Cultural Fit in Hiring – Good or Bad?

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As a business owner or manager, one of your responsibilities might be to hire new people from time to time. Your business needs a new employee who will be able to do a certain job within the company and you need to identify the best one among the candidates, someone who will be able to do that job properly and efficiently. Hiring is a very complex process and something that can go wrong very easily. Especially if you factor in the cultural fit.

What is the Cultural Fit?        

The cultural fit denotes the likelihood of a potential candidate to fit in a company based on a number of mostly hard to quantify traits and opinions. For instance, someone’s upbringing, their personal opinions on various matters and similar things fit under the description of a cultural fit. Perhaps it is best to describe this with n example.

Let’s say that our example company was started by people who have a very liberal outlook on most issues. Everyone who already works in the company is also liberal and this is something that can be felt in everyday functioning of the company. A new candidate who would be a good cultural fit will also be liberal.

It is important to differentiate between the cultural fit and the personal, inborn traits of a person, such as their leadership qualities, their ability to learn, their assertiveness and so on. These are completely different from what is considered the cultural fit.

The Good

There are some very good reasons why most people who conduct interviews or specialize in HR check the cultural fit during the interview process and rely on it when making the final decision. For one, a candidate who is a good cultural fit will have a much easier time finding his or her place in the company. They will have something to talk about with other employees and they will feel comfortable from the get go.

In addition to this, a person who is a good cultural fit will find it easier to adopt the culture of the company. They will understand better what the company is all about and how they can contribute to it. They will also be more involved and, in most cases, they will work harder.

Finally, a candidate who is a great cultural fit is far more likely to stay with the company in the long run. They will not wake up one day and think that there may be companies that are better for them because of the philosophy of the people in the company or the general culture in the company.

The Bad

There are, however, some bad sides to the cultural fit as well. For example, it is quite easy to fake a good cultural fit. A candidate may have heard about the employer and the company having a certain culture and it will not take too much work to feign that same philosophy. What is worse, it is very difficult to notice that someone is faking it.

In addition to this, relying too much on the cultural fit may make you forget about other aspects of the candidate which might be more important, such as their education, their skills, experience and their personal characteristics.

Finally, there is also the danger of hiring the same type of person over and over again which may not be the best thing for your business in the long run. Namely, if you end up with employees who all share a single point of view and a unison philosophy, they might make mistakes simply because there was no one to offer a different opinion. You might end up with a workforce with a very narrow field of vision and this is never good.

The Verdict

We talked to some recruitment outsourcing professionals and they have told us that the best way to approach this is to definitely consider the cultural fit when hiring, but never to let it take over. The skills and the expertise are still the most important. Personal traits are also very important while the cultural fit should be seen as an added bonus, something to break a tie.

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