In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.
When I started my career, I tended to hire based off a resume, rather than taking the time to understand whether that employee would fit our company culture.
When searching for new employees, I spent a lot of time looking at where someone went to school, where they had worked, and all the other typical pedigree and resume values that you look for in a candidate. Those things are certainly important data points, but what you really want to measure is the candidate – their character, their values, how they fit for a particular job.
Unfortunately, I didn’t consider that when a few years ago I hired a key executive at a senior level for the company. This gentleman had a great resume. He went to a great graduate school; he had worked at one of my largest competitors. Everything looked like a good match. But when he came on board, I had to let him go after months because the role ended up being wrong for him. His work ethic inevitably began lacking and the attitude just simply wasn’t there.
“Even if someone has a great resume, a solid team is going to reject that person if they’re not able to collaborate.”
When hiring, ask yourself whether the position you have open matches this person’s career goals and where they’re at on their career path. Those considerations are much more important than hiring people with great resumes. I’ve done that, but then the fit was wrong, or they lacked some important values, whether it was work ethic or integrity.
What you’ve accomplished in your career is certainly a huge factor, but one of the big things that I try and understand about a candidate are their core values and future goals. Is this person going to fit the company culture, are they going to contribute to the company culture? Even if someone has a great resume, a solid team is going to reject that person if they’re not able to collaborate. A candidate might be very smart and incredibly capable, but the organization could just reject that person. I personally look for a culture fit at the very top of my criteria.
So I think early on, emphasize the value of a resume but don’t underemphasize the candidate’s character, their motivation, or their reason for a particular job role. Those are things I measure much more closely now.