We live in a time when evaluating candidates against a company's "cultural fit" is a big part of a hiring decision process.
While there are many reasons why this is a necessary step in a hiring process, there is a second side to explore when it comes to recruiting top product and executive-level talent.
For every stage of growth, the company culture changes. So it should be expected that when a company makes a decision to hire a new leader, this leader will bring a fresh point of view to the business, leadership, process and hiring that will incrementally transform a culture over time.
Culture Change Moments
This has never been more true, in certain hiring scenarios like:
- When a company hires their first VP Product to transform an engineering-led business to a PLG model that puts the customer at the center of every decision.
- When a company hires their first VP CX who begins to introduce design thinking across the entire company and now everyone is asking "how might we.....?"
- When remote hires go international. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays, or has the same government mandated days off, or benefits set up; the list goes on.
In every one of these scenarios, there’s positive growth as well as moderate to significant culture change. Culture change has been somewhat demonized in the past when in reality it can also be a sign of growth.
Culture Fit & Hiring
It is important not to just simply hire for cultural fit, but search for those leaders who can be a cultural-add. Unique perspectives and voices who can drive the business, brand and culture forward.
At the end of the day, when it comes to making a good hire it should boil down to:
- Do they have the right experiences to be successful in what they are hired to do
- Are they a good person I'd enjoy working with?
Even Martyn Cagan of SVPG has included talks about company culture in his books because of the direct correlation it can have on what teams ultimately deliver for customers.
There is no way around the fact that hiring an experienced product leader will impact a company's culture, in incremental ways, over time.
For the better of everyone involved, it’s important for CEO/Founders to embrace this idea early on and adapt with the growing culture.