The Importance of Cultural Fit in Hiring

When your company looks to hire a new member for your team, it is ideal to look for a candidate with great credentials. Previous employment, leadership positions, extracurricular activities, etc., but how do you know they will bring all those credentials to the table?

As a hiring manager for your company, it’s important to be aware of your company’s culture and organization. Assessing cultural fit of a candidate is equally as important as their functional skills and experience. If a person has an impressive skill set but doesn’t get along with their team members or management, chances are they aren’t going to perform at their maximum potential, thus rendering those set of skills useless. On the other hand, if a candidate is striving in their work environment and actively involved in the company, they are more prone to maximizing efficiency and in turn will bring more to the table. This is why cultural assimilation is a vital part of not just the hiring process but of your company as a whole.

Companies, such as Google, pride themselves on having a strong company culture. For that reason, they have a very unique hiring process, taking cultural fit heavily into account when deciding which candidates to recruit. Research shows that companies with strong cultural assimilation demonstrate higher results in employee satisfaction, job performance, and employee retention. In addition, employees who are satisfied with their job are often more engaged and in turn become great company ambassadors. Company ambassadors are people within the company that create a positive outlook of the organization and are representatives of the company culture.

So how does one assess the cultural fit of a candidate?

Many cultural attributes are behaviorally based, so it is hard to assess how a candidate will perform in a certain work environment through past experience and accolades alone. Certain interview processes can help elicit a candidate’s cultural fit; for instance, if you take them on a tour of the office and have them interact with some of the employees, you can observe behaviors and gather feedback from the staff. Candidates with behaviors and values consistent with the organization’s usually stand out and are noticed by other staff members.

Assessing for cultural fit can require extensive research into both your company culture and the person being interviewed. It is important to have a strong understanding of how your company functions internally and how it is run. Having a fluid hierarchal organization can make assessing the “culture” of a company more simplistic, which in turn gives you a better understanding of how well a candidate will fit in with that company. While it requires slightly more effort, hiring a “culturally fit” candidate can result in better employee performance, a more efficiency hiring process, and strengthen company culture.