It’s a recruiting challenge faced by most aware organisations – balancing the immediate productivity of a candidate with a highly relevant skill set against the long-term potential of another who is a better cultural fit with the team. The answer as always, depends….
“You’ll find proponents of both sides arguing their cases,” says Melinda Fell, of the eponymous Melinda Fell Consulting, a boutique C-Level executive placement firm operating in the financial and associated sectors.
“There are some who say that competence trumps all. The inference being that cultural fit can somehow be gained by osmosis, through exposure to the behaviours and attitudes of their team mates and the rest of the organisation.
“However, an increasing number of experts argue that the cultural fit, as expressed by a candidate’s behaviours, values and attitudes is much harder to change than it is to develop a skill set.
The answer it seems, as it so often does, depends on a few factors, in no particular order, these include:
The nature of your culture
Not surprisingly, not all organisational cultures are as good as they could be. A bit of cultural diversity could be just what you need to drive change – in a positive direction
The degree of fit or competence
Assessing the levels of cultural fit and competence of two or more candidates can be difficult. The results are seldom black and white, the nuances can drive a successful decision
The nature of the role
Some roles are more culture – dependent – think for instance of those demanding team work under pressure – while others rely more on skills – perhaps the archetypal nerd, punching out lines of code from a remote computer.
The age and stage of your company
Young and start up organisations often have a less mature and established culture (more accommodating to outliers) and a more immediate need to maximise productivity
The four examples above, while not in any way comprehensive, demonstrate the complexity of decision making considering these variables. And it’s not a situation that only faces corporate employers. Sports teams often have highly publicised situations in which they gain or lose highly skilled players in exchange for others thought to be a better cultural fit.
“The answer is different for every situation,” says Melinda.
“The encouraging thing is that we are even raising the question. In the past, skills and experience would have won every time, but now alert recruiters and employers are recognising the value of cultural fit and the many benefits to be gained by including it in the decision-making matrix.
Like to find out more – contact Melinda to discuss your current hiring needs email: firstname.lastname@example.org.