When AAIM takes on a new project to locate top talent for a hiring company, we focus as much on cultural fit as we do on required responsibilities and experiences. Why? Because companies work hard to develop their culture. Unless we are very careful in utilizing appropriate interviewing techniques to determine cultural fit, short- or long-term performance issues can surface after the new employee has started his or her new career.

Cultural fit—or lack thereof—is a key reason employees leave a company. An article in the December 2012 issue of Forbes magazine lists the “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You.” All ten are related to culture, including the top three: failing to unleash passions, failing to challenge intellect, and failing to engage creativity.

As an executive search firm, it is our job to learn as much as possible about the company culture, management style, and all areas that can have a potential impact on how well the new employee will be engaged with the new environment and company setting.

A 2012 workforce study by Towers Watson states: “Globally, just over a third (35 percent) of the more than 32,000 full-time workers participating in our study are highly engaged.” This is obviously a concerning statistic, since 65 percent of our work population apparently do not feel strongly connected to their employer. The Towers Watson study goes on to state that some of the reasons for this percentage can be attributed to employees feeling “concern for financial and professional security, their stress on the job, their trust in their company’s leadership, the support they receive from their managers and their ability to build their careers.”

By having a true assessment of your company’s values, strengths and weaknesses, a clear picture of the employer’s culture can be painted during the interview process. However, it is important to remember that what a hiring company may feel is important may not be a priority to a potential job candidate. During the recruiting process, you may find the number one candidate (regarding skills and talent in their field of expertise); but once they are on board and there is a clash in the cultural fit, not only will their creativity and production be damaged, but their level of engagement will drastically decline.

All organizations are different; they each have their individual DNA. Just like people, different strengths and weaknesses exist in each corporation. As long as the appropriate time and commitment is invested to determine how these characteristics align with the new employee’s desires, great benefits will be reaped by both the employer and the new employee.

Though AAIM is a regional association, its reach extends throughout the United States, and finding top talent is one of its inherent strengths. Representing more than 1,500 organizations and comprised of more than 365,000 employees, its extensive network directly translates to superior talent acquisition and confidential search capability.

In the search process, we start by getting to know your company culture, management style and the areas that can have an impact on how well the candidate will be engaged with his or her new environment. By having a true assessment of your company, you can find the best candidate for the role—and for your culture. iBi

Larry Timm is vice president of AAIM Employers Association’s Central Illinois region.