Hire people who share your values

Values – principles or beliefs that guide your practice.     Knowing your values (or your firm’s values if you have several partners) will help you to determine if a candidate shares those values and thus will fit into your firm.  Here is a list of 10 pairs of values.  I’ve tried to pair ones that are almost opposite together so that you can see that valuing the first would give you a very different culture than valuing the second.  In my list there are no “bad” values but there may be some that would produce a culture that would not feel right to you.  In the same way your values may not feel right to someone you are considering hiring.


  1. Family friendly versus business comes first – with a company that truly is family friendly you would find more understanding about child care issues, support in leaving to coach a child’s sports team, allowing telecommuting when a family member is ill.  When a company values business comes first the company you will be rewarded for results that support the company’s business goals.
  2. Customer focused versus bottom line focused – Customer focused companies give employees ability to satisfy the customer complaints even if it means refunding payment.  Those focused on the bottom line would be more apt to try to satisfy the customer without a refund.
  3. Quick changing versus incremental change – A company that values quick change will be in constant change.  You’ll need to be flexible to move with a company like this.  Other companies spend time thinking through change.  You’ll need to be patient to work with that company.
  4. Risk taking versus safe, analytical and reasoned approach – Companies that value risk taking may look to employees to take chances and hopefully succeed.  They hopefully are accepting of failure. (You’ll want to ask about that!) A company that values a safe, analytical, reasoned approach will move more slowly testing a new idea before moving.
  5. Innovative business versus stable business – Businesses that value innovation are always looking for the next upgrade or new idea to develop.  Creative people love to work for this type of business.  Nothing remains the same for long. On the other hand some businesses value their stability.  They have all their processes defined and employees follow the defined processes. Someone who appreciates consistency would thrive in this kind of a practice.
  6. Fast paced versus deliberate paced – Just as some people like to move quickly and some have a more deliberate and steady pace so do companies.  Depending on your style you’ll be more at home at one or the other.  (The DISC assessment will determine your style)
  7. Team approach versus individual contributor – Some people love working in groups and thrive with a company that values teamwork.  Other people prefer working alone and coming together occasionally to update each other.  There are companies that foster the team approach and others that encourage individual contributions.
  8. External cause (conservation, environment, organic, serving foodbanks etc) along with business bottom line versus singular business focus – Many people look for companies with a larger world view and a focus on solving larger issues while at the same time doing their own business.  Companies that do that may be a fit for some of you.  Others may prefer to do that sort of service on their own time and believe the business of a law practice is just to practice law.
  9. Fashion forward versus business like appearance at all times   One thing everyone can view is the mode of dress within the practice.  What is important to you?  Is it very buttoned down or   jeans and sneakers.  If dress is important to you make sure you set the standard.
  10. Have fun while you work versus a serious approach to the customer.  During the dot com era many played games at work to relax after working hard.  Foosball was big.  There are still companies that emphasize their playful attitude.  Is your firm known to be playful or serious?

Think about what is most important to you in your work situation and look for people who share your values.

You can find a list of 20 Core Values at this website.

Do you have a clearly written hiring process?  Do you know what you need to do to determine the values and value of a candidate?  Hiring the wrong person is costly, disruptive and unpleasant.    The time to prepare for hiring is before you need to hire.  I have many useful tools and assessments that can help you with hiring new personnel.  Email me for a free values tool. (asparker@asparker.com)  If you would like a more in depth discussion and assessment call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com

I wrote another article on company values.  You will find it here.


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