Human capital is the single most important part of the profitability equation. Each hire impacts productivity, passion, quality of work, team relationships, innovation, ideas and more - for better, or worse. So, it stands to reason that making better hires than your competition would set the organization up for a competitive advantage. Hiring good people means winning on quality. As noted in our recent blog on investing in existing employees, your people are like precious gems. Don’t risk dulling their diamond-like shine by bringing in colored glass instead of the real thing.


Company Culture: The Most Overlooked Aspect of the Hiring Process


It seems obvious to select candidates with the right experience and skills to complete the tasks required of your open position. Less obvious is the idea of hiring the right personality to fit into the cultural dynamic of your existing team.


Alarmingly, most executives and business owners don’t place nearly enough importance on defining company culture. Do you have a clear definition of yours? The hiring process and subsequent performance of your team has a lot to do with the ways each individual and team fits into a carefully crafted company culture. (Hint: company culture is not built on free beers and bean bag chairs alone).


The good news is a set of assessments exists for defining company culture and behavioral drivers that can make for a better forward trajectory when building your team. Dynamic companies, for example, need dynamic people, whereas Steady companies need people comfortable maintaining the status quo.


Benchmarking Desired Qualities for Each Position


Using scientific assessments of your top 2 - 5 performers in a particular position can help to set a benchmark for the DISC profile and EQ score necessary for success. When interviewing, you can then focus on determining whether the candidate is a good fit for that benchmark, or vet the candidate against another position if the fit feels better there. When our clients use this benchmarking method during the hiring process, we see better integration of the new team member every time.


Interviewing well by understanding some scientific questions and developing a formal, scientific assessment and onboarding process means a much better alignment of the new employee with the position. It’s helpful to ask questions like:


  • Is the candidate a good fit with the existing company culture?
  • What are the candidate’s soft competencies as relates to the company culture and EQ?
  • How does the hiring manager fit within the norm of the population?
  • What hard skills does the candidate possess to be able to fill the position effectively?


Considering the “Plug and Play” Perspective


XQ Innovation uses the term “Plug and Play” in our work to advise on the hiring process. A candidate’s plug and play percentage indicates the degree to which they are or are not able to engage with the position and create forward momentum from day one. 100% Plug and Play means the newly hired employee can walk right into the position, fit with the team and get moving on initiatives immediately.


Depending on the corporate strategy, the level of Plug and Play can be flexible or not. It depends on how much the candidate is valued, and how much they fulfill the short, mid and long term vision for leadership at the organization.


The key to making better hires and keeping them is to aim to avoid retreading as much as possible. A retread is a person that comes in with hard skills to do the job, but may end up turning over quickly if the soft skills or personality fit are not there. This creates a huge amount of turnover, and every hiring manager knows turnover equals expense.


Avoid turnover by seeking Plug and Play people who have both hard and soft skills to fit the benchmark for the position.


Attracting and Keeping Better Employees with a Scientific Approach


People with the right set of hard skills and the emotional intelligence to put them to work are in high demand. Attract more of these sought-after candidates by developing a scientific approach to compensation packages and company culture.



  • Culture
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Location
  • Opportunity to Learn
  • Flexibility


Ingrain your approach with a scientific onboarding process that takes emotional intelligence into consideration, and helps the employee to become engaged (and productive!) with their new employer.


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About XQ Innovation

XQ Innovation improves human performance at work through individual and team self-awareness, behavior training and executive coaching. Our mission is to help organizations of all sizes turn every employee into a star performer. We view every human being in your organization as a human treasure. We unlock the science of the human mind in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. We bring unique strategies to our clients, all through the lens of innovation. Everything we do is focused around the people in your organization.

If you are interested in improving your team's performance, contact us today.


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