A bad culture fit? Or is this just another excuse to discriminate?

Culture fit is a concept that has been previously defined as, employees’ beliefs and behaviours aligning with their employer’s core values and company culture.

culture fitEmployers often strive to find the right culture fit for their company. Based on the presumption that this employee will fit well within their current team and will hopefully increase employee retention rates, saving those all-important hiring costs. But does this desire for the perfect culture fit lead to hiring managers making decisions based on an inclination of what they believe makes a good match?

Whilst previously we have discussed the benefits of investing time into determining the right cultural fit listing advantages such as; staff retention, a more productive workforce and an ease in communication through employees sharing similar mindsets. This does not necessarily mean hiring for culture fit is always the best decision. So instead we will discuss the drawbacks to this hiring strategy and the negative implications it may entail…

 

The difficulty with hiring for culture fit

More often than not candidates are used to hearing they were unsuccessful because they weren’t of the ‘right fit’.

But how can you define what the right fit is? And are you overlooking potentially great candidates based on an assumption?

Not being of the right fit is a concept that in many instances receives a negative reaction from unsuccessful candidates.

Because often, culture fit can be masked as an excuse to reject a candidate based on the interviewer’s presumption of why they didn’t like someone. The problem with this arises when the lines to their rationale are often vague and subjective. Did the employer simply not hire them because they didn’t gel well in the interview?

 

Why it should not be a priority

Culture fit is based on a ‘feeling’. The hiring manager drew a conclusion that a candidate would not fit well within the company due to their own viewpoint, formed when interviewing. Therefore this is something very personal and opinions will differ between each hiring professional – making it difficult to rationalise.

  • Open to bias

To support a bias-free hiring strategy, selecting a candidate based on the right cultural fit may not be the most favourable method. Hiring managers can often subconsciously choose to hire those who are similar to themselves. This so-called ‘mini-me’ encourages work styles, ideas and inputs to align and rarely differ. Whilst some employers may favour this method to hire more like-minded people – it’s important to acknowledge that this strategy lacks diversity and consequently discourages different opinions. And without this, companies are unlikely to hear different thoughts or even be challenged and aware of any potential mistakes if every employee shares a similar mentality.

  • Overlook potential

Are you overlooking a candidate’s potential and putting their skills and experience secondary to making the right culture fit? If so, does this mean you’re missing out on great prospective hires because you felt they weren’t the right match for the company? Sometimes a candidate with a different attitude and personality to current employees can bring new energy into a team and shake up your current way of doing things.

 

Choosing value fit

Your company values are easier to define than the company culture. Employees can share the same values but still, have different work styles and opinions which can make recruiting for a ‘value fit’ far more effective than cultural fit. A candidate’s values are less likely to be subject to bias and aren’t as difficult to define as the everyday workplace culture is.

 

Do you agree? We want to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @CiiVSOFT

 

2 Comments

  1. Humantelligence Inc

    All points are good.
    Culture fit hiring is helping the organizations to determine the right priority and hire accordingly.
    Thanks for share such a worthy article about Culture fit

  2. Fleur

    Thanks for this article.
    This is right on point. When there is no other reason to eliminate a qualified candidate, cultural fit is used as excuse to support subvert nepotism. This is very apparent in the finance and investment banking industry.
    As highly qualified candidate ( more qualified than most), and hands on industry experience, I have experienced rejection , for no real reason.
    In any case, who and what defines cultural fit. As the world becomes, should this not be done way with ? In the finance industry, where it is dominated by white men, does cultural fit mean being white ?

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