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How to Hire for “Culture Fit” Instead of “Job Fit” 

Posted By: Brookwoods Group on February 19, 2020

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Recruiting new employees to your company requires more than just a cursory glance over their resumes. An employee who’s perfect for your company does meet certain criteria but also adds value to your organization that sometimes isn’t apparent from just a resume.

According to Forbes, bad cultural fit is responsible for 89 percent of hiring failures. The hiring process, which involves recruiting, hiring and onboarding new employees, is an expensive undertaking. This means that the cost of a bad hire can set your company back by more than $240,000 in lost salary, man-hours and productivity, according to some estimates.

Hiring an employee for “job fit” requires matching the job’s description with the skills and experience the candidate has to offer. When companies don’t consider other factors such as soft skills and values, they limit the candidate’s other characteristics that make him or her a potential fit.

What is a “cultural fit”?

Company culture differs among organizations. It extends beyond the perks and benefits the company offers and, instead, encompasses the mission, vision and values established by the organization.

When companies define their company values, they look to create an environment where employees will thrive under a certain code of ethics and behaviors. Hiring for cultural fit over hard-skills fit means considering a potential employee’s attitude, work ethic, personality traits and values as they align with the company’s.

New recruits can be trained for skills if they possess the knowledge and relevant experience already, but a cultural fit can be more of a question of what’s in the candidate’s DNA. For example, if a company believes in establishing win-win deals with its vendors that mean less margin for them so that they can keep their partners thriving, hiring a procurement manager with a “win at all costs” mentality would not be a good cultural fit.

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How to implement culture fit in the hiring process

Hiring employees who fit into your company’s culture boosts employee engagement, improves productivity and significantly reduces the turnover rate because everyone shares similar values and goals. Motivated employees are able to boost your organization’s revenue-generating capabilities better.

Clearly define your company’s culture

The Harvard Business Review reports that the culture and values of the organization are a greater predictor of workplace satisfaction than pay is. Establishing and publishing your company’s mission, vision and values help align your workforce and set expectations for both attitude and behavior when dealing with other employees as well as customers and vendors. When you are clear about what your company stands for, you automatically attract like-minded candidates and repel those who don’t share the same core beliefs.

Define the elements of your company culture—the mission statement, company values, ethical standards and traditions—so you can clearly communicate what they are to employees and candidates, not to mention customers and vendor partners.

Here are some companies with notably great cultures:

One of Brookwoods Group’s clients, Chevron, defines their culture  online:

Ask the right questions

A successful recruitment process involves open communication between you and a potential employee. Provide insights into your organization’s culture and clarify your priorities to avoid the cost of a bad fit.

Behavior-based questions will help you assess the candidate’s potential fit in the organization and gauge whether they share the same values. For example, here is what well-prepared candidates are expecting from you:

Call their references

As strange as it may sound, a lot of companies overlook this obvious step. A candidate’s references can be useful in understanding their past experience and skill set and can offer more insight into the individual. The relevant information you can get through references will help you understand their performance and character better and whether they would be suited to your company’s culture. Here’s how to conduct effective reference checks:

Make the right choice

A recent study found that 84 percent of recruiters surveyed agreed that cultural fit is one of the important factors to consider during the recruitment process. The professional services of executive recruiters can help qualify candidates based on soft skills and cultural fit before they get too deep into the process. This can save you a lot of time and frustration in the long term.

Brookwoods Group is a veteran-owned search firm that has provided staffing solutions to businesses in Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, since 1998. They assess potential candidates on the basis of value-adding technical skills, industry knowledge, company culture and soft skills.

Contact them to get the hiring process started with a recruitment professional today.