Culture Fit & Hiring

There was a lively round table discussion at the recent CFO Corporate Finance Excellence conference in Dallas last week about hiring and retaining top talent. It’s a big issue. It’s an expensive issue. And it’s an area many companies get wrong a majority of the time.

Led by Andi Jennings, CEO of the Lucas Group, there were quite a few interesting points that came out of the discussion.

Rejected by HR and ATS!
Rejected by HR and ATS!

A great one-liner … like hiring with HR and ATS. And the story she used to back it up was of the Wall Street Journal VP of Finance who sent his resume through the ATS of Wall Street Journal only to have it rejected. True or not, there is much data to support the ineffectiveness of applicant tracking systems and the use of job postings. And they certainly do NOT facilitate hiring for fit with culture.

Andi went on to say that she rejected her current CFO four times based on his resume … which pointed to his youth. When she faced the four final candidates put in front of her for the final say, she ended up hiring him. He was right for the company and right for their culture.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal summarized some of the findings from its second annual CFO network meeting. Chief among the recommendations included …

The top priority for attendees was to create an innovative environment at their companies by “getting the culture and talent right.”

What does that mean for you, a Chief Financial Officer candidate? A few things. It means that …

– When you are well-branded, your fit for culture precedes you. It helps to pull the right culture-fit opportunities your way.

– You are clear about where you fit within a defined culture, and you can clearly see throughout the interview process whether you are a fit within that company’s culture.

– When you head into the final round of interviews as a Top 3 (or 4) Candidate, the ONLY question left for you to answer is likability. Culture fit is off the table for you, perhaps not for the other candidates.

– You are in the best position to negotiate the highest compensation package, because the company already knows you can do the job (skills), you fit with the culture, and they like (want / need) you.

Being visibly branded is a big advantage in today’s “fit-for-culture” economy. And culture fit is so critically important that it is only going to become an increasingly bigger factor in the hiring process going forward … whether you are doing the hiring or your goal is to be hired.

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4 thoughts on “Culture Fit & Hiring”

  1. Cindy,

    Your likeability comment made me think about a post I read somewhere (for all I know it was yours!) that boiled the job search down to answering three essential questions: 1) can you do the job? 2) will you like doing the job? and 3) will we like working with you?

    They say you can pass 7 +/- 2 items from short-term to long-term memory, so I liked that approach because even if my brain capacity is only 5, with 3 questions I have room left over for something else.


    Dave W.


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