Cultural Fit v Skills

There is an old adage; do we recruit for cultural fit or skills?

skillsWhy is addressing both the cultural fit and skills equally as important as one another? It’s simple. Trying to place a candidate that has the skills but not the cultural fit in your organisation is like trying to put the wrong key into the door. Whilst you may achieve short-term success, the employee is less likely to stay and work for your organisation. What does this mean? This means you have invested resources, money and time into training the employee, when the long-term investment is not there.

The same goes for the other situation, cultural fit over skills. Whilst the candidate may have the right personality or cultural fit for your team, if they lack the required skills, then you may find yourself training, or constantly training. Whilst we all have something to learn, knowing where the medium is between cultural fit and skills is critical to the success of your business, particularly in events where both are vital and time is of the essence in training and delivery.

At Catalyst we work very hard to ensure that the candidates we place meet the client’s needs for the role, and also that the candidate’s needs are met for what they are looking for in a client. We don’t just look for who can do the job, but who can fit and will be happy in the role. Our quick motto is ‘Can do, will do, will fit!’ Can do the job, is willing and wants to do the job and will fit in the team for the organisation. This is a pretty good analogy for ensuring the right match between client and candidate. A candidate must embody the values of the organisation as much as have the right skills for the role.

So how do you ensure that the candidate suits your organisation with the right cultural fit and skills? Here are 4 steps:

1. Know what you want in an employee/member of your team:
What skills, but also importantly what are the absolutes that you look for in that employee? Do they fit the team environment? Will they work with the people that are in the company at the moment?

2. Look at the skills you need for the role, and the ones that you are willing to train the employee for:
Whilst the candidate you search for needs to fit the majority of skills you require for the role, there are some skills you can train for, particularly technical or software skills. The question to ask is can these skills be trained.

3. Ask your current employees to assist with the recruitment process:
As your current employees know how the organisation works, who better to ask than your own employees! Get an understanding from them as to the skills they think would fit the team best and an understanding of cultural fit as well.

4. Utilise a recruitment agency:
At Catalyst we are here to help you find a candidate that suits your cultural fit and skills need. As recruitment agencies are constantly reviewing the market, when you are looking for a candidate, quite often the agency will be able to provide you with a candidate that suits your needs based on their market research, experience and up to date knowledge of the industry.

Finding a candidate that fits the cultural needs of your organisation and has the skills required for the role is critical. This will help you as a business in having the role not only delivered; but also having an employee that shares the mission of the company, creates profit, growth and importantly retains that knowledge within the business.

So when you are recruiting for your next team member, remember the importance of both! Cultural fit and skills are equally as important.

Kate Bidwell, Co-Founder & Managing Director
Catalyst Consulting & Events – proud Business Partner of the Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCO)