When you’re recruiting, identifying cultural fit in candidates is essential. There is a greater likelihood that employees will stay with a business when the work feels meaningful and the company’s values are in sync with their own.

2016-11 - Why You Need to Hire for Cultural Fit

When you’re recruiting, identifying cultural fit in candidates is essential. There is a greater likelihood that employees will stay with a business when the work feels meaningful and the company’s values are in sync with their own.

But to identify cultural fit in your candidates, first you need to be able to articulate exactly what your company culture is all about. While this can challenge many business owners, a simple way of doing this is to list the top five characteristics that you think are critical to success in your business.

For instance, this could be anything from good communication, customer centricity, innovation, risk taking, entrepreneurial drive, integrity, collaboration, high energy.

These characteristics will typically capture the essence of your company culture in real work situations, as part of the everyday.

It’s also important to understand that hiring for cultural fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are simply variations on a theme. The values that make up your company culture should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce.

Make better decisions

To avoid wasting endless hours interviewing people who are the wrong fit for the role, and your culture, make sure you create a clear picture of the key attributes of the person, and the required skillset so you can screen applications effectively:

  1. Does the candidate have the knowledge, skills and abilities for the job?
  2. What past experiences have prepared the applicant for this job?
  3. Will this candidate be sufficiently challenged doing this work?

Then add another layer of questioning to evaluate how the candidate fits your culture:

  1. How is your company’s work meaningful to the candidate?
  2. Are the applicant’s values in harmony with the values of your business?
  3. Will the person naturally perform in ways that are consistent with how we do things here?

For instance, if collaboration is a key to your business, people who have a genuine belief in the value of collaborative work will be a stronger cultural fit than those who are more comfortable working independently.

A bad hire can do damage everywhere

Recruiting people who are the wrong fit for your business comes with significant costs. Along with your wasted hiring budget, the bad hire may contribute to:

  • Lower employee morale
  • Dissatisfied customers
  • Lost sales
  • Reduced productivity
  • Brand damage

The old saying about one bad apple ruining the barrel, also holds true in the workplace. If ignored, just one bad fit employee could impact your entire workforce.

Think about your other employees who have to pick up the slack and juggle increased workload and pressure because of the bad hire. This itself could increase absenteeism and turnover across your business.

So, weeding out potentially bad fit candidates in your recruitment process is absolutely essential. See how you can use behavioural interviewing techniques to give you an important predictor of candidates’ their future behaviour.

However, if you are having to deal with an employee who is a bad cultural fit, your best line of defence is having rigorous HR documentation, processes and recordkeeping. This is where well-written employment contracts, robust workplace policies and a strict performance management process are priceless. For more on this topic, download our free white paper on How to Manage a Toxic Employee.