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The statement in this title seems obvious enough, but it has some serious implications about interviewing and hiring to cultural “fit”. It is relatively easy to measure skills and train someone if they need new skills or need to polish up a skillset. But ‘values’ are central to cultural fit and are much harder to measure. Additionally, they cannot be directly changed or developed with training or coaching, making them even more important to get right in the selection process.
We have an entire interviewing guide if you want to learn more about how to evaluate values, beliefs, and overall culture fit even if you do not currently use STM’s assessments, but in this blog, I want to talk about the importance of hiring someone who aligns with your cultural values, even if their skillset needs a little work.
First and foremost, as a hiring manager it is imperative that you know your organization’s culture. At STM we define culture as the shared values, behavior, and attitudes among employees. What motivates the employees at your company? How do you communicate with each other? How do you all understand and view leadership or project management? Let me illustrate why this is so important with a real client example.
This company was owned by two partners where one partner was entirely business-motivated with a strong focus on ROI and the bottom line. The other partner was not business motivated and instead was more focused on helping people. The problem is that the two partners simply did not look at business the same way, which led to certain challenges. More importantly, when the high helping others partner left, the ROI partner was left with a company full of employees who did not share their approach to business, making accomplishing their goals more difficult.
Now, how did this company turn things around? By focusing on hiring individuals who fit the “new” ROI culture. Even when faced with candidates who had an amazing skillset, if they were not at all ROI motivated, this company knew the potential detriment of hiring them. At the end of the day, the goal was to find someone who fit their culture, ideally with a solid skillset already in place, but if not, at least a good foundation and willingness to learn and accept coaching and development.
Let’s be honest – unicorns simply do not exist, and it can be very difficult to find a candidate that really has it all. If you find yourself struggling to find candidates that check all the boxes, the best thing you can do is plan to invest in developing the skills of employees who fit your culture. The worst thing would be to hire someone who simply does not fit your culture, because that is something you will never be able to change.