Your Company Culture is Your Competitive Advantage – Show it Off!

Culture-fit is just as important as skill fit: the right candidate needs to have both in order to excel at your organization. Imagine a new hire who is insanely talented, but often disrespects people on your otherwise tight-knit team. Or, imagine hiring someone who thrives off teamwork and constant collaboration, but for a remote, international team. Those situations will not likely end well for your organization.

Being transparent about your company culture upfront can help you engage the right candidates in your recruitment process, while helping the rest self-select out. Below, we share tips on how to make your culture a competitive advantage, one that makes your ideal candidates say, “Wow—this sounds like the perfect place for me to work!”. Read away! 

Jazz up your career site

A career site should be more than a transactional place to collect applications, it should show candidates why they should want to work for your organization. Share insights about your company culture throughout your career site, starting with your mission statement and values. Everything on your career site should align with those, and should show a realistic picture of what it might be like to join your organization. An employer blog can also be a great way to share additional, pertinent information with your ideal candidates.

Here are a few things you can do to jazz up your career site: 

  • Publish a culture code: In many cases, company culture is implied. However, some companies like Hubspot and Netflix are putting a lot of thought in explicitly detailing their culture so it’s crystal clear. If you have a well-defined culture, this is an excellent way to communicate it.
  • Write employee spotlights: An employee spotlight on your employer blog can help candidates see your company culture in action. If, for instance, your organization values continuous professional development, share the story of an employee who has been at your organization long-term, and has been promoted several times.
  • Share your employee benefits and perks: The right benefits and perks can help you attract culture-fit candidates. For example, snowboarding company Burton gives employees flex schedules, a season pass, lessons, and gear rentals. This helps them attract outdoor enthusiasts—particularly those who yearn for winter.

Ramp up your social media presence

Social media is an excellent way to authentically showcase your company culture, while expanding your reach and further engaging your ideal candidates. This holds even more true when you encourage current employees to share their workplace stories on social media. Visual content reigns supreme here, so be sure to include plenty of videos and photos that back up your company culture. Common channels include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Here are a few things you can do to get more social:

  • A day-in-the-life: Choose an employee to take over your Twitter or Instagram account for one day each week, to share what an average day looks like for them. If, for instance, your culture is family-friendly with a great work-life balance, you may choose to showcase an employee who works flex hours.
  • Post photos and videos from company events: Whether you’re holding an all-hands meeting, attending a trade show, or celebrating an employee’s birthday, take photos and video that give a behind-the-scenes view. Put an emphasis on visual content that supports your culture. A company that values diversity and inclusion, for instance, may share photos from their employee resource groups or a video of their team at the Women’s March.
  • Create a hashtag: Your employees are likely already sharing their workplace stories on social media, so provide them with a hashtag so the stories can be curated into one stream. This can help candidates see your culture through the lens of your employees. As an example, CA Technologies provides new parents with bonding time and some cute, branded baby swag. Those parents often share photos of their babies wearing their new gear, with the hashtag #LifeAtCA.

Build company culture into your recruitment process

Once you’ve attracted great candidates, your recruitment process needs to keep them engaged. Your candidates have heard about your company culture, but now they want to see it firsthand to make sure it’s not all smoke and mirrors. For that reason, it’s important to carry your company culture throughout your recruitment process. Every step, from your outreach and application process, to your interviews and offer, should be crafted with your company culture in mind. 

Here are a few things you can do to build your company culture into your recruitment process:

  • Build the right interview panel: The people you have interviewing candidates can speak volumes about your company culture. For instance, if you value diversity, you should create a diverse panel of interviewers. Or, if you value professional development, at least one of your interviewers should have a history of internal promotions.
  • Create a great candidate experience: The way you treat candidates should be indicative of how you treat employees. If respect for people is a core value, for example, interviewers need to arrive on time and prepared, and recruiters need to follow up when they say they will.
  • Include a lunch interview: A lunch interview gives candidates the opportunity to experience your company culture outside of the conference room. Both candidates and interviewers can relax, and can get to know each other on a more personal level. The candidate will also get to meet more people through an informal setting than they would through a more formal interview.

Final thoughts

When many organizations are struggling to find the skilled talent they need, adding culture-fit to the mix might seem like it’s shrinking the size of the available talent pool. However, a small talent pool is fine if it’s the right talent pool, and if many of the candidates in it are enthusiastic about the prospect of joining your organization. In today’s competitive market, it could be argued that focusing on culture-fit will actually help you attract more candidates who, otherwise, may not have even considered your opportunity. Your company culture can be a competitive advantage—but you have to make it known first.