Here’s Your 2019 Resolution: Rethink Cultural Fit

Find candidates who don’t just fit your existing company culture, but augment it

The values and viewpoints that prospective candidates share with your current employees in your current work environment is important. However, somewhere along the line, the term “culture fit” pivoted from referring to a candidate’s alignment with a company's values to code for “people like us.” A company culture shouldn’t be a static entity. Rather it should strive towards an ideal and must constantly evolve.

Avoid Becoming Stepford Wives, Inc.

Hiring managers can be like voters. Voters sometimes discount a candidate’s policies when it comes time to cast a ballot if that person is someone they can imagine sitting down with to have a beer. Often they come to regret that decision. Likewise, if a candidate fails to laugh at your jokes or went to a rival university to yours, that’s no reason to eliminate them from contention.

You might assume that those who think like, talk like, and look like you will make great hires, but reality tells a different story. Statistics show that companies with diverse teams are more innovative and generate more revenue. A Gartner report states that through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams that reflect a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets. What board or investor wouldn’t be happy to hear that?!

If you use culture fit most often to screen candidates out of your process versus into your team, you are hiring on instinct versus hard facts, and you’re missing out on talent your competitors will hire.

So, where should you focus your efforts instead?

Talent and Experiences > Fit

It’s far easier to measure an individual’s professional talent and skills than their contribution to your company’s cultural environment. Where does one begin to define and measure culture fit? It might be possible to define, but applying sound measurement techniques is another story.

How can you measure something so intangible that is grounded solely on instinct? Trying to do so means objective quantifications give way to pure subjectivity. However, there are things hiring managers can do. Using more measurable attributes like collaboration and innovation,  where a candidate can give you specific experiences that align (or not) to the company definitions will give you much more insight into their ability to succeed in their desired role in your organization.

Cultural Fit or Cultural Enhancement:  What Do You Intend to Foster?

HireLabs has a central strategy around bringing in team members who not just fit an organization’s culture, but enhance it. We first consider what a culture lacks and work to add team members who fill that gap.

Ask yourself if a candidate will enhance your culture in one of the following ways:

  • Create healthy friction--Having team members who can engage in lively debates around  core company objectives and major issues is a good thing, and something to embrace.

  • Bring varied work experiences to your team--A big company, a startup, a mid-sized firm--they all operate in different ways. Recruit candidates from everywhere on the spectrum--from fledgling startups to Fortune 100 enterprises.

  • Promote individual perspectives--Everyone’s unique, and sees problems from their own unique perspective shaped by life experiences, education, age, and cultural background. Your team should look like your customer base: diverse!

  • An eye to diversity makes recruiting more productive - Once you have momentum, building and retaining a diverse team only becomes easier. Start early and the inclusive workforce you build will drive more inclusive hiring via referrals and word of mouth.

Build a Dynamic Culture That Thrives

How can your organization ensure it recruits and builds a team of diverse individuals? First, you need to make sure your interview process is structured, and that everyone is being asked the same questions. Your interview questions should be competency-based and then framed around your 3-4 key cultural attributes, and allow candidates to demonstrate the values in their responses. To minimize cultural bias, we  suggest that ‘fit’ only account for 10 percent of a candidate’s score.

In any case, what “fits” today shouldn’t necessarily “fit” tomorrow. What you should focus on is bringing new additions to your team who augment your culture. If you find your team struggles to communicate effectively, imagine having a new hire who’s passionate about tools that help teams communicate. She would have instant credibility, improve your existing team dynamic, and feel a sense of accomplishment from making a contribution in an area for which she has passion.

Let HireLabs Find the Right Candidates Who Elevate Your Culture

The best hires not only bring the skills your organization needs to become more successful, they enhance your organization’s existing values with diverse experiences and opinions that complement and push its culture forward.

Stay Tuned! In an upcoming blog post, we’ll provide more detail on how you can enhance your company’s existing culture by finding and landing the right hire. Or why wait? To discuss ways HireLabs can help your organization build a more innovative and diverse culture that boosts your revenues,  contact us today!

Authored by Stephanie McDonald, Senior Recruiter