HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Culture Fit
There is a lot of conversation questioning the continued relevance of hiring for culture fit. The new buzzword popping up is culture add. Read this article to understand the difference between these two terms and ultimately decide if culture fit has a place in the future.

What Is Culture Fit?

When it comes to hiring, finding the right person for the job goes beyond just having the necessary qualifications and experience. It's also important to consider whether the candidate is a good cultural fit for your company.
But what does "culture fit" actually mean? Simply put, it's about finding someone whose values, personality, and working style align with those of your organization. Hiring for culture fit means looking beyond a candidate's skill set or experience and evaluating whether they would thrive in your workplace environment.
For example, if your company is known for its collaborative and team-oriented culture, hiring someone who prefers to work independently might not be the best fit. Similarly, if your company values innovation and creativity, it may not be a good idea to hire someone more comfortable sticking to established processes and procedures.
In short, hiring for culture fit means finding someone who not only has the necessary qualifications for the job but who will also be a great fit with your team and company culture.

Culture Fit Versus Culture Add

Hiring for culture fit seeks to add more of the same type of employee and is usually beneficial when you need to continue in the same direction and retain team cohesion. Hiring for culture fit seeks more of what you have already proven to be successful for your organization.
Hiring for culture add looks to hire people who understand and appreciate your culture, but who bring something different to your workplace. It is their difference that adds positively to company culture. Hiring for culture add brings unique and valuable skill sets to your organization.
Hiring only for culture fit without adding new dimensions to your culture will ultimately lead to a stagnant and unproductive culture. While maintaining fit, you must also add to your culture.

Why Culture Fit Can Be Helpful

Hiring for culture fit is important because the benefits can positively influence the company both as singular components and when combined. We’ll discuss these benefits in greater detail below.
  • Increased employee satisfaction. When your hires are a culture fit, they will feel satisfied with their work. This satisfaction will manifest in more engaged and motivated employees.
  • Higher performance. People who are engaged and motivated tend to outproduce those who are not engaged or motivated. People who are producing more drive the organization’s mission and goals. Because they can see themselves contributing to the company’s overarching aims, they are also more likely to stay.
  • Lower attrition. Top performers are less likely to leave. There are a lot of reasons why people leave jobs, but when you have someone who is a culture fit that is satisfied, engaged, motivated, and performing at a top level, then you have a perfect recipe for building career tenure within your organization.
  • Brand loyalty. Building a team with high employee satisfaction, high performance, and low attrition creates an environment that builds reputable and stable brand loyalty. The easiest way to think of brand loyalty is to think about those people you know who seem to embody the organization they work for. Or, think of it this way — those employees feel like they ARE the company, and the company wouldn’t be the same without them.

Criticisms of Hiring for Culture Fit

Some serious criticisms of culture fit are one reason why hiring for culture fit is under fire and newer terms like “hiring for culture addition” are on the rise. We’ll explore these criticisms in greater detail.
  • Bias. There is room for bias when hiring for culture fit. Cultural fit can be used as a blanket excuse by hiring managers for rejecting candidates that they simply don’t like or don’t connect with personally. Conversely, cultural fit can be used as a blanket reason to hire someone. There can be a mistaken alignment where the hiring manager believes that because that candidate aligns with the hiring manager's interests that there is a strong culture fit when there may not be a strong culture fit.
  • Decreased innovation. Having a hiring process focused on culture fit leads to more of the same, and more of the same does not always equal more innovation. More of the same can mean less innovation.

How to Determine if a Candidate is Right for Your Organization’s Culture

To understand if a candidate is right for your culture, there are a few things that you will want to look at.

Define Your Culture

Many company corporate culture career sites talk about similar cultural traits, like being coachable, competitive, thriving in a fast-paced environment, and working well under pressure. These things can certainly be part of your company culture, but you should dig deeper to understand not only what the core areas of your culture are but how you define them and how you determine if someone has those things.

Look for Transferable Skills

When trying to understand if someone is a right fit for your organization’s culture, at first thought the most intuitive way to accomplish this is finding someone who has a strong track record of doing the same job you’re hiring for.
Looking for transferable skills will not only give you a broader pool of people to interview, but it will also help you find something that will add to your company’s culture.
Try looking at candidates with diverse backgrounds. Try looking at candidates from outside of your industry vertical.

