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Put down the resume and focus on cultural fit.

By Bill Kaiser, Senior Consultant

I just completed Angela Duckworth’s book, GRIT. I recommend the read as it’s a great reminder that character and perseverance trump talent in setting the successful apart. She warns that our preoccupation with talent (abilities, skills, experience, knowledge, intelligence, attitude, character, drive, etc.) can be harmful. By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. Specifically, we don’t pay enough attention to someone’s passion and perseverance – or grit.

At HPC, we too warn against the trap of being preoccupied with the resume (talent). As regular readers of this blog know, we stress the importance and necessity of selecting the right people – those that fit our culture (Step 3 – Fundamentals System™). Yes, there is a certain skill set, expertise, and experience outlined on a resume – and that certainly matters, but that information alone doesn’t paint the complete picture.

Now more than ever, especially in this tight labor market, we can’t afford to regularly miss when hiring new employees. We’re all aware of the massive expense associated with bad hires. While we’re not going to “bat a thousand” with new hires, we can certainly increase the likelihood of success and reduce our missed swings.

Finding the fit

Before we can hire a cultural fit, we need to be crystal clear on how we define our culture via the behaviors that drive our success (Step 1 – Fundamentals System™). You’ve read numerous times in our blogs how critical this first step is towards achieving a higher performing culture. Armed with a clearly defined culture, it’s a lot easier to find the people that will fit and excel in it. It’s important to note that we’re not talking about the difference between good and bad people, we’re talking about the difference between good and bad fits!

Avoid the desperation trap

While hiring a cultural fit makes perfect sense, there are still obstacles that interfere with our success. Most of the time, it’s desperation. We just lost a key performer to our competitor and need to replace her ASAP. We’ve landed several new large customers and we need to staff up, yesterday. You know the story. And it is here that we need to fire up our discipline muscle and fight the urge to make the quick hire versus the right hire.

In GRIT, Duckworth shares the Grit Scale – a test that, when taken honestly, measures the extent to which you approach life with grit. For you, it may be as simple as using the clearly defined culture you’ve created and finding those that possess and exhibit the behaviors that are so critical for your continued success.

If you’d like to learn more, shoot us an email or give us a call