Hire for Culture, Skills can always be trained

What is culture fit

Credentials, experience and skills are all very important – but even the most talented people can struggle or fail if they’re not quite the right fit for the culture of your company.

Company culture is a complex concept that is hard to quantify, but generally speaking, “culture” can be defined as the shared set of values and assumptions about proper behaviour and demeanour.

It’s the way in which an employee connects with the organisational culture. It is formed from the values, vision, norms, working language, symbols, belief systems and habits of staff, along with their tacit agreement to a set of acceptable behaviours. When these elements are aligned, they create social cohesion, and a high level of social cohesion builds strength in the organisation.

Company culture, also known as organizational culture and corporate culture, is based on shared beliefs, attitudes, written and unwritten rules, customs, and traditions developed over time. It’s revealed in the way the organization does business and treats employees, customers, and the community. It touches every aspect of business, from power and information flow, to productivity and performance, through quality and safety, and into production methods, sales and marketing, and corporate communications.

Company culture encompasses the values and behaviours that make up a company’s unique psychological and social environment, including expectations, experiences, philosophy, self-image, inner workings, and interactions with the outside world.

Culture fit, when employees understand, agree with, and embrace organizational culture as a good thing, creating engagement, benefits everyone in the organization. The opposite of culture fit – disgruntled employees – has a negative impact on productivity and business success.
Today it’s very important for any company to get the right candidates into the right positions. But it’s also very important to know that those candidates will be happier, more productive, and more engaged if they also fit with the company culture.

Ensuring a candidate fits in your company means measuring more than the open position’s skill set. Outdated recruitment strategies look line by line on the job requirement — at least five years in marketing role, overseeing budget, bachelor’s degree— but in today’s workplace, this is not enough. More important than measuring work experience is making sure a person will fit your culture.

Why Is Culture Important ?

There are as many different organizational cultures as there are organizations. A culture’s effectiveness depends on an organization’s business market, strategies and workforce. For example, an effective culture for an entertainment company may be disastrous for an automotive manufacturer; do we want people who build cars to work in the same way as people who produce TV programs? What research makes clear is that culture influences organizational performance, whether performance is defined in terms of customer satisfaction, attendance, safety, stock price or productivity.

To explain the above with example

A conservative mid-career accounting professional with a work history in the banking industry may not feel comfortable running the accounting department in a creative start up with a focus on innovation and change. A corporate group that values and expects teamwork and collaboration isn’t the best work environment for someone who likes and has a work history of working independently.

Why is culture fit so important?

  • The new hire ramps up easily and is happier and more productive sooner.
  • The team experiences a performance boost when a hire is a great culture fit.
  • A bad culture fit can have a really disruptive influence on the team like a bad apple in a basket. It is always better to wait and not hire rather than make one bad hire.

How Is Culture Related to Recruitment?

The main relationships between culture and recruiting are associated with employee attraction, selection and retention. From an attraction standpoint, culture is primarily about the brand image a company projects. Companies that take culture seriously actively market their culture to candidates. This attracts people who will thrive in the organization and repels people who would be more effective working elsewhere.

Another reason to recruit around culture is that while job demands and requirements constantly shift, a defining characteristic of culture is that it remains constant in the face of change. A person hired based partly on his fit with an organization’s culture is more likely to continue on as a valuable company resource, even if the position he was originally hired for ceases to exist. In fact, an effective organizational culture actually helps people work together to adapt to business changes.

If your company is a new start-up, has gone through several growth stages, or has had several changes in management, you may not have a clearly defined or easily recognizable culture.

Can you clearly define your company culture? Could you explain it to candidates who come in for interviews? How do your employees talk about your company? Are these areas all closely related and defining the company the same way?

To be able to assess candidates for culture fit, you must know what your culture is. If it’s not clearly defined yet, as it may be in start-ups or recently reorganized companies, a good way to talk about your company culture is with a mission or vision statement.

Cultural Fit Isn’t Found on a Resume

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to building a recruiting strategy that finds employees that will fit. But a resume will never give you the full picture.

Once the potential candidate is sitting in front of a company representative, there are two crucial areas of questioning: behaviour-based and personal. Both can be evaluated by a trained interviewer. Behaviour-based questions inform recruiters about an employee’s cultural alignment with their company.

Employers need to take a more solid approach to evaluating cultural fit in candidates, rather than depending on their own gut feeling. A clear definition of what makes up the organisation’s culture is the essential foundation for any such assessment.