How to Integrate the FISH! Philosophy into Your Hiring Process

Published On: December 20, 2023Categories: Blog

If you’re reading this, you probably already understand that the FISH! Philosophy is a powerful tool for building an organizational culture that inspires workers at all levels to come together, stick around, and produce the best output they can.

However, building a positive and productive organizational culture doesn’t start with existing employees; it starts from the moment someone applies to be a part of your organization. Many places place an emphasis on “culture fit” when hiring, but that can be more regressive than intended – all too often, hiring for “culture fit” results in organizations that are cliquish or reinforce existing internal inequities.

That’s where we come back around to FISH!. The FISH! Philosophy isn’t just for your team that’s already in place; it can be integrated into your hiring process to help share the values your organization promotes while giving applicants a sense of what it would be like to work with you. Here are ways you can bring the core pillars of FISH! into your hiring process:

Be There: Be flexible and compassionate with your hiring process

Be There is fundamentally about treating your employees and coworkers like real people with real emotions and supporting them through both good times and bad. Whether that’s sharing in their successes or offering an empathetic ear when they’re struggling, it’s key to bringing humanity back into the workplace.

In your hiring process, it means understanding that searching for a job is a hugely stressful process with extreme power imbalances – one that expects applicants to be at their very best and dings them for any perceived fault. While it’s obviously important to hold applicants to high standards, we also want to practice extending empathy as well.

If someone needs to reschedule an interview, or stumbles over a tough question, or shows up 5 minutes late, we can note that,  but don’t miss the forest for the trees – these are real people, and focusing too much on minor perceived failings or faults can mean overlooking major strengths a candidate brings to the table.

Play: Give candidates opportunities to share unique ideas and experiences 

Especially as organizations grow larger and applicant pools follow suit, it’s easy for our application and interview process to calcify, offering the same series of closed-ended questions with strict rubrics for assessment.

While we want to set up systems to treat all candidates equally, and using data-driving hiring is vital in large organizations, we also want our hiring systems to account for the traits that make individual hires uniquely qualified for our positions. One way to do this is to build into your applications and interviews open-ended questions that allow for creative responses and outside-the-box thinking – and encourage applicants to give honest answers. Bringing room for Play into the interview process will help ensure that you’re getting a real sense of each candidates’ personality and ways of thinking, rather than favoring those who simply “know all the right answers.”

Make Their Day: Respond to all applicants with kindness and respect

As mentioned before, it’s important to empathize with those who are going through the stress and chaos of job hunting. One of the most common ways hiring organizations fail their candidates is by ghosting them – giving them zero response to their applications or interviews and leaving them to wonder if they’re still in the running.

A rejection email or (if a candidate has gotten to the interview stage) phone call can seem daunting. After all, there are often hundreds of applicants and the thought of being the bearer of bad news doesn’t make anyone happy. But proper communication – even for candidates and applicants who weren’t chosen – is a sign of respect for the time and energy they took to submit themselves to your organization. When a candidate has gotten radio silence from 10 different organizations and yours actually offers a kind and compassionate rejection, you better believe that this candidate will leave with greater respect for your organization in return.

Choose Your Attitude: Keep an open mind to find the perfect fit

Of course, the ultimate goal of the hiring process is to, well, hire a new employee. And when you’re sitting in front of a bunch of names and applications deciding who to progress and who to leave behind, you’ll be weighing countless different factors: experience, skills, interview answers, education, budget, personality, etc.

Often, you’ll end up making decisions based on objective measurements: does someone have X years in the industry? Do they have a Master’s degree? Have they worked on projects like yours in the past? Some organizations even use automated filters to filter out applications that are missing certain keywords.

Rather than simply defaulting to who looks best on paper, stay open to unique perspectives and talents. If someone may not have the most obviously fitting resume, see if their cover letter makes a good case for why their experience fits. If someone isn’t a perfect wordsmith during an interview, offer them a technical test to see if they can actually do the work. Different people display their skills, knowledge, and experience in different ways, and the more you choose an attitude of open-mindedness, the more likely you are to find the diamonds in the rough in your hiring process.

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • Are there small traits, habits, or behaviors that color your mind against certain candidates? How could you benefit from overlooking these minor flaws?
  • Does your organization make it a priority to respond to all candidates and applicants, even those you aren’t moving forward? If not, how can you build that responsibility?
  • How does your organization filter out candidates at each round of the hiring process? Is there space for non-traditional candidates to prove themselves?

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Starter Kit

The first step in a successful FISH! journey is a remarkable introduction. A FISH! Philosophy kickoff event:

  • Inspires people to find the joy they have been missing at work.
  • Teaches four powerful skills you can use immediately for team and personal success.
  • Unites team members to accomplish any goal.
  • Is incredibly fun . . . and people learn more when they have a good time!

The FISH! Starter Kit provides all the tools you need to plan and lead a great kickoff.

Click Here for More FISH! Starter Kit Information

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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