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Invite candidates to learn about your workplace.

Just as you are interviewing candidates, so too are your candidates interviewing you. For them to make the big life decision of starting a new job, they want to ensure the work setting lines up with their vision and ideals. Consider putting together a quick one-pager on your office vibes and culture. List a few employees from outside the interview team that a candidate can speak to and learn the inside scoop (and make sure that they know that they’re being tapped). Be prepared to answer culture questions during the interview, and have ready a few examples of moments that highlight your unique environment. Peter Drucker, the renowned management consultant, said “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What does that mean for us when we’re trying to help candidates get to know our organizations? How do we highlight the real parts of our organizational culture and make our workplace shine?

A few suggestions to share about your unique organizational culture:

How do you celebrate? How do you celebrate your employees? What was the last thing that was celebrated? This question provides great richness in Jewish settings. What do Jewish holidays look like in your workplace? Or when a member of your team experiences a Jewish lifecycle event? Prospective employees can learn a great deal from the ways in which workplaces honor and care for their employees by lifting up celebration or support when the timing is right. And if you only end up speaking about workplace wins, goals met, outcomes achieved, this indicates that you’re not celebrating your employees, which sends a powerful message to job-seekers.

How do you help people learn and grow? Like the above question, this tells a prospective employee a great deal about how you invest in them and in your team members. Again, if you only talk about the evaluation and performance management system or the regular cycle of 360 evaluations, you’re not describing the fullest possible picture of investment in the personal growth of your team. Think about how much time is devoted to learning–reading articles or books together to develop a shared language for thinking and acting, mentoring one another in peer relationships or accessing external resources for coaching. All of this may indicate to a prospective employee that you’re deeply invested in supporting learning, no matter how much time it takes. “The work” is not just the bottom line, but what we learn together that helps us to get there.

What are some of the unwritten rules of your workplace? We never write these down, but it’s important to be able to answer this for a candidate. Is this an office where the doors open at 9 am but no one schedules a meeting until 10 am? Is this an office where everyone brings their own lunch and eats it together once a week on Fridays, even over Zoom? Is this a workplace where you’re expected to give publicly to the local Federation that supports your work, via your team, on Super Sunday? Be ready to think about how you might respond in a way that embraces transparency, that allows you to poke some fun at your colleagues in a gentle way, but that makes your organizational culture clear and visible (and honorable, too) to your candidates.

What are the other questions you'd like to ask? What are the other questions you'd like answers to? What do you think people might want to know about your workplace?


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