It’s been said that voters tend to choose the presidential candidate with whom they would most like to share a beer. Known as the ‘beer factor,’ it really drills down to on the most simple and earnest tenets of human nature: people like and support others who make them feel comfortable and seem to share common ground. Likeability often plays prominently in hiring decisions, too. It’s only natural to want to hire the guy who laughed at your jokes, or the woman who shares your passion for hockey, or just the candidate with whom you had an easy, comfortable rapport during the interview. After all, we spend a lot of time with our colleagues in the office (and sometimes over the occasional beer), so it is important that a candidate’s personality meshes well with the company culture. But cultural fit is only one part of the employee assessment equation, and it’s important to weigh other factors to ensure the best hire overall.
Ideally, the potential hire evaluation will consist of three elements: cultural fit, credentials, and a non-biased assessment. This formula helps to balance subjective qualities, such as likeability and fit, with more objective measures, so that your evaluation of candidates is well rounded and informed.
Credentials – Credentials such as education, experience, and job-related skills are crucial to keyword scanning; candidate credentials can generally be filtered in the first phase of recruitment while sorting through resumes. But be sure to ask probing questions during the interview process about past experience and skill competence level. What looks good on paper does not always translate to the real world. Having a candidate elaborate on past experience or how they plan to use their knowledge in a potential new role can help you determine if their credentials can help your company achieve their goals.
Cultural Fit – Cultural fit often boils down to beliefs and behaviors and is usually evaluated at the gut level. You will want to ask yourself “How well does this person fit in with the rest of the team?” Fit is best understood when you consider a specific candidate within the context of your organization’s culture. A potential employee may express and exhibit the characteristics, language, and values that exist within the organizational culture, or quite simply they will not. The potential hire whose values, beliefs, outlook and behavior are congruent with those existing within the current organization is likely to be a good fit.
Critical Assessment – An unbiased assessment is the most overlooked, but equally important aspect of candidate screening. Generally administered by an outside party, such as a talent management firm, an objective assessment provides a critical neutral perspective on a candidate’s eligibility. The Organizational Analysis and Design Survey™ (OAD™) is an assessment tool that measures seven work related Personality Traits and seven perceptions of how an individual believes they must behave in their job. This assessment measures and valifates competencies along with strengths and development areas, and provides companies with external views on the candidates to be hired or promoted. Since hiring managers are only human, sometimes the ‘beer factor’ or a stellar resume can have an overly potent affect on the hiring decision. The OAD™, which meets the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is administered by an impartial third-party and it helps to balance the effect of personal bias and subjective measures in the selection process.
John Daugherty is the managing partner of Career Partners International - Kansas City and serves on the Board of Managers for Career Partners International. He is a business executive and entrepreneur with expertise in organizational assessment/development, team building, performance management, career transition, succession planning, and career planning.