Hiring for skill set or cultural fit?

When looking for a new recruit, it can be tempting to hire a person based on their skill set only, especially if you feel that you don’t have the time to train them. However, keep in mind that all new recruits need some training and be careful not to dismiss the importance of cultural fit in favour of perceived convenience. A new recruit who is a poor cultural fit can have a significant negative impact on your entire team, affecting morale and drive, ultimately costing you time and money. And once you’re at that point, it can be a long road back.

Don’t get us wrong, diversity is important – you don’t want a bunch of clones! What we’re talking about is hiring the candidate that will conform or adapt to your company’s core values and the collective behaviour of your team. If you are having trouble deciding between two candidates, where candidate A doesn’t quite have the skill set you need but is obviously a great cultural fit; and Candidate B has the skill set but you’re not sure if they’d fit well with the team, we recommend choosing Candidate A. You can train a skill set but it’s not always possible to change someone’s attitude or willingness to adapt to your culture.

If you hire a candidate that isn’t a good fit for your team you will likely find that they will quickly become dissatisfied with their role and may end up leaving sooner (either by resignation or termination). On the other hand, new recruits that are a good cultural fit will likely become part of your team easier and start contributing quicker; are usually happier in their new role; are likely to become star performers and ambassadors for your brand and tend to stay longer than those who are a poor cultural fit.

So, other than relying on your ‘gut instinct’, how do you find that perfect fit?

  •  Know your core values;
  •  Include your core values in the job advertisement;
  •  Discuss your core values during the interview and ask questions relevant to your core values; and
  •  Take advantage of Psychometric Assessment tools (click here for more information about Psychometric Testing)

In an ideal world, you would hire someone who has the necessary skill set and is also a perfect fit for your team. But when you’re faced with a situation where you have to choose one or the other, we’d encourage you to choose cultural fit over skill set. In our experience, this is the choice that will be most beneficial for your business.



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