The Science and the Art of Expansion-Stage Hiring: The Importance of Company Culture
I recently read an article from Forbes titled “Seven Things a Headhunter Won’t Tell You,” and though I disagree with the majority of it (I won’t go into that right now) the author does mention something worth pointing out:
“Recruiting is part science and part art.”
Let’s break down that statement:
Science: work skills and job experience
Art: motivation, attitude, and behaviors
The best employees need to have a balance of the science and the art, and that balance is dependent on the position and company. We know why the science is vital to be successful, but what about the art? Why do these attributes matter? The simple answer: Company culture.
Company culture is essentially how things are done in a company. It is built on a few components: values, relationships, attitudes, environments, and behaviors. In hiring, it’s important employees’ own art fit in with these intangibles. Employees need to buy-in to the company culture because their behaviors directly affect it.
In today’s competitive marketplace, company culture is a competitive advantage. We hear it from candidates and hiring managers alike: “What’s the culture like?” “We are passing because [insert candidate name] is not a cultural fit.”
As you scale your headcount you need to identify and outline your company culture. When hiring, be clear when describing your company culture and set the correct expectations. Illustrate the overall culture as well as specific team dynamics and management style. Different people excel in different types of cultures — don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Be sure to do your due diligence when recruiting to ensure candidates have proven success in both the science and the art. The science is straight-forward, the art takes a bit more digging. Attributes can be picked up on simply during the interview process, but that is often not enough. Hiring a candidate is a huge investment for an expansion-stage company, so be sure to do your homework. Ask both direct and behavioral interview questions to get a better understanding of the candidate’s behaviors. Also, don’t forget to use references to your advantage. A former manager and/or colleague can give you a clear picture of a candidate’s behaviors, motivations and attitude, so be sure to focus your reference checking on both the science and the art.