Do You Hire For Culture-Fit or Skills?

Having your work life disrupted causes the wheels to turn about what job and work environments should look like! Finding good employees is hard, right?

I find most work environments to be narrow and restrictive. I believe in everyone having their roles, but pigeon-holing people is a huge mistake a lot of organizations make. On more than one occasion I’ve had an employer who totally lost sight of my background. I am a writer at my core, and being in a position where that skill can be utilized is a bonus for anyone I’ve worked for.

But most of the time we’re told to stay in our lane (like being told writing “wasn’t my job” in the past). If you look at my career holistically, you’ll see I have many lanes. Someone introduced me for a speaking engagement recently, and she created my bio from my Website homepage… It sounded ridiculous when read all at once, the variety of things I do, but it’s reality.

Part of the reason I absolutely love owning my own business is because I’m not limited. I was referred to teach an association management company about social media, and they asked for a photographer referral so they could get their headshots also that day… Well, you’re in luck – I can do that too!

Why do employers do this? While I fully understand having job descriptions makes the Human Resources element of owning and running a business easier, I think more companies should be open to allowing their staff to color outside the lines.

People Matter

This is also why I believe companies should hire for the PERSON. If you meet a person who fits your company culture, but you don’t have a position they “fit within” at the time, why let that person get away? Hiring for a culture fit should be a priority because so often someone checks the boxes for appearing to be right for a job, but if they don’t fit in, you probably shouldn’t hire them.

Hire for the Person

When I interviewed for my first “real job” out of college they included a personality assessment. I made it through the in-person interviews well, and was told there was “this one more step.” If the assessment determined I wasn’t a fit for the group I’d be working with and around, I likely wouldn’t get the job… I was told it had happened before.

At the time I thought – wow, that’s harsh! I did get the job, and ultimately, I was given a copy of my results — they were fascinating. I still have that assessment many years later! I love to go backand read it, along with my performance reviews over the years, because they show a couple of things. First, they show how I haven’t changed personally, but it also shows how consistent I’ve been over the years. I now fully believe that assessment was a great tool because personal compatibility is crucial for teams to work well with each other, which ultimately makes for greatness in the organizations we work within.

I’ve also been on the end of the “didn’t get the job” after some pretty intense testing (think SATs all over again, but more cerebral than academic), and an interview with an occupational psychiatrist. Is that taking it a bit too far? Maybe. And I was crushed at the time because I felt like everything else in the process went well. Perhaps I wasn’t a good cultural fit for them, and I’m more understanding of that now.

Flying Solo

I consider from time-to-time whether I would like to work for someone else again. In fact, I got to thinking so much about it I started making a wish list of what would have to happen for me to take that step… it’s a pretty lofty list. The people I’ve had work for me over the years were hired because they were competent, but more than anything because we are compatible, and I know I can trust them.

Trust. That’s a big word in business, right? People do business with those they trust… and when we hire people we’re also trusting they will do a great job for us. What if you got that trust first, and then figured out how they could make a huge impact on your organization? Sounds like a great direction to go as far as hiring is concerned.

Finding good help is HARD. I’d love to see more organizations make it easier on themselves!