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Culture Vs. Skills: What You Should Focus On When Hiring

Do Culture Or Skills Matter More

When Hiring?

When hiring, it’s easy to focus on the skills and experience your next employee needs. But many companies are overlooking a key part of the hiring process – screening for culture.

By neglecting to talk to potential employees about the business, its goals and environment, companies are committing a costly mistake.

Hiring employees that are a poor cultural fit leads to turnover that costs companies between 50-60% of that employee’s annual salary, writes Katie Bouton on Harvard Business Review’s site.

According to an article on, one insurance company found that when departments aligned with the company’s stated culture, they had 30% less turnover.

Focusing on culture can also impact an organization’s budget. A study found that college students accepted an average of 7% less starting pay to work for a business whose culture they appreciated, according to

While a candidate’s capabilities and experience will always be an important part of the hiring process, screening for cultural fit is a crucial part of finding the best talent.

Here are a few key tips from professional staffing agencies to help companies screen for culture when hiring:

Define Your Company’s Key Characteristics

To find the people who’ll best fit in your organization, the hiring team needs to understand what are its defining characteristics. For start-ups, a sense of entrepreneurship or creative thinking may be key, while for other companies, it may be a sense of community service and social responsibility.

Ultimately, “cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that make up your organization,” Bouton writes on

What Work Style Is Most Effective?

If your company follows a very rigid, top-down structure, hiring a candidate who’s looking for an open, collaborative environment isn’t the right choice. Similarly, talk to candidates about whether they’ll be working with their colleagues in an office every day or if they’ll be working remotely with teams across the globe. Do they need the instant feedback that an office offers or do they need a quiet space where they can focus?

Also, consider their personality. Are they a quiet introvert who prefers to work alone? Or do they thrive off the energy of a dynamic team approach? Factoring in their work style and preferred environment will help you select an employee who will be engaged and successful in your organization.

Invite Them Into The Office

If possible, bring your top candidates into the office for a visit, Bouton suggests in the HBR article. As they tour the office, give them a chance to speak with the other members of the team in both formal and informal settings. After the visit, gather feedback from the team and the candidate. The best candidates will feel comfortable in the environment and connect with their potential colleagues.

Incorporating culture into your hiring requirements is an excellent way to improve employee satisfaction and lower personnel costs by reducing turnover. Finding an experienced professional staffing agency can help provides the services you need to transform your hiring process.

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