Here might be even a more perplexing question: why do so many companies and organizations leave the design of their culture up to the flip of a coin?

Numerous studies* performed over the last several decades indicate that the correlation between a specific pre-hire action (such as interviews, background checks, verifying education and experience) and success on the job are quite revealing. If you only interview a candidate, you have a 14 percent chance of making a successful hire. If you check references then your odds at making a successful hire are 26 percent. So if you are interviewing candidates and checking their references, what we understand most companies do when hiring staff, then you have a 40 percent chance of hiring someone that will experience success on the job, something we call “good job fit.”

You would have greater odds of hiring a successful candidate if you flipped a coin.

And this is why that second question is so perplexing. If who your staff are and how they think and behave is a reflection of your culture, then you are leaving the intentional design of that culture to the flip of a coin.The same high energy independent person that can thrive in a loosely-structured Google may not work in a smaller but growing accounting firm.

In our years of organizational development work here are a few ideas we have found to be true:

  • Most managers are unaware of the behaviors that are required for success on the job.
  • Most companies are not understanding the behaviors of the individual candidates.
  • And, the conglomeration of staff behaviors are what creates company culture.

How do you match the behavior to the culture?

What is the culture you are seeking to create?

What are the behaviors that support that culture?

Intentionally designing what you want to create makes a lot more sense than merely flipping a coin.


* “Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1, p. 90; “Personality Measures as Predictors of Job Performance: A Meta-Analytical Review”, Personnel Psychology, Winter ‘91, p. 703, Michigan State University’s School of Business