We often hear that you must hire for attitude, train for skill. While attitude is important, you must also look at people’s beliefs and perspectives. A person’s perspective on a situation will drive how they respond to it. Behavior (and attitude) is a result, not a cause. Beliefs drive behaviors. What a person stands for and how well this supports your culture is a key predictor of how positive their impact will be. This means you must hire for culture, train for skill.
To do so, it is critical to identify the core values that will shape, support and sustain your vision and mission. Who you hang with is who you become, so part of leadership is recognizing who aligns with your culture and will contribute to your "internal community," and who does not or won't. When you open your eyes and focus on where you have human alignment and where your have a cultural gap, the tough decisions become easy calls.
What Do You Stand For?
Values dictate the way things get done in an organization. They answer the question, "How do we act around here?" An organization’s values reflect what its culture finds of utmost importance. They tell everyone in the organization how to behave and what to respect.They are the principles that guide your team’s actions.The more alignment your people feel with your core values and codes of behavior, the less stress they experience and the easier decisions become, especially the difficult ones.
Here are some tips to ensure the people you hire align with your culture:
- Start with the person. 15 minutes talking—and listening—to the person in front of you (rather than speaking to the skillset they bring with them) will give you a sense of whether you want to spend another 5 minutes hanging with them. Knowing that someone can do the job is only one piece of the puzzle. You have to know and feel they will enhance your community and contribute joy to the journey.
- Focus on beliefs and behaviors. Your vision, mission and values are the three cornerstones of clearly defined culture; therefore, your initial questions should look for congruence between a candidate and these areas. If you work with intensity, you need people who have natural intensity. If you need caring people, hire people who care. Characteristics are not trainable.
- Let them do the talking. If you tell people about your culture up front, they will speak to it. Instead, listen to what candidates have to say. Ask about their experiences, what they learned, and what they want moving forward. You’ll be amazed at what people will tell you when you let them speak.
- Value company culture over individual results. A salesperson may have a highly successful process, and yet if their methods do not reflect your culture’s values, you will likely have challenges and lose productivity from others. When pieces of your organization move autonomously, it has an adverse impact on the team as a whole.
- When people show you who they are, believe them. If someone is consistently late, slow to respond, rude or always on the defensive, take notice. A person’s actions and behavior toward other people paint a predictive picture. Don’t ignore it as the picture generally doesn’t improve with time.
- Involve others in the process. Different people see and hear different things based on their perspective and role within the organization. Include at least two other people in your interview process to get a fuller picture of whom you are considering. A team interview technique helps leaders get a feel for how a candidate would work within your current organization. Trust your people. It doesn’t matter if someone has the ideal skill set if they aren’t a "values match."
- Remember: it’s harder (and costlier) to fire than hire. Employee turnover costs you more than having an open position. It’s better to hire carefully than quickly. It will save you money in the long run, especially if you end up having to do it all over again in three months because of a bad fit. Never rush.
For maximum success, leaders must align their people with the company’s vision through a culture that supports it. Leadership starts with building community. Without the right players, you won’t get the performance you want. When hiring, it is essential to identify the kind of people who will be congruent with the values and behaviors by which you want your organization to operate. Don’t settle for less, or you’ll see less in return.