Why the wrong cultural fit can be a disaster

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Ensuring a potential employee is the right cultural fit for your organization is a key part of many recruitment processes – but is it always the most important? Here, HRM spoke to two award-winning employers who said it trumped skills and capability any day.

“You can go to the marketplace and you can recruit for capability, particularly in a leadership role, but if you get the wrong cultural fit, they can destroy a lot of hard work very, very quickly,” warned Leading Edge’s group CEO Struan Abernethy.

“We’d sooner recruit for the right profile than the right capability because you can develop capability,” he continued. “Of course we don’t always get it right because it’s not 100 per cent science but we are very focussed on it.”

The sales organization has been identified a number of times as one of New Zealand’s best workplaces – as has facilities management company Recreational Services.

Kim Ibberson is the HR manager at Recreational Services – she told HRM that the company has a specific “cultural interview” during the recruitment process.

“It’s a pretty robust recruitment process so we do obviously look for the skills and knowledge but more importantly the directors really look for fit,” she revealed.

“Because it’s a family-owned business, and has been now for 23 years, there really is that family-value so they want people that really fit with the values,” she explained.

Once a candidate has made it through the standard recruitment process, they’re then put through a “cultural interview,” which Ibberson says will be attended by at least one company director.

“They like to keep in touch, have their finger on the pulse and make sure that the right people are going into the right roles – that’s just a part of that family culture,” she added.

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