That new pair of shoes in the store looks just right for you. As you pick them up you are enamored of their feel and look. You can easily visualize how perfect those shoes will appear on you. Without restraining your excitement you try them on. They look even better on your feet than you imagined. As you stride around the store, admiring the look in the multiple mirrors you try to ignore the discomfort you feel on your feet. You chalk up the feel to the shoe’s newness. You tell yourself “Once they get broke in they’ll be fine.” But they aren’t… They just don’t fit.
Have you had the same experience in hiring people in your organization? You’re excited about the look and feel of a candidate on the resume and in the interview. You believe they’ll be great in your organization. But the discomfort starts once they are onboard. You chalk up the discomfort to “newness”. You tell yourself “Once they get broke in they’ll be fine.” But they don’t. They just don’t fit.
Shoes that don’t fit make your feet sore. It’s easy to change shoes. People that don’t fit in your organization create more problems than sore feet. Organizational culture suffers. There is almost always a negative financial impact. It’s difficult and often traumatic changing people in your organization. You’ve got to do better than depending on intuition or hunches to determining the fit of candidates coming into your organization.
Your corporate values can help you determine fit. Your values should be more than words on a plaque or slogans a website. Values determine behaviors and attitudes. Behaviors and attitudes determine fit. Determine what behaviors and attitudes demonstrate each value. Write them down. Celebrate them. Be clear and consistent in reinforcing these preferred behaviors and attitudes across the organization.
Determine if the candidates you consider share your values by first looking for candidates’ behaviors and attitudes that demonstrate your values. Ask them to tell you stories about their past work and look for these behaviors and attitudes. Ask them directly what they value. Ask them how they demonstrate those values. Have a system to figure out to what extent each candidate shares your values.
Since values are much harder to change than skills, use the values filter early in the selection process. Doing this well in both your selection process and in your performance management processes will make your organization much more comfortable.
And as much as you like those uncomfortable shoes, put them back on the shelf in the store. You won’t want to wear them when you get them home.
This is the third piece in our three-part series: “Hire and Inspire Great People that Fit!”