Hiring for Cultural Fit: Finding Employees Who Align With Your Company Culture

Your employees should be both technically skilled and culturally fit for your company. Learn how to hire employees for cultural fit.
May 09, 2016

As a business owner, one of your responsibilities is making sure you have the right team in place at your company. In managing employees, you are sometimes required to make changes in personnel in order to help improve team chemistry and cultural fit, as well as increase workforce productivity. However, these changes should not be taken lightly. 

The cost of replacing an employee can be expensive. If you factor in the high turnover rate in these jobs, the figure can become ominous. Smart recruiting practices can be essential to making solid hiring decisions that may help lead to the organization's (and the candidate's) success. Most companies are skilled at recruiting for the right skill fit; smart companies may benefit from learning how to recruit for the right cultural fit.

What Is “Cultural Fit?”

A cultural fit means that the core beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of a candidate or employee are aligned with the core beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of the hiring company. Research shows employees that fit well with their organization, coworkers and supervisors report higher job satisfaction, are much more likely to remain with their company and demonstrate superior job performance.

Before determining whether or not a candidate is a good cultural fit, you may want to define and articulate your corporate culture first. One way to start the process is by asking employees to list the top three or four behaviors critical for success. Another approach is to think of corporate culture as your “employer brand.” The employer brand represents the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors shared by everyone who works for your company.

Before determining whether or not a candidate is a good cultural fit, you may want to define and articulate your corporate culture first.

Once you’ve defined your organization’s culture, you may want to consider having everyone involved in the hiring process (and ideally everyone in your organization) be able to articulate and identify it in others. It’s imperative to understand that hiring for cultural fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are all the same. The values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that make up your corporate culture should be reflected in a diverse group of employees.

Once you have defined your culture and everyone can articulate and identify it, the next step to consider is building it into your recruiting process. Here are four examples that may help you take the next step:

  1. I recently read about a CEO who takes every final candidate out to breakfast. She asks the restaurant to intentionally mess up the candidate’s breakfast order. She says she learns all she needs to know about the candidate by the way he or she handles the situation.
  2. I know of a company that offers new employee a $2,000 bonus if they quit within the first two weeks because the cultural fit isn’t right.
  3. Many organizations ask candidates to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment. This assessment may help reveal whether a candidate is an introvert or extrovert, how he/she processes and interprets information and whether they make decisions through logical reasoning or intuition.
  4. Another way of identifying a cultural fit is by asking smart questions during the interview. Some of the best I’ve seen are:
  • Tell me about your very best day at work.
  • How do you go about delegating tasks?
  • Based on what you’ve seen so far, how would you describe our culture here?
  • What is the biggest change you’ve had to adapt to at work? How did you do it?

If you add cultural fit to your recruiting and hiring process, you may be able to hire people who will flourish in their new positions, will be invested in the success of your organization and ultimately save you time and money while increasing workforce productivity.

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