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Strategic Talent Search: Why Cultural Fit Isn't Enough

David Lykken
Oct 12, 2016

I'm a huge fan of hiring for cultural fit. I think that, for an organization to succeed, we don't only need highly qualified people on the team; we also need highly cooperative people on the team. Business is a team sport and, like any team support, it usually takes the whole the team working together to pull off a victory. I sometimes think job-specific skills are overvalued and cultural fit undervalued when it comes to recruiting. We tend to seek the best people for the job, though not necessarily the best people for the company.

That being said, we cannot simply throw all of the job qualifications out the window and hire only for cultural fit. How cooperative an employee is with team isn't going to make a difference unless that employee is also competent. On the Oct. 3 episode of my Lykken on Lending podcast, we had the opportunity to interview Matt Strabo of Transformational Mortgage Solutions on the subject of recruiting. According to Matt, "cultural fit" is sometimes over-valued at the expense of technical skill—the complete opposite of what we might think!

It's a nice idea to focus on cultural fit but, where the rubber meets the road, we do need people who can get the job done. Besides, if an employee is not skilled enough in their work, then eventually it's going to drag the team down due to the subpar level of work. So, in one sense, "cultural fit" is impossible without a certain level of skill. But here's the bottom line: when it comes to recruiting, we need balance. How do you make sure you're achieving that balance in your recruiting practices?


David Lykken, a 43-year veteran of the mortgage industry, is president of Transformational Mortgage Solutions (TMS), a management consulting firm that provides transformative business strategies to owners and “C-Level” executives via consulting, executive coaching and various communications strategies. He is a frequent guest on FOX Business News and hosts his own weekly podcast called “Lykken On Lending” heard Monday’s at 1:00 p.m. ET at David’s phone number is (512) 759-0999 and his e-mail is [email protected].


Oct 12, 2016