How to Revamp Your Hiring Process For a Better Culture

Written by Addy M. Kujawa on October 18, 2018

At the American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives, we have a small staff that we have been slowly growing since I came in as CEO nine years ago. A small group can provide an opportunity to create an organic and consistent culture, with fewer people to consider, hiring new staff to fit into our ideal culture became more of a conscious concern as we grew.

We realized that we were struggling to find people to fit the culture we all wanted to create. Often we would come across someone and they’d be a great culture fit but lacking the skills that we needed. I always believed in hiring for personality and teaching the rest, but some skills are critical in a role. You need to know someone’s capacity before bringing them on board.

It was time for a revamp of how we sought out new staff. How could we account for both required professional skills and a good culture fit when filtering through applications?

Instead of using a typical position description, we switched to simply outlining our objectives, required interests and skills, and our culture. People respond to that with a cover letter where they can tell us what they would bring to the position, culture and company. From there we get first interviews and arrange phone conversations between the prospective hire and the person they will be reporting to.

The next round is a test or exercise that we put together collectively. This gives the interviewee a chance to demonstrate their ability to complete core tasks of the role. To close it out, we hire as a team. A team interview with a staff of ten is a lot but it can be really fun if you’re open to it! We conduct them virtually when necessary.

The experience has been great. When we bring people in, everybody feels very invested in their success, and getting them onboarded and trained well. Together, we help them build their career path within our organization.

Revamping any association process can seem like a long and hard road, but it doesn’t have to be. Tweaking something small can make a big difference to your association culture. There’s no such thing as too small in revamping. Look at a piece of the problem and see where it goes from there.

Addy spoke in the “Revamp To Revitalize and Grow” session during SURGE Optimism 2018, an interactive virtual conference hosted by on November 7th-9th. Click here to watch the sessions on demand.