Find the Best by Being the Best – Cox Purtell

Find the Best by Being the Best

Australian businesses, for the most part, are currently operating in a candidate driven job market. This makes it more important than ever for Australian companies to build skilled, loyal workforces.

LinkedIn statistics indicate that identifying and recruiting highly skilled talent is the top priority for companies, followed closely by improving the quality of hires. Yet, when companies begin the recruitment process, ‘cultural fit’ quickly becomes the high priority. We’ve all heard it, and we’re all likely guilty of using the term, however it’s inherently problematic.

The Problem with Cultural Fit

‘Cultural Fit’ is the buzzword of the moment, with companies of all shapes and sizes in all industries factoring it into their hiring decisions. However, there are several issues with this.

  1. Company culture is often undefined. Culture is hugely subjective within companies, and unless it’s clearly outlined, employees will have very different ideas of what this means. How can a manager make a hiring decision on the basis of ‘cultural fit’ if the company culture hasn’t even been defined?
  2. Your people make your culture. Companies often have a mission statement and/or core set of values to which they operate, and employees need to work to those. Beyond that, however, Culture is something that your employees create just by It should happen organically, and it should be shaped by a diverse range of people and beliefs. Diverse teams are more productive and successful, largely because they are not just trudging along comfortably, but are challenging each other and demanding more from their teams.
  3. It’s often used to discriminate. Whether consciously or not, hiring decisions based around ‘cultural fit’ are often discriminatory. It’s an excuse hiring managers use to hire people that are like them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your senior management team is bigoted, but it is human nature to surround yourself with people that you deem to be most like you. This may have worked during our caveman days, however it isn’t conducive to a highly successful workforce.

Instead of ‘cultural fit’, companies should be looking at the hard skills and key competencies of potential employees, and allowing the culture to develop organically.

The question then becomes, how do businesses attract & identify highly skilled candidates that fit the job requirements?

Be An Employer of Choice

Easier said than done, but crucial. In a candidate driven market, employees have the power of choice. Australia’s low unemployment rate and growing tech economy means that your employees do not have to stay with your business, nor do potential employees have to settle.

To attract and retain highly skilled candidates, companies must differentiate themselves and/or meet employee desires. There is plenty of data out there telling us what candidates want – career advancement opportunities; growth and development; flexible working; etc. – but every company has access to this data. This has resulted in a saturated marketplace full of companies that claim to provide the things job seekers want, but it’s largely superficial and candidates aren’t being fooled.

Today, job seekers want proof.

This is why sites such as Glassdoor and Google Reviews have become so popular in recent years. Candidates are taking jobs at companies that claim to offer the things they want, but do not deliver, resulting in higher staff turnover rates and spurned employees.

Understand what candidates in your industry want, and honestly review what is realistic for your company. Demonstrate your company’s differentiator for employees and deliver on it – word will quickly get out and you will develop a reputation as an employer of choice over time.

Attracting candidates is just the first step, however. Once you’ve got candidates lining out the door for an interview, how do you identify which ones will be high performers and which will not?

Find the Capabilities that Drive Success in Your Company

Empowering companies to quickly and cost effectively identify what capabilities correlate with performance is crucial in building a strong workforce. Without knowing what skills each job needs, it’s near impossible for a hiring manager to make the best hiring decision. And the numbers reflect this – in 32% of cases, hiring managers would not hire the same person in hindsight.

The problem is that identifying the necessary capabilities and skills isn’t as simple as reading a CV and knowing someone’s career history, it’s much more complex. Even recruitment companies, whose sole job it is to identify suitable candidates for their partner companies, have struggled with this dichotomy.

This is what led us at Cox Purtell to AbilityMap.

AbilityMap is tool that helps hiring managers not only find high performing candidates, but it also informs their decision on what a high performing candidate looks like in terms of their hard and soft skillset. It’s a scientifically validated competency assessment & matching tool, which ‘maps’ the skills of current high performing employees within a business and identifies those with similar skillsets in the candidate pool. This tool allows us to go well beyond the basic strengths and weaknesses assessment that has characterised recruitment processes in the past. With AbilityMap in our arsenal, we can identify candidates whose skills match the job requirements with much greater accuracy, adding far more value to our partners processes.

To Summarise…

  1. Define your company’s culture but keep it to broad values and services you want to provide.
  2. Determine what you can realistically offer your candidates that will differentiate you and appeal to them.
  3. Identify employee skills & capabilities that drive success in your company & look for candidates that have similar skills.

(This article was originally published by Cox Purtell in 2018.)