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Hiring for Culture Through Core Values

Posted by Tom McCrary on May 16, 2016

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At Chief Outsiders, we believe that culture is the key to our success to date and will be critical to our growth as a firm for the long term. Pete Hayes, one of the Principals at Chief Outsiders, blogged about engaging the right team in his article “News Break: Lencioni’s ‘The Ideal Team Player’ is Bigger Than Expected”. As an organization, we spend an enormous amount of human capital to attract and retain people who are aligned with and embrace our core values. It begins when a prospective CMO candidate clicks on “Become an Outsider” on our website and listens to a video that describes the opportunity for Chief Outsiders, introduces them to our culture/our philosophy of working together and directs them to assess their fit with our Core Values.

Once we have determined that they have the background and experience necessary, the real fun begins. We start with a conversation with a Managing Partner to learn more about each person and share more about who we are as a company. This is usually in person or over SKYPE. We are actively looking for “fit”, recognizing that “fit” is at least a two-party endeavor – for the firm and for the CMO candidate.

Assuming everything looks right, sounds right and feels right, we invite people to have conversations with a cross section of 4 current CMOs with a range of experience with Chief Outsiders (Relatively New to Old-timer; learning the ropes to wildly successful). We have an interview guide for those doing the interviewing and record their feedback in a knowledge base. Again, there is a great emphasis on fit and raising the bar with every new person that we invite to join Chief Outsiders and all CMOs are assessing fit as a critical component.

Once candidates have run the gauntlet of conversations with a Managing Partner and a group of CMOs, they are asked to complete a Core Values Written Assignment. As a part of the assignment, they watch a video by Dan Pink on Motivation based on his book Drive. This sets the stage for each CMO relating their background and experience directly to the Core Values of the firm. Most CMO candidates find this experience illuminating and we certainly learn a lot.

We then introduce prospective CMOs to our two Principals, who review the feedback from the interviews, read the written core values assignment, speak with the Managing Partner and ultimately make their own assessment of each candidate. We then invite the people that we believe are a good fit to join the firm.

But the process doesn’t stop there. The importance of culture and core values is incorporated into the onboarding process, reinforced in the bi-weekly staff meetings and are a key topic of conversation at the annual National meeting. This past April, we did a workshop on Core Values with the entire team to identify behaviors that reinforce, detract and build on our values and contribute to our culture. We have also used the Culture IQ developed by Paul Spiegelman to assess our cultural alignment on a regular basis.

We are firm believers that our culture matters and that it is key to our ongoing success and our ability to grow with purpose. We see our core values as touchstones to ensure that we stay on track.

Topics: Business, Leadership, Values, Hiring

About Tom McCrary

Tom McCrary is a Visionary Senior Marketing Executive with extensive experience identifying, synthesizing and clarifying ideas and opportunities; creating unique approaches to solving business problems and accomplishing objectives; inspiring teams to deliver significant results; driving integrated marketing plans and projects to successful implementation. An innovative and flexible decision-maker with excellent conceptual, analytical and communication skills.

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