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Recruiting for skills or culture fit?

When I help people to recruit, I start with a job analysis.  I gather all the relevant people together and ask them lots of questions to find out more about the kind of post they want to fill.  That’s the first part and it’s normally quite easy to get people to make decisions on what they want the person to do in the company.  They find that part of the process relatively straightforward because it’s all about tasks and responsibilities and setting expectations.

Once we’ve done that part, I then ask them to think about the kind of person they want to hire.  That’s the hard part.  All too often recruiters focus on the experience and skills that a person must have but they find it challenging to think about personality traits they’d like to find or encourage.  I think that’s partly down to a lack of real understanding about the company’s culture.  If you can’t define the company’s culture then you don’t know what traits to look for or to avoid in a person joining the team.

That doesn’t mean that you want to end up with identikit staff who all have the same thoughts, opinions and attitudes.  How boring and frustrating would that be to have a bunch of “yes” men and women who agree with everything the boss says and never challenge anything?

What it does mean is having indepth knowledge of the kind of culture you want to create and foster in the company.  If customer service is important to you (and let’s face it, it should be), then make sure you recruit people who take customer service seriously.  Even more seriously than you do.

Just how do you find those people?  The kind of attitudes you’re looking for may go along with experience in your industry but they’re not a given.  They’re not automatically assimilated after an arbitrary number of years of selling or being technical or being a good administrator.  I’ve met great administrators who are working as PAs because they have the requisite amount of administration experience.  Their attitude stinks though.

Finding the attitude and personality you need starts with knowing what you need.  Once you know that you can recruit for it by asking the right questions and heaven forbid, using your instinct in interview (more on this in another post).  Of course it helps if the person can demonstrate the ability to do the job – you won’t need to invest quite so much in training.  However, if that person can’t demonstrate that they will fit into the culture of your company, no amount of investment in training is going to change that.

Recruiting for skills and experience is a good start and may get you the right person.  Recruiting for attitude and culture fit will get you the right person for your company.

For help to recruit the right person for your company, give us a call on 01487 815720.

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