functions. Since questions about expertise don’t make sense, the only other reasonable thing to do is to put them in the real work environment. A few hours in the position with the colleagues should give all the answers about one’s expertise. A nice bonus is that all employees get to choose their colleagues together, as collective decisions generally tend to be more accurate. The RWE technique is the only way to see employees for what they know and for who they are all at once.

3. Know who you are looking for, not what you are looking for

You can only find what you are looking for, no more, no less. Therefore, it is important to have a very good idea of the ideal candidate. Not the functions, but the person. Not sure where to start? Brainstorm with their future colleagues! What is it that they expect? And what are the qualities that get repetitive mentions? It is crucial to know what kind of a person you are looking for, because functions can be learnt, but personalities tend to stick.

People first, employees second is the new mantra of the XXI c. workplace. Personalities can be only controlled with tremendous effort. It is therefore always a better idea to select the ones you don’t need to control. This saves the nerve, the time, and thus the money.