Why You Should Hire for Culture Fit, Not School Credentials

Posted by Chris Daniels on Jan 5, 2016 6:04:00 PM
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Degrees and outstanding college transcripts have long been criteria for determining quality of  hire. Today, many experts say that good grades and Ivy League credentials can no longer accurately predict job performance.


“It’s one of the flaws in how we assess people,” says Laszlo Bock, Vice President of People Operations at Google Inc. “We assume that if you went to Harvard, Stanford or MIT that you are smart. We assume that if you got good grades you will do well at work… there is no relationship between where you went to school and how you did five, 10, 15 years into your career. So, we stopped looking at it.”

A growing number of organizations have since followed suit in trying to understand why education may not be a valid predictor for determining whether employees can perform well in a given work environment. If your people constantly argue over who knows best how things should be done based on education and experience, nothing will ever get done.

If competency-based hiring is becoming obsolete, how do we, as hiring managers, determine whether a candidate has potential to effectively perform in the organization? The answer lies in the company culture and the employee’s ability to adapt and thrive in complex and often ambiguous work settings. Because, at the end of the day, the way people relate to each other is what matters the most.

In 2013, Google conducted extensive research which confirmed that the secret to creating high-performing teams is less in the individual contributions of each team member and more in the wider group dynamics. Based on Google’s research, we feel that answering these three questions about your company culture will help you get one step closer to finding the right candidates:

Is your team psychologically safe?

“Psychological Safety” is a characteristic that determines whether an employee feels respected, valued, and safe when taking a risk of expressing a new idea or proposing a non-traditional solution to a problem. This sort of vulnerability is the main foundation of a strong team. In a psychologically unsafe environment, people are often afraid to share their ideas because they don’t want to be misunderstood or harshly judged.

Can we depend on each other, even when working under pressure?

Dependability is an essential element of collaboration which leads to building great relationships. If fellow employees see each other as consistent performers who show no less than their best effort, they will lean on each other more even in the most stressful situations.

Are company vision and goals clear to everybody?

Every team member has to have a clear set of goals, roles, and plans that accurately reflect the overall company vision. The inability to relay clearly defined values leads to confusion. If your employees don’t understand the values and goals of the company and aren’t able to see the big picture, they are likely to make decisions that fall out of alignment, which in turn leads to confusion and failure to attain goals.

Since all organizational aspects are interconnected and the actions of individual employees directly impact the direction in which your company is going, it’s important to understand the intricate details of the existing relationships first and then evaluate your potential candidates against these characteristics. At the end of the day, effective collaboration and strong culture is what determines the success of your team, and not your staff’s level of credentials.

Eager to learn more about culture-based hiring? Request a trial of our culture-matching engine and experience the power of building a strong team!



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Topics: culture fit, culture-based hiring, team building

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