The Unexpected Downside of Hiring for “Cultural Fit”

Agent Smith

What could go wrong if we hire someone that looks like they would fit out culture?

Rachel Bitte writes a great article on Fistful of Talent:

The buzzy concept [of culture fit] has been the talk of the town amongst recruiting types over the past several years, and, for the most part, is a well-intended idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to hire people that gel with the organization? But without defining exactly what it means to be a ‘fit’ at your company, the recruiting process can fall victim to forms of unconscious biases.

Some pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Personal connection with the candidate (can lead to recruits being fun for the hirer to have around but not necessarily good for the company)
  • Employee referrals (can lead to a lot of people with the same views and attitudes)
  • Overconfidence in credentials (without looking closely enough at behaviours and experiences)

She advises:

The best way to avoid the missteps associated with a warped view of culture fit is simple — define your company values. These values should focus on the behaviors that form a successful workforce, such as:

How do they communicate inside and outside of the organization? What is their decision-making process? Are they results-driven, and how do they determine success?

And concludes:

If you want to shake-up the status quo and truly hire new workers that will ‘fit’ your company, establish a concrete strategy to define your company values in the recruiting process.

See the full article here.