Recruiting Good Talent Stumps Many MBAs, CEOs and Entrepreneurs – But It Is Necessary

The recruitment and retention of talented and driven employees can be a difficult proposition for even the most pedigreed business leaders. In today’s post, Julianna Davies, a writer for the resource MBAonline, argues that this problem often has less to do with a candidate’s skills and experience and more to do with their fit within the company’s culture. Julianna notes that companies with high retention rates promote their company’s culture along with its employment opportunities, suggesting that a clear description of the culture will attract strong talent who thrive within such an environment, a topic explored back in 2008 by the HR Marketer Blog.

While every serious business leader hopes and works for their company's success, too many neglect one of the primary steps toward long-term business success: hiring ideal employees. Of course, all recruiters want to find the great employees, but while searching for most skilled people with the most impressive resumes, recruiters often fail to hire employees that work together effectively in their respective company cultures.

A company culture consists of the shared values, practices and ideals of the members of a company's management and employees. While easy to overlook, most successful entrepreneurs insist on the importance of a solid shared culture, as cultural beliefs play an important role in defining perception within and outside of an organization. “A culture's effectiveness depends on an organization's business market, strategies and workforce,” says Steven Hunt,   PhD and writer for “Companies that take culture seriously actively market their culture to candidates. This attracts people who will thrive in the organization and repels people who would be more effective working elsewhere.”

While a good cultural fit can be a boon for a company, a poor fit can be a disaster. In a paper co-authored by Wharton School associate professor of management Nancy Rothbard in 2009 that examined the hiring practices at an insurance firm, poor cultural fit negated the positive qualities of experience and talent by employees.“Cultural fit is incredibly important on a candidate's abilities to use his skills,” says Rothbard. “You have a positive effect through skills, but culture completely cancels that out.”

So how do recruiters find employees who fit within their culture? A study by  human resource consulting firm Development Dimensions International and online recruiting resource Electronic Recruiting Exchange recently revealed that the most successful organizations use very specific hiring practices. By regularly asking interview candidates to describe specific examples of their skills and using assessments that predict whether a candidate is motivated by the company's culture and values, organizations regularly ranked higher in financial performance, productivity, quality and employee satisfaction and retention. Drafting and advertising open positions with detailed job descriptions has also been an effective strategy for firms to find candidates with skill for the specific tasks they will be required to perform as well as passion for the company's goals.

In a McKinsey Quarterly article, executive chairman at Google Eric Schmidt discusses the importance of hiring to maintain a focused and innovative company culture. Schmidt insists recruiting managers should spend a lot of time evaluating technical qualifications as well as passion and commitment in new hires. He also suggests five interviews before hiring, though no more than eight, as that can be overwhelming and might discourage some of the strongest talent. Companies with strong, admired respective cultures often reap economic benefits even before hiring begins. A recent study found that college students would accept an average of 7% less starting pay to work for companies with cultures they value and appreciate.

Before a growing company can begin to fill positions, company leaders should be sure to have a focused idea of the culture best suits their goals and how to attain it. Once a company's ideals are in place, the hiring of candidates that set up an organization for long-term success increases dramatically. By hiring employees who are not only talented and intelligent, but who are able to align with the goals of a company, the dedication and innovation that every employer dreams of becomes a very real possibility. 

Post written by guest blogger Julianna Davies. Julianna's postings are her own and don't necessarily represent the opinions of HRmarketer or other staff members.