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Assessing the cultural fit of potential apprentices

It is often said that when hiring employees, intangible qualities are just as important as technical skills, experience and qualifications – if not more so. Skills can always be taught, but inherent traits such as personality and attitude are harder to foster.

That is why it’s so important to assess the cultural fit of anyone you’re looking to bring on board at your organisation, including apprentices. While they may not immediately seem like a long-term investment, the best apprentices often stay on and make a tangible mark on your organisation – so you need to hire the most suitable ones from the start.

A March 2015 survey by Robert Half found that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of HR managers had miscalculated an applicant’s fit with their organisation’s work environment. If you want to boost your chances of selecting the most ideal apprentice for your company, registering with Apprenticeship Central can help you find the talent most likely to make a positive impact for you.

What else should you do to gauge an apprentice’s fit with your work culture?

Start by profiling your organisation

First of all, it’s impossible to determine whether someone will be a good cultural fit if you don’t know what your company’s culture actually entails.

Before you start looking to hire, identify which core values and beliefs define your organisational culture. What does it prioritise the most and which working styles tend to work the best at your company? What traits have successful employees – and those who didn’t end up being a good fit – shown in the past?

Having these guidelines in mind will help you accurately assess whether an apprentice will be a hit or a miss.

Get them to interact with employees

One of the best ways to see whether an apprentice will be a good fit is to put them in direct contact with the people they’ll eventually be working with.

Get them to do the Harrison Online Career Assessment

The Harrison Online Career Assessment is a simple questionnaire that budding apprentices can take to identify their strengths and competencies, and thus which career paths will be most suitable to them. It can also give employers an in-depth overview of their key traits, providing a good picture of how well they’ll fit in at their company.

Ask them for their opinion

Often, direct questions are the most straightforward way of getting a sense of the candidate’s personality and potential fit.

Put the ball in their court during the interview with some open-ended questions such as what constitutes an ideal work environment for them, and what their preferred management style is. Their first-hand responses can give you the best indication of their potential for success in the role and your organisation.

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