In recent years we have seen the rise of the importance of cultural fit when hiring a new team member, this is a serious consideration within Startups. Why? Because onboarding a new individual into your business or team immediately changes the dynamic and throws the team into a ‘forming’ and ‘storming’ stage. Also we must bear in mind that generally in a Startup the FD or FM will be working on their own or with a small team and if the fit is wrong then the team will never get to the “norming” and performing” stages.
Increasingly we are seeing FDs with the right levels of drive, entrepreneurial spirit and intelligence being hired even though they are not an ideal skills match. However it is essential that the candidate is a good cultural match for the fast paced culture of the business.
Within most start-ups and Venture backed businesses there will be a CEO and/or Non-Execs/Investors to inspire the team to move in the same direction and grow the business. These leaders will mentor a bright, ambitious and culturally aligned team through periods of ambiguity whilst empowering them with the responsibility they crave. In return the FD will be given a much wider remit of role; rather than moving to an established larger company where they may be working in a much narrower role.
Benefits of getting it right
If you hire someone who is a great cultural fit, who embodies your Startup culture, ethos and values – the chances are you will have an employee for the foreseeable future. Most employees want to progress their skill base, so if you hire culture and then train for skill, your new employee will be inspired, motivated and hopefully retained.
Can you train a value?
You guessed it; the answer nine times out of ten is a no. If you hire someone whose values, ethos or working belief system does not match that of the Startup then they are liable to not bond with the team or worse still, leave! Similarly, you should recruit for the position as much as culture, as the role probably requires autonomy, if you hire a live-wire who thrives in team situations, it’s probably not going to end well.
During the interview process you can probe and find out how a candidate wants to be managed, ask some competency based questions around your Startups values and culture, find out if you’re on the same wavelength.
In most cases your current team will champion a newbie who is a good cultural fit and will help them fit in with the rest of the team or business. Hiring for culture is hiring for the future of your team, with employees who will champion your business in the same way your CEO does.
How to spot a cultural fit in 5 points
When reviewing CVs or interviewing, consider these five things:
- Does their existing culture match your culture?
- Find out their ideal working environment
- Ask who inspires them and why? Role models generally indicate fit
- What motivates them and why?
- Ask them who their favourite boss was and why?
Will you hire for cultural fit? Given the choice between a candidate who is a cultural misfit with fantastic skills and a cultural fit but doesn’t quite have the skills, who would you go for? Comment below.
If you’re looking to hire more senior roles you can get in touch with Matthew directly here.