There is a direct correlation between the business culture of a company and its financial success, and people are the drivers of both.  With this in mind, when recruiting, it’s wise to focus more on finding someone who fits into the company culture rather than exclusively looking for certain skills.  I base recruitment decisions 60 percent on fit and 40 percent on skills.

This doesn’t mean simply recruiting someone you like and hoping they can do the job.  The goal should be to analyse the candidate’s personality and introduce the potential employee to the company’s culture, so you both can make the right decision.

A few years ago, we had a senior executive who didn’t fit.  She had been chosen through an extensive interview process, but since no recruitment process is perfect, we didn’t pick up on some key clues.  Once she was on board a few months, she began creating havoc across the company, making decisions without gathering input or gaining consensus, and putting our culture at risk.  After coaching failed, we decided to let her go. When we did, a cloud lifted off the entire company. In hindsight, we waited too long to act.

Here are 10 tips to help you avoid making the same mistake and recruit with fit in mind:

  1. Make the recruitment process tough so managing will be easy. When recruiting, the goal should never be to just put a person in the seat.  Have patience and choose the right person for the job.
  2. Look internally first.  Since these individuals are already part of the family, chances are they fit.
  3. Ask job candidates to go through multiple interviews.  These interviews should be with the HR managers and peers above and below the candidate’s position.  By gathering perspectives from up and down the organisation, you will have a broader perspective on fit.
  4. Make sure interviewers ask fit-related questions.  These are generally behaviour-based questions, and there are plenty of guides online that can help.
  5. Ask candidates to complete personality assessments.  But keep your expectations reasonable.  There is no ideal test for fit.
  6. Communicate the importance of company culture and values.  Make sure they understand how these elements factor into recruiting decisions so they can recommend outside candidates who might fit into the company’s culture.
  7. Reward employees for referrals.  Create a recognition program that acknowledges employees who are living out the company values and supporting the company culture.
  8. Provide coaching for employees who have veered off-course.  Some people can change if their behaviours aren’t too deeply ingrained.
  9. Conduct annual culture reviews.  These reviews enable the senior management team to determine which individuals have fit problems and uncover whether others have simply developed misconceptions about certain individuals.  You can also identify “fit superstars” who can serve as mentors.  In grading employee goal performance, keep fit in mind.  20 to 50% of an employee’s evaluation should be based on fit or adherence to company values.
  10. Don’t delay in pulling the trigger. If an employee consistently falls outside the company’s cultural boundaries, don’t be afraid to let them go.  That’s a tough position to hold in a company with a familial atmosphere.  But just as recruting the wrong employee hurts morale and impedes your company’s ability to reach goals, keeping those same employees makes matters even worse.

I always say to recruit with the heart and not the head.  This principle holds true whether you have two employees or 2,000.  I can teach people skills, but it’s very hard to teach fit.  For the most part, people either fit into a company’s culture or they don’t, and having people who fit is a key to success.

How to Recruit With Fit in Mind
By Paul Spiegelman

threesixty selection – Management & Executive Recruitment Practice. Specialist Search & Selection in Finance, Purchasing, Supply Chain, Manufacturing & Sales.