March 31, 2011 / 1:08 PM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Hiring for cultural fit

A businessman (R) glances at other men through a work of outdoor art in Tokyo April 2, 2007. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Skills don’t tell the whole story of a job candidate. Instead, every organization needs employees who mesh with its core values and principles, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“Many hiring experts recommend hiring for fit first and skills second. The theory is that you can teach capabilities, but not values. And, organizations need employees who mesh with their core values.

Here are three ways to assess whether an applicant will mesh well with yours:

1. Observe interactions. Candidates can tell you they hold the firm’s values, but it’s far better if they can show you. Ask interviewees to participate in group exercises or interact with employees to test whether they demonstrate those values in an almost-real-life situation.

2. Be clear about your culture. Be open and honest about what it’s really like inside your organization. Some candidates will self-select out if they feel they can’t fit in.

3. Interview for values separately. When possible, assess for values with a distinct process. You will likely learn something you would’ve missed if you were trying to screen for values and skills simultaneously.”

-Today’s management tip was adapted from “How My Company Hires for Culture First, Skills Second” by Alan Lewis.

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