hire with core values

George Costanza from Seinfeld… it’s not you, it’s me. Though he really meant you, too.

[Subtitled:  It’s not you, it’s me.  Actually, it’s you.]

A few weeks ago, I brought my car for repairs into a small, long standing foreign car repair facility with an excellent reputation on all of the review sites.  I’d personally been bringing my car to them for years, as they’ve always performed great work and at a very fair price. They’ve built trust with me over time, and although it is was out of my way, I won’t go anywhere else.

This time, I noticed that it took me a lot longer to get an appointment than normal.  Curious, I asked the owner how the business is going, considering that he’s so busy that there’s a waiting line of customers.  I was shocked when he rolled his eyes…

Apparently, he lost a longstanding mechanic about three months ago.  The mechanic had been around for almost ten years, and customers and the other mechanics trusted him and his work.

Most businesses faced with such a loss would panic and quickly hire another person with the same technical skillset.  So after three months, had he panicked and replaced the mechanic with a new one?  No – even as the capacity has gone down (and therefore, less revenue), he didn’t panic, and he hasn’t replaced the position yet.

Why didn’t he just hire quickly?

It’s very simple.  “Look”, he says.  “Finding the right mechanic isn’t about their skill.  I can find skill and train skill.  I can’t train attitude.  I look for the person that matches our core values.  Yes, there’s a baseline of skill that I need, but my most important factor when hiring is this:  do they fit in with the culture here?  Do they want to work with a staff and mechanics that share our value system?  Next, I run them through a series of tests, and if I do hire them it’s on a trial basis for 30 days.  If they don’t meet our core values, I don’t keep them on.  They aren’t bad people, they just aren’t right for us here.”

So why is it important that employees share the same core values?

“Most of my staff has been here for years.  The ‘engine’ of my business is the mechanics.  Bad work equals double the work to fix, lost customers, and angry customers.  Customers that of course tell their friends and post bad reviews.  Reputations can be lost in a few days and unrepairable for years.  Why not take a few months to find the right person in the first place?  And then not spend time worrying about how to fire a bad one?”

Are you hiring with core values in mind?

Are you hiring, reviewing, rewarding and firing using your company’s stated core values as your guide? You should.  Take a look at this video Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, talking about hiring specifically around your company’s core values.


So what do you do next?

Every business has a culture.  Are you make sure that the people who work for you (and will work for you) are a cultural fit?  The first thing is to define your real core values.  Do you need a little help on defining actual core values at your organization (not just those written down somewhere in a dusty bookshelf)?

Next Steps:

Reach out to us for free tools to help you identify the core values in your organization. These are the same tools and the same process we provide all of our clients. We’ll give you the tool, with no strings attached.