I recently called an executive about someone who had worked for him in the past. I was seeking feedback on this person as a potential candidate for a search I was leading for another client. My executive friend was candid as always, explaining to me this individual’s strengths and weaknesses. The overall feedback was positive.
After thanking him for his transparency and for trusting me with his honest feedback, I asked: “If this person was pretty solid, then how did they get away from you?” He simply said, “Sometimes players just need to be traded. When someone gets traded, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad player. They just need a different team dynamic.”
After we finished our call, I took a moment to reflect on his wisdom. Once again, a sports analogy saves the day. Good players get traded all the time, often to everyone’s benefit. I’m in Indianapolis. Victor Oladipo was a solid player for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was traded to the Indiana Pacers, and had the best season of his career [by far]. Different team dynamic.
Chemistry and cultural fit are 70% of a hiring decision. Yet most companies are pretty lousy at actually being able to discern those elements. They treat the interview process more like a beauty contest. One of the best things you can do is build a process for discerning chemistry and cultural fit. Gut feel and instincts are important. But you need more than that. Odds are that you don’t hire frequently enough to have well-developed skills in this area. Job candidates certainly don’t change jobs enough to make it easy for you, either.
Does your organization need help in the area of discernment? Reach out; I’d love to share some best practices with you.