Enter the culture club
Associated Press
Jun. 19, 2006

Claire Bush

 Company culture matters when hiring employees and when finding a job to fit your needs. Duke University's Fuqua Report indicates that the top two reasons people join a company are opportunity for personal growth and the company itself.

 In Arizona, hiring managers say employers want workers who can convey honesty, thoroughness and a sense of integrity, sometimes intangible qualities, but traits they say are inherent in their companies' cultures.

 Randy Dickason, human resources director for Catholic Charities Communities Services in Phoenix, seeks job candidates who demonstrate flexibility, tolerance, compassion and initiative. With 600 employees in central and northern Arizona, Catholic Charities hires 20 people a month. Jobs range from entry-level administrative positions to executive-level management. The agency's programs include immigration and refugee services, counseling, foster care, adoption and group-home services. 

Client population is diverse, with more than 30 languages represented, Dickason said. Many people seeking help require multiple programs for assistance. Because 40 percent of the organization's clients are Latino, bilingual candidates are always in demand.

 "We're looking for employees who are willing to partner and collaborate with others, have the ability to take the initiative to meet client needs and have a good understanding of the services in this company and the community," he said.

 Job seekers who demonstrate a track record of service work will have an edge.

 Dickason, who worked in banking before joining Catholic Charities 10 years ago, did volunteer work for several local non-profit firms.

 "The hiring managers here were able to see on my resume that I had the heart for this type of work," he said.

 Applicants at John C. Lincoln Health Network must have a "how can I serve?"

mentality, said Krista Lynch, human resource consultant with John C. Lincoln Hospital-North Mountain.

 "We are committed to serving our patients, other staff members and the community," Lynch said.

 She said compassionate and enthusiastic caregivers, administrative workers and support staff who can demonstrate knowledge of the company's mission and services will stand out, especially if these traits are combined with the ability to present ideas clearly.

 Prior to a job interview, Lynch suggests making notes of past career successes to share with the hiring manager.

"Practicing in advance will help to formulate what you want to say and convey a professional impression," she said.

 Job candidates who arrive late for an interview or dress unprofessionally are sending out "red flags," Lynch said. 

"If a job seeker arrives late or enters an interview wearing flip-flops and casual pants, that sends a message that they don't care how they are presenting themselves. If that happens during the interview, how will they treat our patients and their co-workers?" 

John C. Lincoln Health Network, which ranks 45 on The Republic 100 list of top employers in Arizona, has about 3,000 employees in the Valley. The company is seeking employees for its two hospitals as well as its community outreach division that includes a food bank, learning center and adult day care. 

Small firms such as UBuildIt seek exceptional customer service skills to fill staffing needs. Ryan VandenBerg is owner of the UBuildIt franchise in Chandler, one of four Arizona franchises of the nationwide chain that provides construction consulting. 

He said he conducted more than 40 interviews before hiring two staff consultants. 

"Many of the candidates who contacted me were referrals from subcontractors and other colleagues," VandenBerg said. "The resumes I reviewed were pretty equal. These people all had good construction superintendent skills, but the crucial difference came down to who could interact in a conversational way with a variety of customers." 

Communication skills rank highly for the firm's consultants, because they work closely with clients during a project's bidding, construction and completion phases. 

"While candidates need to know how to create a costing sheet, read a blueprint and understand a job quote, in the end, it came down to who could carry on a real, human conversation during the interview," VandenBerg said.