Have you wondered, what happens when a business takes a shortcut and hires an employee with, let’s say, the “right” skills or experience… but who doesn’t fit the culture? Just one bad hire can create a wave of negativity that washes over every other employee – and as a result, your entire business.

Unfortunately the interest on culture debt is extremely high: In some cases you will never pay off the debt you incur, even when a culture misfit is let go or leaves.

Here are five all-too-common ways you can create a culture debt that can keep your from building from succeeding.

 

1. You see the ivy and miss the poison

The skilled salesperson who in the short-term always seems to outperform her peers… but who also maneuvers and manipulates and builds kerosene-soaked bridges just waiting to go up in flames… won’t turn into a relationship building, long-term focused ambassador for your company just because you hire her.


The interview process is a little like a honeymoon. You see the best the candidate has to offer. If a prospective employee doesn’t look like a great fit for your culturebefore he is hired, he definitely won’t be after he’s hired.

Never risk making a deal with the culture-fit devil. The soul of your company is at stake.

 

2. You discard the attitude and play the skill card

Skills and experience are worthless when not put to use. Knowledge is useless when not shared with others.

The smaller your business the more likely you are to be an expert in your field, so transferring those skills to new employees is relatively easy. But you can’t train enthusiasm, a solid work ethic, and great interpersonal skills – and those traits can matter a lot more than any skills a candidate brings.

According to this study only 11% of the new hires that failed in the first 18 months failed due to deficiencies in technical skills. The majority failed due to lack of motivation, an unwillingness to be coached, or problems with temperament and emotional intelligence.

Think of it this way: The candidate who lacks certain hard skills might be a cause for concern, but the candidate who lacks the beliefs and values you need is a giant culture debt red flag.



3. You try to sell a used car

It’s tempting to over-sell a candidate on your company, especially when you desperately need to fill an open position and you’ve been recruiting for seemingly forever.

Don’t. Great candidates come prepared. They’ve done their homework. They already know whether your company is a good fit for them.

Describe the position, describe your company, answer every question, be candid and forthright, let your natural enthusiasm show through… and let the candidate make an informed decision. But, don’t oversell.

The right candidates recognize the right opportunities – and the right cultural fit.

4. You mistake the rumblings for hunger

Nothing beats a formal, thorough, comprehensive hiring process… except, sometimes, a dose of intuition and gut feel.

There are five key attributes that you should value:

Humble. They’re modest despite being awesome. They’re self-aware and respectful.
Effective. They get (stuff) done. They measurably move the needle and immeasurably add value.
Adaptable. They’re constantly changing, life-long learners.
Remarkable. They have a super-power that makes them stand out: Remarkably smart, remarkably creative, remarkably resourceful…
Transparent. They’re open and honest with others – and with themselves.

Think of it this way: The more experience you have – the more lumps you’ve taken and hard knocks you’ve received and mistakes you’ve made – the more “educated” your “gut.” While you should never go on intuition alone, if you have a funny feeling about a candidate… see that as a sign you need to look more closely.

Bottom line: Define the intangibles you want in your employees and never compromise by hiring a candidate who lacks those qualities.

 

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