Culture vs Competence

In my most recent blog post, I suggested that making sure there is a good cultural fit between the employer and employee is an important consideration.  And that during the interview process, it is equally important for both the company and the individual applying for a position to ask questions around this topic.

The very next day, Dilbert started a series of comics making fun of the whole concept of hiring based on cultural fit. I won’t violate Scott Adams’ copyrights by pasting his actual comic strip here, but you can click on this link to see one of my favorites in that series. Or do a search on the Dilbert site. My favorite of the series ran on September 29, 2014.

Some people would say, “Well, he told you!”  I would say, we’re both right.

In the comic, a good cultural fit is being held up as an alternative to a competent employee. Understand that competence, to me, is a basic level of qualification. Being competent is your permission to even interview for a given position. This is not an either/or, mutually exclusive decision. Obviously, employers need to find competent candidates.

But, once competence has been established, chances are very good that there will be several candidates still in the running. That is when cultural fit comes into play.

You can have both.