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What does values-based recruitment look like in practice?

Posted in Company Culture, Employers, Policies & Procedures, Recruitment on Sep 11, 2023 by Keeley Edge

Values-based recruitment: A step-by-step guide

Company culture and value matching remain high on the list of priorities for jobseekers. Earlier this year, LinkedIn announced it would be adding a values filter to the site to make it easier for candidates to find employment opportunities in companies whose values align with their own. Research by the popular platform revealed a “154 per cent increase in job ads mentioning culture and values in the past two years, while two thirds (67 per cent) of professionals in the UK want to work for companies aligned with their values.”

The potential benefits of successful values-based recruitment are clear and manifold: happier, more engaged recruits, higher productivity, stronger teamwork, and loyalty to the company being among them. However, hiring a workforce based on company values is not as simple as it sounds. It takes a clear, well-designed strategy with measurable criteria.

So, what does the recruitment process look like when hiring with values in mind? How do businesses attract candidates who will be a good fit and, as importantly, how do you assess a candidate’s compatibility with your organisation’s culture?

1. Identify and solidify your company values

Before you can find talent that aligns with your company values – ethos, standards, behaviours and beliefs – you have to be clear on what your business values are. And it’s not enough to have a handful of keywords on a poster in the break room. The values need to be understood on a practical level – how do they translate into everyday actions and behaviours from you and your staff to build a working environment and company reputation on those core values?

2. Mitigate for the drawbacks and risks of values-based recruitment

Like any other business strategy, values-based recruitment comes with downsides and minor risks, but most can be obviated with careful planning.

One such risk is that the interviewer makes a hire from a position of subconscious bias, bringing someone in who shares their own personal beliefs and opinions. Another such risk or drawback of a values-based hiring process is interviewer subjectivity. These risks can both be mitigated by ensuring you have designed a strong, validated, measurable criteria so that candidates are appraised fairly and without bias.

It’s also important to note that focusing your recruitment on values and culture fit is not at the expense of other determining factors. The recruitment process still needs to pay equal attention to skills, experience and competency. And let’s not forget that all recruitment strategies need to be designed based on role analysis to ensure they are fit for purpose and will fulfil their ultimate goal – finding the right person for the job.

3. Advertise vacancies with company values up front

You need to ensure that your core company values are visible to candidates right from the get-go. If, say, teamwork and respect are two of your key values, list them in all of your job advertisements, regardless of role and department, to attract people who will create a working environment built on those behaviours and characteristics.

Given all of your candidates are likely to look at your web presence prior to applying, you should also ensure your website clearly lists and demonstrates the company’s core values in how it presents itself to the world.

4. Consider using pre-employment assessment and evaluation tools

Pre-employment assessments can evaluate the skills and behaviours of potential candidates as part of the recruitment process. While some tests concentrate on hard skills and work samples, others can help determine a candidate’s soft skills, such as situational tests, and personality and cognitive ability screenings.

While pre-employment tests can be useful to measure certain quantitative skills and add some objectivity to the decision-making process, they only take into account a narrow scope of traits and abilities, so should only be taken as part of a well-rounded assessment and interview process.

5. Design purposeful, standardised interview questions

Ideally, interviews are conducted by a panel of two or more members of staff who are trained in best practice and are each well prepared to play their part in the process. Values-based interviewing needs to include standardised and relevant questions that are suitable for the role, and measurable and inclusive. Questions should also be specific to elicit lived experiences and genuine responses. Hypothetical questions run the risk of the candidate using their answer to say what they hope the interview panel wants to hear.

Here are a few examples of good values-based interview questions:

  • Describe a time when your team missed a deadline. What would you do differently?
  • Can you give us an example of when you showed compassion towards a coworker?
  • How do you react when you see a coworker ignoring safety regulations?
  • Tell us about a time when you worked with someone you didn’t get along with and how you managed that situation.
  • What makes you a good leader?
  • Has there been a time when you have suggested a new way of working? If so, tell us about it.

Values-based hiring can be a complex but worthwhile method of improving your chances of finding a candidate who is a good fit for your organisation.

If you need help with your recruitment needs, call Key Appointments on 0844 504 4666 or drop us a line at

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