The importance of employee compatibility is indisputable. In a progressive business world many companies are more inclined to hire for emotional intelligence over IQ. Why is this the latest recruitment trend? The debate will continue for years to come, however, in short: hard skills can be taught whilst a candidate's attitude and values are embedded in their individuality.
The need to align hiring with company values
"Your workplace is like a well oiled machine. If one piece of equipment does not function accordingly, the whole machine will begin to malfunction".
There are no wrong or right soft skills, they are only suitable or unsuitable. The suitable soft skills and emotional intelligence will depend entirely on the company values and existing employees.
Why is it important?
Imagine this situation: you hire someone with unsuitable soft skills, (such as communication skills, attitude and behavior), but they have perfect hard skills. They’ve had the desired experience and the necessary exposure to the industry to know how to effectively target your market and convert leads into profit.
Sounds incredible, right? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, your ‘ideal candidate’ causes conflict amongst existing team members by having an unsuitable attitude and does not effectively communicate with the managers and executives about their progress and activities, which causes frustration and unproductive efforts.
Your options are to a) hope the disruption isn’t permanent, or b) let them go on their probation period and rehire someone more suitable for the established workplace culture.
Mishiring is a consequential recruitment risk that HR, managers, and executives strive to avoid. The money wrongly invested in recruitment, not to mention the time of the employees, and the time the position stays vacant, significantly impacts the progression of the business.
So, if you have to pick between a candidate that upholds your company values but has less experience, and a candidate that has great experience but doesn’t represent the company beliefs and core values, it’s seemingly wiser to pick the first.
The rationale behind this stems from the first candidate having a greater chance of progressing with the company (we all love retention). They can develop their hard skills based on the company protocols and requirements, their positive attitude motivates them to work hard and do well. They will also accurately represent the company’s values and will work well in collaborative tasks. This is essential for a close knit or high intensity workplace environment.
How do I ensure I hire the right candidate?
In your recruitment process, you as a HR professional need to ensure you’re using the appropriate tools that provide objective insights into the potential of your candidate. The human mind is a powerful tool, but also a very subjective tool. Previous experiences and developed schemas often lead us to believe what we want to believe rather than presented facts. We see what we want to see based on stimuli that is presented to us – this is where misalignment becomes prevalent.
In HR this can lead to costly recruitment errors if you let it. You risk missing great opportunities and making prejudiced decisions. This is where technology comes into play and offers an objective perspective that reveals considerable insights. Let’s go through a few of many options.
1. Video interviews
This tool is becoming increasingly popular and incredibly useful in cutting recruitment costs and reducing the time to hire. Undeniably these outcomes are great, however, this tool offers what no human can – a third dimension of the candidate. Video interviews are 30 seconds – one minute long. Let me clarify, a video interview is not a live interview, live interviews are conducted in real time (such as Zoom or Google Meets interviews). Video interviews are pre-recorded video answers submitted by candidates with their applications and alongside their resumes and cover letters. By utilising video interviews, within a few minutes HR (or the recruiter) gains extensive knowledge about the candidates; soft skills, emotional intelligence, personality traits, behaviour and potential.
Prior to phone screening activities the individual responsible for hiring has watched the candidate present themselves, listened to how they communicate, and can determine whether they uphold the values of the company. Therefore ensuring the candidates who are contacted are a suitable match to the workplace culture.
Video interviews are also shareable, so all those with access are able to view the same stimuli and make notes, then reflect and discuss unanimous and divided thoughts. This process influences quality candidates to be spotlighted, as well as encouraging collaboration and productivity amongst HR, managers and executives.
2. Psychometric talent assessment
There are many strategies and protocols involved in talent assessment. A CV can be as fictitious as the writer's imagination, but there’s no faking a talent assessment.
Talent assessment methods include work simulations, problem solving tests and structure (or unstructured) interviews. Whilst these reveal the hard skills of the candidate, psychometric talent assessments are used to understand whether the potential new hire will share the same cultural values.
Psychometric talent assessments are based on behavioural science, and reveal personality traits of an individual based on personality frameworks (such as the Big Five framework). By understanding the core values of your business, (such as your EVP), and what traits best compliments the cultural environment, HR is able to better determine suitable candidates from unsuitable candidates.
There are three traditional psychometric talent assessment methods: an online questionnaire, a test and the reactors channel. Whilst you want to align your company values with new hires, you also want to ensure you’re using the correct methods and conducting the research in an affordable manner. This is where AI has aided businesses to conduct objective assessments, without breaking the bank and elongating the recruitment process.
These are two of many tools available to you that service aligning new hire values with the existing brand values. This isn’t to say you must disregard any candidate that isn’t funny enough, or isn’t loud enough, this article is a guide in how to hire with caution.
Your workplace is like a well oiled machine. If one piece of equipment does not function accordingly, the whole machine will begin to malfunction, which ultimately negatively impacts the actual output (in comparison to the potential output).
Here are your takeaway questions to use in your hiring process:
- How well do I know their attitude and personality?
- Would they elevate the established departments harmony?
- What hard skills do they lack? How hard are they to learn? How long would it take?
- Are these thoughts subjective or objective? What does the HR team think?
Work smarter, and not harder!
About the author
Perry Timms is the Founder & Chief Energy Officer of PTHR, with 30+ yrs experience in people, learning, technology, organisation change & transformation. His personal mission is to see more people flourish through their work, and help shift organizations as a force for societal good (not just profit machines). PTHR's mission is defined as "Better Business for a Better World". In October 2017, his first book, Transformational HR - was published by Kogan Page and the Energized Workplace published in August 2020. He was an extremely proud new entrant to the list of HR Most Influential Thinkers for 2017 and again in 2018 + 2019 (in the top 10 both years).