Creative Leadership

Don’t Just Hire Based on Resumes. Hire Based on Your Culture.

Despite what you think, you don’t need an ace video editor. You need an ace video editor that fits into your team’s culture. The importance of the right cultural fit cannot be overstated. You’ve heard the phrase “culture is more important than vision?” Believe it. I know great organizations with a powerful and compelling vision, but their culture is horrible. It’s filled with distrust, criticism, bitterness, selfish leaders, and entitled employees. On the other hand, I’ve worked with organizations with low budgets, poor equipment, untrained people, and very little vision – but they had amazing chemistry and a wonderfully creative culture.

Guess who does better? Organizations with great cultures.

Likewise, no matter how talented your team may be, if they can’t fit into your culture, then you’re setting the team up for failure.

The lesson? When hiring, think “culture” as much as talent, resume, experience, and skill. Think about the chemistry of your existing team and how well the new person will fit into that culture.

Now – there are certain situations where you’d like the chemistry to result in an explosion, so you bring in a new hire with the specific purpose of shaking things up. (But that’s another blog post.)

But in most situations, if you have a solid team in place, make sure any new members fit into that culture. Believe me – it’s far more important than you think.

I’d love to hear your experiences. Have you seen a talented new hire that damaged your team’s culture? What was the result?

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

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12 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Hiring just on skill is only 1/2 of the equation. The person can have the skills but not blend with the team or company culture and that just isn’t’ going to work. Also, if I have hired someone who fits in first with the culture and may not have the skills fullly, but can be trained. I will go that right in a heart beat.

  2. I work in an environment (higher education) in which there’s an enormous culture of fear and what I call Jethro Tull (Living in the past). it’s a problem with hiring, in that what do you tell the new hire?

    1. Ha! Great question. I’m a big believer in being honest. If they know what they’re getting into, and they still choose to do it, so be it. It’s their decision. But I do believe that people should know if they’re walking into a toxic culture – or a culture living in the past. I know your points are true in much of academia, and it’s sad that institutions that should be inspiring and motivating to young people are so stuck in the past.

  3. Sometimes, I think desperation sets in when an open position has remained unfilled for a long period of time. It makes us ignore the importance of our organization’s culture for the immediate need for someone to fill the duties of the missing position regardless of their ability to fit in.

    “Hire slow!”

    It is tremendously important not to fall to the temptation of filling the position just because the candidate tics all the boxes on the qualification side. I have learned the hard way that there’s not too many positions that cannot be filled on a part-time or contract basis just to get over the hump of a busy season. In most professions, the independent contractor/freelance base is rich in talent and often times will save money in the long run just because you did hire wrong.

    1. Very well said Mark. I love the phrase: “Hire slow, but fire fast.” Acting out of desperation is a terrible place to make decisions. Thanks for bringing that up!

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