“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
You’ve been trying to find the right candidate for an open position for over a month now. There have been 102 applications submitted through LinkedIn and other job boards, and of those, 23 were actually qualified. You’ve conducted 12 interviews and almost no one was the best fit. You understand that you’re asking for the candidates to have the work experience of three different career fields, but hey, you want a rock star who can make you proud.
There’s one candidate who has the main skills you need. You know they would hit a home run on execution, but while your culture is relaxed and collaborative, this person thinks that silos help employees to stay focused and avoid distraction. You’re wondering – should you make the hire, or just wait for a better fit and further delay meeting your goals?
Before you make this decision, you need to make sure that you truly understand your company culture – what the brand stands for, what the energy is like for employees every day, what the organization wants customers to experience, and which goals need to be achieved for the business as a whole.
Protecting Your Brand
Understanding this helps to ensure that though a candidate may have the right professional skills that they will be able to fit in with the culture as a whole. This includes they ability to acclimate the environment and help to deliver on not only the expectations of the role they’re hired for, but be an ambassador for your brand. They're more likely to believe in the company’s mission and help to represent that in the work that they do. A mismatch may result in having an employee who doesn’t share or represent the core values of your business, creating friction and jeopardizing internal and external relationships.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, evaluating each for job experience and cultural fit is key to determining the right hire. It goes without saying that having the skills takes top priority. However, if you’re choosing between a candidate that could use a little more experience, but seems trainable and demonstrates a drive to learn, they may be the better option over than someone else who has all of the skills but isn’t quite right for your organization.
It’s especially important for customer-facing roles such as field service engineers, customer service representatives and help desk providers, to embrace your brand and represent it with integrity. This begins with the internal culture of the business. What your employees believe in and live every day will come through naturally when they are dealing with your customers. This is especially so if making them feel appreciated and valued is a part of the core of your operation.
So, how could the manager in the example above determine whether or not to hire the candidate that isn’t the right cultural fit? There are already indications that the candidate will not fit the company culture. It may be worth going back to the drawing board, reviewing the job description in the posting and re-posting the position. This will not only save the overhead generated from employee churn (including those who may leave because of a bad hire they have to work with), but ensure that your new hire accurately represents your brand. It’s worth the extra time.