When we talk with hiring managers, the number one thing they tell us they are looking for is finding someone with "the right skill set." Does a candidate have the skills to get the job done? Did they go to the right school? Do they have the right certifications? Do they have the right industry expertise? Of course one of the challenges we see is the longer the list of “skills needed” the smaller the pool of available candidates. It’s like looking for the perfect unicorn.
But what if focusing on skills didn’t have to be your main focus? What if instead you looked for candidates who fit your culture first, then focused on skills. In some cases, a cultural fit is more important than a skill fit for a company. After all, you can train for skill but it’s harder to train for culture. If people aren’t a good cultural fit, they're not going to mesh well with your company. Why is that important? If you only hire for skill and you hire people that are a cultural misfit, you're going to increase turnover. You're going to have low employee engagement and low employee satisfaction. Your hiring managers are going to get frustrated and you may create high turnover there as well. In short, you're feeding a vicious cycle of turnover.
Hiring for a cultural fit doesn't mean compromising your process. You still need a rigorous process and you have to define exactly what you're looking for from a skill set perspective, but think in terms of defining the minimum skill set required. What's the absolute minimum they need to be able to do what you need? Make sure that they have the skills that you’re looking for, then shift your focus to culture.
For example, when hiring a sales person, we look for people who've had success in a similar sound environment. They don't necessarily have to have sold the exact product or service our client sells. We want them to have some parallels between what they've sold and where they've been successful in the past and what we're going to ask them to sell. We're looking at questions like who were they calling on? Were they calling on CEO's and owners, middle managers, consumers? What type of person were they calling on in the past? What level of resistance did they encounter in their sales process? How large sale price did they have? Was it a low dollar, high transaction kind of sale or was it a high dollar long sale cycle kind of sale?
Think about the people in your company who've been most successful. Think about the core values and attributes you look for in your company and for successful people in your company. Use this as a checklist of things you should look for when hiring. If you focus on the cultural aspect in hiring you are going to have employees who are a match and both the employee and your company will thrive. Cultural fit is something that's hardwired, while skills can be taught.
If you can shift the focus to be more on hiring for culture and training for skill, your candidate pool will improve and you will have more satisfied employees.