Hire for culture, train for skills

Cultural fit is a concept that can be hard to define but everyone knows when it is missing.

Simply put, cultural fit is the likelihood that a person will be able to effortlessly live your business core values and behaviours.

If you assess cultural fit throughout your recruitment process, you will ensure you hire people who will become fantastic in their new roles.  This will certainly help drive long-term growth and success for your business.

What this means is that when you hire on both job fit and cultural fit, you’ll find that your new team members are:

  • Faster to start really becoming part of your team
  • Start contributing quicker than others
  • Are happier in their new role
  • Tend to stay longer with your business
  • Become brand ambassadors
  • Are likely to become ‘star performers’

When you make recruiting decisions purely on skills and don’t take into account the cultural fit of the candidate, you may find:

  • The candidate doesn’t fit in with your existing team
  • They will quickly become dissatisfied with their role
  • Will not adhere to the values and behaviours expected of them
  • May end up leaving through resignation or termination

Top Tip:  Give applicants a chance to lead the conversation.

We’ve all been to interviews where the interviewer sticks to an approved list of 10 questions.  Instead, hand the interviewee the keys.  See how they communicate without prompts or guides. This can provide an opportunity for vibrant personalities to shine.  If the interviewee has difficulty conversing with you of their own accord, that can be a sign that their personality doesn’t fit the role.

Do you know what your core values are?

It’s important as the leader to know yourself well enough to know what your true or core values are. If you discover that you actually value timeliness over creativity, that’s your prerogative.  When you started your business, how did you want it to run?  What did you want to motivate people? Don’t worry about being “wrong” when you answer these questions. The important thing is to answer them.

Perhaps, respect, open communication and on-time delivery of service are your core values.  For another business, it may be delivering your products at the lowest cost. Whatever your core values are – live them and be sure to communicate and promote them at every opportunity.

How a husband and wife transformed their business and met conflicting goals

The case study explores how the owners of a Sandwich Kiosk business were able to meet both their goals as a husband-and-wife team while increasing income and reducing the burden of running a small business.

David Page was a firefighter who loved his work.  That said, he was getting older and wanted an exit strategy that would give him and his wife an income and a shared interest.  He decided to start a small sandwich café business.  He planned to run the business and continue working as a fireman.  Although he had no formal business training, he learned the sandwich business quickly and had so much success he opened two new locations quite quickly.


As the business flourished, David increasingly relied on his wife, Beth, to manage many of the day-to-day operations.  Beth did a great job working tirelessly, often until late at night.  Inspired by his success, David wanted to grow the business further and open more kiosks.  Beth said a firm “no”.  She was stretched to her limit and was unable to take on more responsibility.

The husband-and-wife team knew they needed a new business plan.  They contacted their Accountant for guidance.


The Accountant realized they needed to create a plan that would deliver two equally important outcomes:

  • David needed a solution that would grow the business without the need for him to commit more time to managing it.
  • Beth needed to limit or ideally shrink her responsibilities.

The Accountant decided that a franchise model would fit the bill.  David would set up and sell kiosk locations one at a time.  The sale would give them an income without the burden of having to manage the new businesses.

The Accountant then focused on Beth.  They worked together to create a position description, KPIs and key selection criteria for a new role that would report to Beth.  This person, when hired, would assist Beth and allow her to reduce her working hours.

Benefits to the Clients

The strategy worked.  David soon found buyers while Beth was able to reduce her workload to 40 hours a week. The couple earned more money than they had ever imagined and they loved the challenges and rewards of running their small family business.