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Is Cultural Fit More Important Than Skills And Experience

Is Cultural Fit More Important Than Skills And ExperienceA statement that I often present to clients when we are laying out a job description is this one:

“Hire for Culture, and train for skill”

Why Is Cultural Fit Important?

Because in my opinion getting the cultural fit right when hiring a new team member is crucial. Bringing a new individual into your team instantly puts your group of experienced employees back into a ‘forming’ and then ‘storming’ stage of team dynamics.

Get the cultural fit wrong and you may find you have a team that cannot function as a unit, where literally, one bad apple upsets the cart.

Benefits Of Getting It Right

If you hire someone who fits into the agency well, who matches culture, ethos and values perfectly – then I think you will have a dedicated long term solution. Everyone wants to progress their skill base, everyone wants to improve, so if you hire for culture and then train a new individual – you will inspire, motivate, and retain.

Can You Train A Value?

Probably not is the short answer. If you hire someone who’s basic working belief system doesn’t match the culture of the agency then you are liable to end up with a leaver or someone who cannot bond with the team. Recruiting an office livewire, who thrives on working in a lively team, to work in a field role managing themselves with little team interaction is going to end in tears.

Use the interview process to really probe how the candidate wants to be managed, ask competency based questions around your company culture and values, identify if you are on the same wavelength. If you aren’t, try to ignore the plethora of relevant skills and see the big picture. Recruiting for skill is normally short term – can you afford this in your business?

Fitting In

Co-workers will champion a new employee who is a strong cultural match with the rest of the team, and help them fit in.

This quote from Business News Daily, by David Au-Yeung, co-founder of retail marketing technology platform Wishabi, sums up my argument perfectly.

“Culture is the lifeblood of a company,” Au-Yeung said. “It’s just like a marriage. We seek team members who believe in our vision, are aligned with our principles and want to grow the business rather than focus on individual success.” 

If you hire for culture you are looking to recruit leaders for the future, employees who will champion your business the same way the CEO does.

Hence why I always say…

“Hire for Culture, and train for skill”

5 Questions For Spotting Cultural Fit

When reviewing CVs or interviewing candidates, consider these five points:

  1. Does your agency culture match their previous / existing employer’s culture?
  2. Ask the candidate about their ideal working environment,
  3. Who inspires them and why? Role models are good indicators of fit,
  4. What are their motivations? Do these align with your agency’s?
  5. Ask them who their best boss ever was, and why!

We would like to know what you think. Given the choice between a candidate with fantastic skills and experience but a potential cultural misfit, and one who you know would slot into your agency perfectly but does not quite have all the skills you want, who would you go for? Leave a comment below…

If you would like to discuss your recruitment needs and how to find a candidate with the right cultural fit, please get in touch. Find a consultant here, or call 020 3116 0000 / 020 7636 0303.