The missing link: finding a candidate to fit your culture

by Chloe Taylor10 Feb 2015
Career transitions are difficult. But unfortunately, many workers are finding themselves in a position where career transition is their only option, according to David Reddin.

Reddin, who is both partner and general manager at his own company, suggests that employers do not gamble enough – whereas the next generation are inclined to do so.

“Most Australians don’t plan their careers at all,” Reddin said. “Many think in terms of jobs rather than a long-term career, making certain moves because of salary or because the grass seems greener elsewhere.”

“Young people especially are sent out into the job market and just grab any job,” he added. “But when people aren’t savvy about the world of work, they get to the age of 40 and are not enjoying what they do. They either then have to take a backwards step into a different industry, or grit their teeth and carry on as so much is invested in a career path.”

Reddin told HC that he has worked with numerous executives who are exemplary of this – “they are at the peak of their earning power and are in positions of superiority, but are not particularly happy,” he said.

Six goal areas

Reddin outlined six key goal categories that employers should discuss with candidates and new employees to determine their fit with the role.
  • Financial: This includes salary goals and expectations
     
  • Self-development: “Successful people are interested in developing themselves,” Reddin said.
     
  • Family: Reddin Partners ask candidates several questions when discussing this area. Do they want a close relationship with their family? Is their job their number one priority?
     
  • Physical: General health and wellbeing
     
  • Spiritual: Feeling of mental wellbeing, being in control, and feeling content with what they are doing
     
  • Social: This area is all about social networks and friendship networks. “This is changing quite dramatically,” Reddin said. “Twenty years ago this was all about face-to-face friendships, now a lot of this social aspect is done online. Under the pressure of work people often don’t have time to catch up with friends.”
Cultural fit

“A lot of employers focus on the skills a person has developed over time and recruit on that factor,” Reddin said. “I don’t deny that this is important, but they forget how important fit is.”

He outlined key areas to consider when determining if a candidate is suitable for your organisation’s culture.
  • Look at the organisations in which they’ve worked – how successful were they? What was the culture of that organisation like? “Past behaviour predicts future behaviour,” Reddin explained. “If someone has been successful in similar culture they will likely be successful in your organisation.”
     
  • Understand what the employee is expected to achieve. “Doing is day-to-day,” Reddin said. “What do you need this person to achieve?”
     
  • Ensure that a candidate will bring some diversity to the company in terms of skills and background. “If recruiters are hiring people just like them, they tend to find that innovation and change are slower to implement as no one is coming in with new ideas or outlooks,” he said.
     
  • Remember that that you can’t teach people fit, but you can teach them knowledge, experience and skills. “Often employers bring in right skills but don’t get the right fit, which results in no value being added to the organisation,” Reddin told HC.
Reddin added that employers should are equally responsible for thinking in the long-term as candidates during the recruitment process.

“Sometimes the recruitment process isn’t as targeted as it should be,” he said.  “Many people hire based on isolated snapshots over time with no linkage. A company that looks for linkage can look for trends, and these will recur when the person joins your organisation. Lots of organisations go out with generic advertisements and bring in big pools of candidates. Recruiters should be very clear and concise about what they want, because if someone doesn’t fit the model they won’t be successful in the company.”