Seek to Be Inclusive of as Many Voices as Possible

The only way you are going to find a candidate who is the right culture fit is to meet with as wide a variety of people as possible. Someone could surprise you. On one hand, it’s possible that someone who you get along with really well and shares a background similar to those on your team ends up not being a culture fit. It’s also possible that someone with a different background could surprise you and be a great cultural fit.
A great culture fit goes deeper than the background, work history, and motivators. When you are inclusive of different voices, you will better be able to pinpoint what it is that makes your company culture unique and who will add to it.

Proactively Seek Diversity

Diversity may not always come knocking on your door. Understand that diversity not only includes traits such as race, sex, and national origin, but also includes many other things like educational background, geography, industry, and much more.

5 Example Culture Fit Interview Questions

Use these example culture-fit interview questions, or use them to help you come up with a few of your own. These can be a good starting point, but tailoring them to what you are looking for will ensure that you find the right candidate in your interview process.
1. Can you tell me about a time when you worked on a team that faced a challenge? How did you contribute to overcoming it?
This question allows you to assess the candidate's teamwork skills and how they handle challenging situations. It also gives insight into their problem-solving abilities and how well they work with others.
2. Can you describe the work environment you thrive in the most?
This question helps you understand the candidate's preferred work style and environment. It can help you determine whether their preferences align with your company culture.
3. How do you prefer to receive feedback?
This question can help you evaluate the candidate's communication style and whether it aligns with your company culture. It can also help you determine whether they are open to constructive criticism.
4. Can you tell me about a time when you introduced a new idea that was implemented?
This question allows you to evaluate the candidate's creative problem-solving skills and ability to innovate. It can also give insight into how they handle change and new ideas.
5. How do you maintain a work-life balance?
This question can give you an insight into how well the candidate takes care of themselves and their overall approach to work. It can also help you determine whether their values align with your company culture.

Conclusion

Creating a team and company culture that aligns with your values and goals is crucial for success. However, hiring for culture fit should not be confused with the "hire like-me" mentality or perpetuating homogeneity in the workplace culture. Instead of trying to find someone exactly like the rest of the team, consider hiring for culture add, which focuses on bringing in diverse backgrounds and ideas to enrich the culture.
To determine if a candidate is a good cultural fit, there are various methods such as reviewing their resume and online presence, checking references, and using behavioral interviewing techniques. Asking culture-fit interview questions can also provide valuable insights into the candidate's personality, work style, values, and communication skills.
Ultimately, hiring for culture fit can improve team collaboration, engagement, and job satisfaction. When employees feel a sense of belonging and shared values, they are more likely to be motivated to perform better, stay longer, and contribute to a positive work culture. While cultural fit should not be the only factor in selecting a candidate, it's worth considering as an essential part of the recruitment process. By cultivating a culture based on purpose, respect, and inclusivity, your company can foster a strong and healthy work environment for everyone.
Topics
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler empowers Talent Acquisition professionals, HR business leaders, and key stake holders to develop and execute talent management strategies. He is igniting the talent acquisition process through: team building, accurate time to fill forecasting, driving creative talent sourcing, and fine-tuning recruiting team effectiveness.
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Daniel Boyce

Daniel Boyce

Daniel Boyce is a lead executive recruiter in medtech, IVD, and digital health based out of San Diego, CA. He has excelled in sales, business development, and recruitment. He writes content to help job seekers learn the skills needed to land the job of their dreams. Find blogs on recruiter education, salary, and tips at www.awarerecruiter.com
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Accountability in the Workplace
Company Core Values
Company Mission
Company Personality
Company Purpose
Company Vision
Corporate Social Responsibility
Culture Add
Culture Audit
Culture Committee
Culture Interview
Culture Strategy
Employee Loyalty
Mission, Vision and Values
Occupational Folklore
Open Door Policy
Organizational Commitment
People-First Culture
Sustainability in the Workplace
Team Building Activities
Team Culture
Toxic Work Environment
Transparency in the Workplace
Workplace Culture
Workplace Diversity
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