Reference Project – Financial Institution

«Missing cultural suitability despite brilliant expertise»

Starting Point

Alarge financial institution has made a mistake when hiring two employees who are experts in their field. Both hires matched all the technical skills, but one person didn’t fit into the team and the other couldn’t perform efficiently enough in the role. Therefore both hires had to leave the company after a short time. This has been a negative experience for the company, both financially and for team spirit.


The company has primarily focused on the technical skills of their candidates without considering how they would be able to put these into practice or checking how or if their personalities would fit into the culture of the organization.


Define the desired personality traits: which competencies, separate from the technical skills required, are essential within your company? Check these competencies within the recruitment process. For example, by assessing how candidates would put their expertise into practice through a case study or by obtaining phone references from former employers.


Tool box

  • Personality questionnaire relating to professional behaviour 

  • Structured Interview matching the chosen competencies

  • Practical case study as part of the hiring process

  • Structured guideline for phone references, including tips to relevant reference contact person

Key Take Away

Apart from defining the technical skills required, always define the 3 most important competencies and personality traits for the role within your company.

Structure your interview process: What exactly do you want to check? What is important to be successful within that role? Which questions do you want to ask?

The perception of others can confirm or question your own impressions. Take advantage of these options, for example by obtaining oral phone references.