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Your company culture is the sum of the company values. Everyone may not share every value, but everyone should accept and be compatible with every value.

THE RANT: Stop the Hiring Insanity

June 7, 2023
If multiple people participate in the ownership of your business, you must include them in the identification of company values.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. By this definition, many contractors are insane when it comes to hiring.  Here’s how to stop the hiring insanity and build a company that can operate without you. 

Slow Down

The truck may be idle during peak season, but if you rush to fill it with the first person who can pass the 98.6 test, you are setting yourself up for failure. Yes, the person might be a great hire and great fit for your company, but most snap hiring decisions yield sub-optimal results. Before you hire a technician, CSR, or other position, make sure the person fits your culture. 

Culture is the Sum of Company Values

Your company culture is the sum of the company values.  Everyone may not share every value, but everyone should accept and be compatible with every value.  Hire someone who fits with your values and you will hire someone who fits your culture and will strengthen your culture.

Identify Your Values

If you are the company owner, what do you consider the essential values for your business?  Is honesty a value?  How about responsibility? Those may seem pretty
obvious, but what about patriotism?  If you are a proud military veteran who believes in the country and flag, a young tech who has been indoctrinated by our public schools to think America is a horrible, racist place will probably not fare well under your employ. More to the point, friction is likely. So, maybe you should try to hire those who are patriotic, or at least, indifferent about country and flag.

Reduce hiring mistakes by identifying company values.

If multiple people participate in the ownership of your business, you must include them in the identification of company values. The values must then be shared values. This will lead to discussion and compromise to arrive at a good set of shared values, but it leads to a more cohesive culture. Frankly, it is a good idea to go beyond owners and include your entire leadership team in the value identification process. 

Identify Accompanying Behaviors 

Certain behaviors are consistent with certain values. Other behaviors may be in conflict with a value. By identifying the behaviors that are consistent with a value, you can create hypothetical situations that bring out a job candidate’s values.  

For example, if you are trying to identify whether a candidate shares the value of integrity, you might say, “Tell me about a time when it cost you to do the right thing.”  To identify the value of initiative, you might say, “Tell me about an action you took at your last company to fix a problem or improve a situation without anyone telling you to do it.”

Behavioral questions are a challenge to create. They are also difficult to answer. Not every value needs a behavioral question for an assessment. For example, if you value friendliness, you can ask your receptionist how the candidate greeted him or her upon arriving. 

The work in identifying your company values, their accompanying behaviors, and a set of behavioral interview questions is well worth the effort. It will dramatically reduce the hiring mistakes. Each hiring mistake is expensive.  It’s expensive to hire someone in the first place, expensive to remove them, and expensive to undo the damage a bad fit imposes upon the team.

When you hire to culture, which is hiring to your values, you stop the hiring insanity. The hiring process may lengthen, but the hiring mistakes will be minimized. 

Culture Eats Strategy

Hiring to culture does more than minimize hiring mistakes.  Management guru, Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Drucker meant that great strategy must be executed or it’s no good.  Meanwhile, culture is self-executing.  Culture works when no one’s looking.  It is self-regulating.

The right culture means the right behaviors are performed.  The right behaviors drive the right results.  Thus, good culture drives good results.  Good culture results in greater profitability.  Good culture makes management a lot easier. 

Culture is Freedom

A true business is a company that can operate without you, freeing you to work on the business, on the things you want to work on, or not work at all while enjoying the benefits of ownership.  Until you build a good culture, you will never have a company that can operate without you.  You may think you own the company.  In truth the company owns you.  A good culture can not only free you from hiring mistakes.  It can free you from the shackles of your own creation. 

To learn more about building a great company culture, attend a complementary Service Nation Success Day.  You can find the schedule of upcoming Success Days at or call 877.262.3341. 

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.