Should You Hire a Culture Fit?

TSP • @myTSPnet


The latest trend in company culture is the prioritization of a mission-driven workplace, which requires giving employees a purpose beyond profit. This requires an increase in hiring based on “culture fit,” or ensuring that every candidate also aligns with the organization’s vision and values. Since the values set by companies serve as operating frameworks for teams, it’s essential to consider how fit a person’s values are before making a hire. Incorporating values into the hiring process could be as simple as asking the candidate scenario-based questions.

Many argue that hiring candidates who inherently align with the company’s values is essential to building a cohesive organization. Not only is it essential for the candidate’s values to match the company’s, but it’s also important to determine that the organization’s values match the candidate.

Critics claim that hiring based on culture reinforces a lack of diversity, creates corporate monocultures and feeds group think. Companies like Facebook have banned the term “culture fit” when interviewers are providing feedback on applicants. These opponents maintain that hiring based on a culture fit can hinder innovation, creative thinking and problem-solving.

Most opponents of culture fit hiring believe that companies are hiring off of how well an individual will fit in to the organization’s pre-existing dynamic, which often is associated with social values. The former chief talent officer at Netflix, Patty McCord, argued, “What most people mean by culture fit is hiring people they’d like to have a beer with,” which she believes is an incorrect way of thinking about hiring.

Hiring for a culture fit alone can be problematic — it won’t necessarily cultivate a dynamic, innovative and future-focused organization. Therefore, it’s preferable to seek “culture additions.” These candidates can thrive in the current state of the organization and can help cultivate the company’s growth. In order to hire individuals who can perform at the highest level with your company’s culture in mind, it’s essential to examine the critical components that make up the culture.

Individuals thrive in different environments. While two candidates may be equally talented and qualified, one may prefer a quiet separated office and the other may thrive in an office culture with common workspaces and frequent collaboration. In order to fully understand your company’s culture, determine the values that are inherent to your organization’s environment. Consider if your team is remote or expected to be in the office every day (or a mix of both). Moreover, evaluate if your work environment is loud or quiet. Analyze if employees frequently collaborate or work individually.

With this in mind, you can then go into the interview process with a clear understanding of the type of employee you’re seeking. As it tends to be easier to teach someone a role than to teach them how to adjust to a working environment that does not match their preferences, knowing how each candidate prefers to work is essential to determine if they will succeed in your company.

Along with your company’s environment, it’s equally important that when hiring a culture fit, you ensure that they align with your company’s work style. The work style of a particular office encompasses how team members interact with each other and which behaviors are valued. For instance, consider how people in your organization share and receive feedback, from only in quarter reviews to in every single meeting. Further, evaluate if your employees tend to shy away from giving and receiving feedback or if they celebrate constructive criticism.

Similarly, consider if your company thrives from sharing ideas and giving credit to the group rather than individually. If a candidate needs individual recognition to thrive, they won’t feel motivated in shared success. The last thing you want for a new hire is for them to feel defensive and unmotivated, spreading toxicity through the work style your company is trying to cultivate. Hence, knowing how a new candidate will adapt to the essential habits of your company will determine whether they’ll be a successful and long-term addition.

When considering whether your company should hire a culture fit, you should go beyond establishing a clear view of your company’s values, work environment and work style. It’s also essential to consider what makes someone successful or unsuccessful in your company. Identify those traits and listen carefully for indicators through the candidate’s hiring process. Additionally, create either scenario-based or behavioral questions that can determine if a candidate aligns with those essential attributes. From these steps, you’ll ensure that your new hire isn’t only a culture fit, but a culture addition who will easily fit into both social and working aspects of your company.