Recognising the Importance of Cultural Fit in Recruitment, Without Affecting Diversity

Cultural fit in recruitment

The recruitment sector grew by 9% in 2016 and continues to accelerate. Millennials are changing jobs more than ever so how do you determine which ones are the best fit for your company? More importantly, how do you attract them?

Everyone is on the lookout for that ideal candidate. The employee with drive, talent, flexibility and personality. However finding a person with the right combination, who aligns with your company goals can be complicated and far from straightforward.


Cultural Fit vs Qualifications


Employers frequently fall into the trap of choosing based purely on experience and qualifications. Many find themselves in the position of hiring someone who seems perfect on paper, but in reality the connection just doesn’t happen.

If your ideal candidate can’t fit in with the ethos and culture, they could end up losing productivity, becoming demoralised or worst case scenario, leaving altogether. Then you’re back to square one.

In fact, the result of turnover due to poor organisational fit can cost a company between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

By contrast, a 2005 psychological study by Kristof-Brown reported that employees who fit well with their company, colleagues, and management team:

Sarah Orange HNH Human Capital Recruitment Belfast• Enjoy greater job satisfaction
• Identify more with their company
• Are more likely to remain with the business
• Are more committed
• Display superior job performance

“Organisational fit has a huge impact on a candidate’s ability to use their skills and to apply their experience,” says Sarah Orange, Managing Partner of HNH Human Capital.”

“Qualifications of course have their place, but with university degrees becoming more commonplace, employers must look beyond academic achievements when selecting their new team members.”


Building Organisational Fit into Selection Processes


Here are some questions that will help assess culture fit in an interview:

• What type of culture do you enjoy working in? (Does the answer align with your company’s culture?)
• What is your ideal workplace?
• Why would you like to work here?
• How would you describe our culture based on first impressions? Do you like it?
• What best practices would you like to bring with you from your previous jobs? Do you think you could apply those within our environment?
• Has there been any occasions where you felt you didn’t fit into an organisation? Why was that?


Preserving Diversity Through Recruitment


There has been a lot of talk recently about how hiring for culture fit, can lead to a lack of diversity in the workplace. However this is often because employers confuse organisational fit with personal fit. Hiring a candidate because they have similar interests, or come from a similar background can can keep demographic and cultural diversity low.

For managers who want to use cultural fit in a more productive way, Orange has several suggestions.

1) Communicate clearly what your business’ culture is (and just as importantly, is not) to candidates.
2) Ensure that your definition of cultural / organisational fit is closely aligned with business goals. Define fit by analysing which values, skills and behaviours lead to achievement of said goals.
3) Formalise how you measure fit during the selection process, so that the assessment is not wholly reliant on the personality and priorities of the interviewer.

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