Finding the Right Executive Culture Fit

Working with retained executive search firms provides a number of benefits. One of the most important is finding the right executive culture fit. At this level of search, candidates have earned their stripes. They are very good at their jobs and have the technical/professional skill sets required to meet the job specifications. What really matters for growing the business is their cultural fit within your organization.

There are still a lot of companies out there that don’t think culture matters when making an executive hiring decision. However, the costs associated with bringing in a bad apple is two fold. First is the impact on the organization. The amount of lost revenue, productivity and employee turnover, while difficult to quantify with an exact number, is a real expense that can impact results for years. The second is the cost associated with the initial search, the need to conduct a second search, and the lost time onboarding the role only to have to do it again. Making the wrong hire can set you back a couple of years executing your strategic plan.

Executive search firms are seeing the importance of culture fit on performance. Most reputable firms are going to offer a guarantee if the candidate selected doesn’t work out. They want you to be happy with the results and are doing everything possible to make sure the fit is right for your organizational culture.

It has become standard practice for firms to offer psychometric tests, cultural assessments, or critical thinking tests. Either through acquisition or partnership, most firms now have access to these capabilities. While a step forward in the process, many of these assessments simply provide you with a number on a scale. While helpful, it doesn’t always get at the underlying or root reasons for their score. Two people could have the same score but very different approaches to their leadership style.

At Sheer Velocity, we partner with Hogan using the Hogan Leadership Model to strengthen hiring decisions. To ensure you’re getting the best possible fit, we also worked with an industrial psychologist to create our own proprietary Corporate Cultural DNA Alignment. The questionnaire is comprised of ten different topic areas, with six questions each.

The questionnaire is not scored, so there is no number on a scale to default to. There is also no neutral answer option, meaning you can’t “push” on a question. You have to provide a response that leans one way or the other. We first have our clients answer the questions for each search. Then the candidates under consideration are asked to answer the questions.

We then compile the results and compare the responses. For each topic area, we can see how closely aligned the candidates are with the company. If there are large gaps, we discuss the responses with the candidates to gain a better understanding of their answers. Upon identifying the selected candidate, we provide the responses to our client so they can review them and have a conversation with the candidate.

We’ve found this methodology creates better placement due to the conversational nature of the results. You can’t shortcut or game the answers. The entire purpose of the Corporate Cultural DNA Alignment is to ensure the best possible fit for your organization and the candidate.

To learn more about our process, please send us a note and we’ll follow up with you right away.