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Is it better to hire for values over culture? Why?

To help you determine whether it is better to hire for values over culture, we asked hiring experts and hiring managers this question for their best insights. From boosting performance with values to hiring for both, there are several viewpoints for you to consider when determining whether hiring for values or culture is a better approach for your business.

Fact or Fiction: Hiring for Culture Fit no Longer Reflects Reality

Here are nine viewpoints as to whether it is better to hire for values or for culture:

  • Boost Performance with Values
  • Find Someone Who Aligns with Your Company Through Culture
  • Create a Diverse Workplace with Values
  • Focus on Values to Create the Culture
  • Hire for Culture to Achieve Less Bias
  • Create a Lasting, Positive Impact With Values
  • Understand That Values Are Culture, But Quantified
  • Objectively Compare Candidates by Focusing on Values
  • Hire for Both

Boost Performance with Values

I believe it is preferable to hire for values rather than culture. Hiring for values boosts performance, improves collaboration, decreases turnover, boosts morale, and fosters a stable culture. For example, at my company, every individual is not the same. We all come from various cultures and backgrounds and we each have unique skill sets and work experiences.

Values are something that everyone shares. This is the key to developing an empowering culture that attracts top talent, inspires performance, and fuels endless possibilities. Hiring for values also provides a company with invaluable insight into an employee’s attitude, character, work ethic, integrity, dedication, and accountability.

Lana Truong, Professional Engineering and Construction Recruiter, Tech USA

Find Someone Who Aligns with Your Company Through Culture

The process from weeding out candidates on paper to in-person interviews to get an insight on who will be sharing a desk with those in your company is a task that should not be taken lightly. When you are looking for the next hire, you want to make sure the person you are going to offer the job to is a good fit for the position, but most importantly someone who aligns themselves with what your company stands for.

You may think that asking questions about their values and correlating them with your own would be the best fit for finding the right candidate, but that is not the case. To find someone who truly aligns with what your company is about, you want to look for someone who would be a perfect fit for your company culture. Hiring for culture is a great way to find those with common values as well.

Bill Lyons, CEO, Griffin Funding

Create a Diverse Workplace with Values

While it may seem appropriate to hire for cultural fit, you should be open-minded enough to avoid subconscious biases. When you hire for values, you can create a workplace with diversity and inclusion because people from different backgrounds can have similar fundamental values. It is also okay to consider culture fit as long as your idea of a culture fit is not too exclusive.

Miles Beckett, Co-Founder and CEO, Flossy

Focus on Values to Create the Culture

Values answer a crucial question: “What’s important to you?” They are acting like intrinsic motivators that don’t need much babysitting. If the values are strong and correlated with the direction you want to go with your company, then filtering them out will be one of the most effective ways to hire the right fit.

Cristina Imre, Executive Coach and Mentor, Quantum Wins

Hire for Culture to Achieve Less Bias

Companies are always looking for the team member who will be the ‘best fit’ based on culture or values. However, there is a danger of hiring based on values alone. Being surrounded by people with the exact same values creates an exclusive and cliquey working environment. The result will be limited discourse and a lack of creativity. Hiring based on culture will create a less biased workplace, be inclusive, and create a working environment that generates new ideas through open conversations.

Simon Bacher, Co-Founder and CEO, Simya Solutions

Create a Lasting, Positive Impact with Values

There’s no simple answer to the question of whether it’s better to hire for values or culture. Both are important factors to consider when building a strong team. However, values may be more important than culture when it comes to creating a lasting, positive impact within an organization.

While culture can be changed over time, values are more deeply ingrained and less likely to change. As such, hiring for values may create a more stable foundation upon which to build a strong culture. Furthermore, people with shared values are more likely to work well together and be committed to the same goals. For these reasons, hiring for values may be the best way to create a positive, lasting change within an organization.

David Gu, Founder, Neutypechic

Understand That Values Are Culture, But Quantified

When hiring teams talk about “culture”, they should be talking about organizational values instead. The problem with culture is that it is rarely properly defined, so measurements of cultural fit end up being based on impressions. If the interviewer doesn’t feel good chemistry with the candidate, the candidate gets labeled as a poor cultural fit. But the lack of chemistry with one interviewer is hardly a proper indicator of how the candidate would get along with the rest of the employees in that company.

With values, there are multiple widely-used frameworks to choose from that can be used to properly measure company culture, and in turn, the wanted candidate attributes. With proper methodology, candidates will get treated more fairly, and hiring decisions will be based on evidence rather than gut feeling.

Max Korpinen, Co-Founder and CEO,

Objectively Compare Candidates by Focusing on Values

Hiring candidates for values over culture is better because, in a value-based recruitment process, questions tend to be more open-ended, increasing the value of employment culture. A typical interview could turn into a formless affair and rambling. It lacks structure and tells hiring managers little about the candidates besides how they interact. But in value-based hiring, candidates are positioned to assist recruiters in finding out optimal behavioral and character traits. While crafted precisely, the questions are always the same for every applicant. This approach lets them objectively compare all candidates’ answers while eliminating the guesswork.

Shivanshi Srivastava, Marketing Specialist, PaydayLoansUK

Hire for Both

No, it’s not better to hire for values over culture. It’s important to hire people who share your company’s values and culture, but it’s also important to hire people who have the skills, attitude, and experience different from the rest of your team.

Values are important because they help you make decisions about who should be on your team and how they should act when they’re there, but if you only focus on hiring people with the same values as you, there’s a risk that all of your employees will think exactly alike—and that can lead to group-think and stagnation. There are times when you need someone with different perspectives or skills in order to grow your business so I think a good balance of both is essential in a good team.

Shaun Connell, Founder, Connell Media


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