Who you are matters more than what you are.

There’s a saying that who you know matters more than what you can do, implying that relationships and business connections are often the key to opening doors for new opportunities. But can the same be said of who you are as a person? Does it really matter more than what you can do as an employee?

The question of cultural fit in recruiting is becoming increasingly important, especially when we’re talking about senior management. There’s little point in hiring someone who has all the necessary skills, if they don’t have values that align with the organization or can’t engage with their co-workers to get them to achieve the desired results. While a certain level of skills and knowledge is essential, it’s the ability to translate that into actionable results within the context of an organization that’ll determine if the person is right for company.

Three elements to match

There are times where a candidate may have most but not all the required skills for a role. However, if they’re a good fit for the organization, then their placement could be very successful. When debating this type of decision, here are three things to take into consideration:

1 – Values

Are the company values clearly defined and are they shared to attract the right kind of people? Studies show that when employee values align with company values, employees are more engaged and productive at work. A candidate’s values can be discovered by asking them what’s important to them in their career path and daily life. A good indication of this is how they’ve applied their skills and knowledge in previous roles.

2 – Goals

Is there room in the organization for the candidate to realise their personal career goals? And do their goals align with where the company is headed? If you are recruiting for change, growth or innovation, their core competencies need to be aligned with those specific areas.

3 – Personality

Senior management roles require people with a strong personality and being part of an executive team means that the candidate will need to be able to work with other strong personalities too. How will the candidate’s personality fit the role you’re recruiting for?

While a good cultural fit cannot replace expertise, as some skills are critical for senior roles, it can make an average candidate (in terms of skills) excel. Because in the right environment they can learn what they need to and grow what they know.