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  • Writer's pictureMark Olivito

Talent Selection: Skills or Values?

Updated: Jul 3, 2022

My world view around phenomenal business success is clearly centered around the “soft” issues of business.

As Tom Peters brilliantly put it: “Soft is hard. Hard is soft!”

Culture. Team Work. Service. > Strategy. Planning. Analysis.

All are important yes. But if we all hand endless resources we could apply equal pressure to all of them. But we do not.

Lately I’ve spent an enormous amount of time trying to get the people area right, particularly in the area of NEW talent coming into the business. And like any area where new energy is applied, you should start to see results emerge, which was the case in this area.

Since putting new pressure on ramping up the hunt for new, great talent, it’s clear that I’ll need a governing principle for selecting among a pool of qualified people. How to pick among multiple highly qualified candidates?

  • Greatest skill set?

  • Greatest GBE?

  • Greatest personal story?

  • Best match to the job description?

  • Consensus pick among the interview team? The “vote”?

  • Highest scores among a combination of key criteria?

All are important. But I came down to one clear acid test:

The person that most closely matches the CORE VALUES of what the company is built around will be the candidate that comes in the door. Period.

Skills and job descriptions will always matter. But the match to core values will be the difference maker.

The challenge for leaders will always be defining core values. Living them daily. Creating vivid pictures and stories about why they matter. Who lives them.

Every company is different. All companies define Core Values differently. Some seem generic, wordy and could apply to any company on earth.

At my company, LM Foods, our core values are 2 Simple Words:



Subject to interpretation? Yes. Crystal clear to everyone inside of the organization? A work in progress, but getting closer everyday.

For talent selection, be crystal clear that the candidate selected is the superior match on Core Values. Let this be your #1 difference maker, not the easily measured hard skills.

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