What is Cultural Fit?
Google defines cultural fit as when the core values, beliefs, and personality of the candidates match those of the company.
However, it is believed that cultural fit is a ‘myth.’ When hiring a candidate, the most important thing to check is his or her knowledge and exposure. A candidate lacking from a western country with expertise in the same domain will fit better in your company rather than a native guy with poor skills.
“Culture fit” as a term is defined as how well someone “fits in” to the organization by hiring managers and firms. Moreover, when you talk about “fitting in,” it is easy to relate that term the same way we think about “fitting in” socially—hence many companies think the best way they can do is hire candidates they can chill around with. This definition of “culture fit” is mostly flawed and can lead to bad hiring practices.
“Culture fit” is just about one thing and one thing that should only matter to you is- how well the individual will do their job within your specific organization. Furthermore, your organization is much more than just happy hours and social gatherings.
However, It is important to make cultural fit checks in the candidature before you hire them and invest your time in them. It is more relevant for the employee and the employer if their values, beliefs and personality match. However, basing your decision wholly on it will be a bad idea. In this piece, we will analyze both sides of the coin and will leave it on you to take a call.
A positive environment in the workplace helps retaining employees for a more extended period and improves employee self-esteem, which results in high production and decreasing recruitment cost. The healthy environment in the office improves employee’s confidence in employers and creates healthy competition among employees. Well, all of that is possible only if you have a ‘cultural fit’ candidate, and there are no inner conflicts of interest between the employees.
“We have clients that range from 40 people to 70,000 +. They vary wildly between business type, industry, and technology. The one unifying factor is the need for a unified culture. I have seen a lot of unique hiring processes, but companies mainly focus on culture. In the recruiting role I get to speak with dozens of individuals every day and hear about their job search and experiences,” said Andrew Rangel, an IOS developer trainer, who deals with new candidates all the time.
“We specialize in IT recruiting, so skill is very important to the role. We have several individuals that fit the skill set and the job description to the “T”. They were perfect fits for the opportunity. They went through the rigorous three + stages of interviews but were not given offers. Why? They simply were not good fits for the culture. Even though IT is in high demand and currently their unemployment is in the low 4%, companies are still willing to turn down individuals that do not fit the culture,” he added, explaining how sometimes cultural fit can be so important.
When the market is largely down, and the country is dealing with a high unemployment rate. It usually happens that the candidates end up faking and making things up, which does not go with their personalities during an interview. However, you think it’s a match based on their views and values they told you about them in a 30 or maybe 40 minutes interview, and you end up believing in that.
Fake pretending ‘cultural fit’ can end up causing extra harm to your organization than you expected from the team of cultural fit employees. It is a fact that employees whose ideologies do not match with what of their employer, usually end up leaving the job, which directly and indirectly affects both the parties. The fewer similarities between employee and employers in what drives them
Monotonous Work life
Diversity at a workplace is essential. People from different backgrounds and age groups bring variety to the work, and each serves a new dish on the table with their diversified perspective. Hiring people with the same mindset, values and work ethics is similar to employing one person, over and over again. This not only brings monotonous rhythm in the work environment but also affect employee engagement. The main problem with hiring for cultural fit is, people tend only to hire people who look and sound alike. Instead, a team should be of differing perspectives but shared values.
Hire and exchange value
No one is born with cultural values. We adapt it from the environment we live in, and we shape ourselves that way. An employer when hiring an employee should be open to change in order to add assets to its team instead of bringing in a ‘cultural fit’ liability.
The culture in business changes depending on the need of people in the business at any time — it is not static. Instead of matching candidature to an existing employee, HR should look more closely at the communication style, values, and interests that might contribute to an organization.
Hire based on their academic credentials, professional experiences and references, or maybe technical skillset? Those certainly offer a great starting point rather than ‘cultural fit’.
According to Forbes, focusing on cultural fit leads you to hire in a bunch of candidates who think in a similar way as your existing staff. Reports have proven that once a company goes public, employers that hire on cultural fit actually grow slower than others because they struggle to bring innovative ideas on the table. The company, instead of hiring for people who fit the culture, should rather ask themselves what is missing from their plate, and select people who can bring that in the team. Also cannot ignore the impact on team morale and loss of productivity.
However, one can smartly think about cultural fit when hiring, but that does not mean you should be hiring clones of your current team or one “type” of a candidate. Diversity is necessary, and your culture can include lots of different personality types.
‘Team fit’ not ‘Cultural fit’
The candidate should be a team player. Moreover, when I say team player, it does not mean he should have told you that in his biography, instead of test it by various examine skills. Wether be Start-ups or a Full-grown firm it becomes impossible if you do not work well with the teammates.
Instead of being in trouble by hiring “fit”, companies looking to make more teams with diverse background are better off thinking about “culture add”. What can a person bring to the table that will add to your company culture and help you make a right move in the right direction?
This paves the way for organizations to engage with candidates from diverse backgrounds and demographics and lets them think outside the box when they are building out various teams.
Culture Fit Matter?
Yes, it does matter, but we believe your decision should be partly based on it because you hire someone for working and really not for dating. Now, why is it essential- An employee spends a substantial portion of their lives dedicated to the workplace. If they do not love the work they are doing and the environment, people they are working with, that can quickly spiral into an undesirable work environment.
If you are looking to build, it should be done with intention and your current culture in mind. Otherwise, you might take the risk of a bad investment and hire someone who would be a liability.
Points to keep in mind when hiring ‘Cultural fit’
- Hiring someone is a significant investment; make sure you get it right for the first time. Run through rigorous training and test the skills using different tests instead of relying on words.
- No hurry! A lousy fit can ruin your current employee morale and team momentum. Make sure you do all the check before letting someone in your company.
- Try to talk more about their experiences rather than sticking to formal questions. Make them comfortable so they can talk their heart out.
- Explain to them your company work culture, do not hide anything- at the end of the process, you gonna be in the same building you cannot escape.
- Look for a counterpart, look for something that is missing in the team. Just like all the spices make a perfect curry, your team needs to be diverse but united when putting together.
- Do not hire a clone of your current employee. If you eat the same food daily, you will end up hating that food for the rest of your life. Everyone is different, try new stuff, bring on creativity.
- Ensure you have set your values and the candidates meet the maximum of it, if not all.
- Ensure to have a solid one to one induction process where the employee can understand the company, instead of sending them to a random table with computer and unknown people around them.
- Everyone appreciates a followup- once an employee joins, try taking feedback on how they are settling in.
- Feedback just not from the new joinee, but your current team is equally important- their views definitely matters, keep them in a loop like a team.
It is very important to hire candidates you think will be happy working at your organization, and whom your current employees will enjoy working alongside- in the end they are equally responsible for your success. However, it is easier said than done. It seems that a fool-proof approach does not exist- what does exist, is good advice from experienced people in the field. Hopefully, the insights in this article have given you a clarification on whom to hire and what to take care of.
We are always open to feedbacks and queries, would be happy to help if we can, in any way. Please comment or reach out to us via the contact section on this site. Share within your HR network and let everyone know what to hire?