The late Steve Jobs once made an excellent comment on hiring, and it is one that I continue to follow. He said, "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."
That is why I am involved in every step of the hiring process. I put myself front and center and am there at the beginning, middle and end, searching for the candidate that best meets these three criteria.
1. Fitting in with the corporate culture
After the pool of candidates has been narrowed, the finalists usually have very similar skill sets. Any of them could do the job, and probably do it well. Having the necessary background and talent to do the job is one piece of the puzzle. I also want to make sure the candidate understands and will flourish in our corporate culture.
Every company has its own personality, and ours in no different. If I hire someone who becomes oil to our vinegar, it will be a disaster and could create a toxic environment that causes other valuable team members to leave. The resulting drain of talent could stunt our growth and, quite possibly, sink the company. A culture fit is every bit as important as experience, talent and education.