Knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to job requirements are typically what recruiters and hiring managers look for in candidates. The technical skills to perform the job and deliver the results that help you and your organization achieve your goals are critical, but that is only half of what is required for employees and organizations to be successful.
Hiring candidates whose core values align with the principles that define, who you are as an organization and drive your day-to-day business decisions, will result in increased performance, enhanced collaboration, reduced attrition, improved morale and the creation of a stable workforce. The simple truth is that employees who believe in your product or service, vision and values will be intrinsically more engaged and motivated. Conversely, employees who do not share your core values will dilute it. Some organizations have found the results of hiring employees who share their core values to be so compelling that they hire for character over competency. These companies have found that many skills can be taught but individual characteristics are rarely altered.
The best fit for any organization is a candidate whose integrity and character align with the organization’s core values and vision. Going one step further than that is to hire an individual whose values not only align with the organization, but also their innate strengths are a match for the requirements of the position. To ensure that the best candidate is hired, there are three key areas that should be assessed: technical skills to perform the job (knowledge, skills, and abilities), values alignment, and core strengths.
Core strengths can be determined through various assessments; like the Gallup-based ‘Strengths Finders,’ the DISC Assessment, and the Predictive Index Survey.
Hiring managers are most comfortable assessing a candidate’s technical knowledge, skills, and abilities, which are most accurately gained through the use of behavioral interviewing techniques. Some hiring managers, with extensive interviewing experience, are able to not only assess for technical skills, but can also interpret and apply the data gathered from strength assessments.
However, while most hiring managers will agree that assessing and hiring for cultural fit is important, they also conclude that it is not easily applied. Here’s our methodology for value-based hires:
- Clearly state your culture, work environment, and core values. Candidates with whom this resonates will pursue a career with your organization while others will self-select out. It is beneficial for both the company as well as potential employees to make that determination sooner rather than later.
- Allow “A” players, high performers who also authentically live the company’s values, to interview candidates. People tend to recruit and hire others just like themselves. Make it a point to have your “A” performers participate in the interview process. We have found that the best interviewers are high performers who possess the ability to objectively assess a candidate’s fit for the role. An additional level of assurance that the best qualified candidate will be selected is if the high performing employee is also actually doing the work for the position as they know exactly what it takes to do the job.
- Use behavioral interview questions to determine to what degree a candidate’s values align with the organizations. To assess for the value “Inspired Community,” a question like “Tell me about a time when you assembled a high performing team? What did you do, and what did you accomplish as a team result?” will help a hiring manager understand exactly what this candidate considers to be high performing, how they can be expected to assemble a team and exactly what the results may look like. Based on the premise that the best predictor of the future is the past, behavioral based values questions have the highest likelihood of predicting a candidate’s future performance on the job.
- Educate hiring managers and provide them with the tools to adequately conduct behavioral interviews determining technical skills, values alignment and core strengths as they relate to the job requirements. Managers need to understand what they are looking for in a candidate, what a good answer is and what is not, and how to interpret and evaluate the data. They should also be aware of and avoid biases, hiring on a ‘gut’ feel, being sold on the attractiveness of a candidate on the surface and being desperate enough to look to reinforce what they are hoping for in a candidate rather than probing for what is actually there.
We at Aspect recognize that hiring for cultural-fit is the best way to assure the continued success of a company. It results in greater retention, higher levels of employee engagement, increased performance and deeper connections with customers.
As a management professor and sociologist, Peter Drucker, who delved into what happens inside a company and how this relates to the company's success or failure said, "I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people."