Three Tips for Telling Your Culture Story as Part of Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

The labor market is as competitive as ever for high-performing talent. This remains the on-the-ground reality despite uncertain headwinds for the economy. One critical way to stand out is to make your culture story part of your talent acquisition strategy.

At Waterstone, candidates consistently tell our executive recruiters that they want to work at organizations that share their values and purpose. They are asking specifically about culture early in the interview process and culture is the top deciding factor when it comes to choosing an employer. 

For employers, it has never been more important to have a clearly articulated value proposition when they go to market. That value proposition is your unique culture story and a key to supporting talent acquisition and creating a high-performance culture.

Here are three best practices to make your culture story part of your talent acquisition strategy:

1.  Build culture into the job description.

It’s not enough to just state technical requirements, responsibilities and qualifications. Describe the leadership and cultural attributes that will help candidates thrive in your organization. If kindness and empathy are core to your culture, say so.  For example, statements such as, “we lead with kindness,” “empathy matters,” “we want people to show up as their whole selves” will start to paint a picture for candidates about the kind of workplace environment they can expect. Be authentic.

2.  Add a cultural lens to the interview process.

The number one reason new hires are not successful is a misalignment of behavioral attributes. In addition to the skills and experience the role requires, evaluate candidates on whether or not they will be additive to your culture or detract from it. Use a series of situational questions to understand how they work and interact. For example, ask them to share a situation in which they had to create consensus or arrive at a solution when there were a number of competing opinions on how to move forward. Ask them about the types of work environments they’ve been part of.  Follow up by asking “What kind of culture do you thrive in?”

3.  Give the candidate an opportunity to experience your culture.

This is about making culture real for the candidate during the interview process. One way to do this is to have different people from your team meet with them. This can include future peers and colleagues from other functional groups within the organization. Including your team in this way will also help them feel they are contributing to the interview process. For example, one Waterstone client, a consulting firm, brings all of their people together once every two weeks to review what’s been happening with their respective projects. They invited a candidate to experience the “review day” as a way to demonstrate their culture in action.

Culture is an organization’s greatest differentiator. Being able to shine a light on your unique culture is imperative to compete for high-performing talent.

Put culture at the centre of your talent acquisition strategy
For more than 20 years, Waterstone’s team of retained executive search experts have been helping clients tell their culture story to drive recruitment efforts and improve employee retention. If you’d like to learn more about making culture your competitive advantage, contact us.