Core Values are Vital to Making the Right Hire

Meredith Smith

Meredith Smith




Have you ever hired someone who is a high performer, interviews really well to win the job, but shortly after they start you realize they aren't going to work out? And even worse, you've already put time and money into training them.

One of the leading indicators if someone is going to be in it for the long haul is if they fit your company's core values or not.

Why Core Values Matter

Core values should be the most important part of your hiring process. Core values tell you everything about a person - how they go about business, interact with their team, deal with conflict, or serve clients. Above their performance, accolades, how much money they bring in, etc - if they are not a core value fit, do not hire them. They won’t be at your company for the long term and it’s only a matter of time before it implodes potentially bringing their team down with them. 

You HAVE to vet this out during your hiring process to make the right hire. If your company’s idea of core values is a ‘live, laugh, love’ poster behind the vending machine you may need to evaluate these core values before trying to implement them into your hiring process.

How to Implement

During the interview process, you can’t simply read off the core values and ask the candidate ‘do you think these fit you?’ - who would say no to that? 

Specifically in sales recruiting, it’s important to find someone that you have no doubt fits your core values. You can bend a little bit on experience and give some on soft skills, but if someone only meets some of your core values - you shouldn’t be hiring them. To truly figure out if they’re a core value fit, you have to understand who they are as a person and what motivates them. Structure your interview questions around your core values, and you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if they’re going to fit.

For example, one of our core values at Pursuit is ‘competitive’. If we just ask them ‘Are you competitive?’ and they launch into a story about being captain of their varsity team in high school, we’re not getting very far. Instead, we would ask something like ‘How are you going to make President’s Club?’ and see how they answer. Are they gonna be the first one to the office every day? Go above their metrics each week? 

We’re also evaluating how they interact throughout the interview process. Do our other sales recruiters enjoy working with them? Do they want to know how many other candidates we’re considering? In their follow-ups are they just checking a box or trying to win the job?  Throughout the interview process, we have specific questions around every single one of our core values, so by the end of the process we know if they fit 100% of them or not. 

We then repeat for each one of our core values. For 'just own it' we'll ask them to tell us about a time they had to figure something out on their own. For 'coachable' we'll give them feedback in an interview and see how they implement that feedback into the next interview. Make sure you do this for ALL of your core values.

Two-Way Street

Lastly, like everything else in an interview - this isn’t a one-way street. In our last interview, we ask candidates what they expect of our leadership team and create clear expectations on both ends. How are we, as a company, going to bring value to them? Core values aren’t just a quarterly reminder, they should be embodied daily by everyone at your company - that starts with hiring people who already embody them. 

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