Every experienced recruiter winces when they hear a client tell them that and we shouldn't. It's said sincerely, but we just know that when it comes to making a decision 90% of hiring managers will opt for the candidate who makes them feel comfortable with sector experience and technical skills. Yet, we know, through meeting hundreds, and if you're old like me, thousands of candidates, that experience and skills tick the comfort box but they tell you very little about how good a candidate is.
The best person for the role is surely the one who will be the highest performer? A report published in Personnel Psychology makes the point perfectly. With research across multiple industries it revealed that the top 5% of the workforce produced 26% of the firm's total output. In other words, the top-performing 5% produced 400% more than you would expect.
So, how do you choose who will be the best person, the highest performer to give you that sort of ROI? Skills and experience are important, but the highest performers are those who feel most closely aligned with the business culture. It's the employees who really connect with the business that give discretionary effort, work harder, longer and with more passion. But, why should only 5% of employees behave like this? The answer is that there are too many people making the wrong, safe and comfortable hires!
When you're next looking to hire and want the best person, don't go with the comfortable option. Choose the candidate who is genuinely excited by the business, who seems to get you and who can articulate what sort of culture they work best in. You can develop their technical skills, give them sector experience but you'll never be able to give them passion, attitude and "cultural fit". Hire for performance not for familiarity and you will get the best person.