Should you hire for a cultural fit?

By David Lawrence |

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Employees are a crucial part of every business. It’s hard to run a productive business if you don’t have the right team around you. Employees provide your business with the expert knowledge that you might not have. Consequently, hiring the right people is a top concern. You need to ensure that you’re hiring people that will contribute to the wellbeing of your company. Get things wrong during the hiring process, and you can shoot yourself in the foot. It sets your company back, and you have to waste time and effort to recover.

There are many things that a business looks for in potential employees. Naturally, having the skills and experience at the job in question is a big point. But, there are often other things that factor into whether or not someone gets hired. For example, many companies will hire for a cultural fit.

If you've never heard of a cultural fit, then don't worry. This article will explain everything, and tell you whether or not it's a good idea.


What Is A ‘Cultural Fit’?

It can be quite tricky to define the concept of a cultural fit. Every company will have some core cultural values and concepts. These are certain things that they live by, and believe will generate success. It involves values that are important to the business owner and the business in general.

When hiring for a cultural fit, a company will look for people that fit these cultural values. For example, imagine a business that believes teamwork and open discussions are the keys to success. It’s something they live and die by from day one. They’ll be looking for employees that fit these particular cultural values. So, an introvert than prefers working alone won’t be on their radar, as they are the complete opposite.

Plenty of businesses will make hiring decisions based on whether someone is a cultural fit. It’s one of the main things they look for in new employees. Why? Because a lot of people believe that there are some benefits to this method of selecting staff. I’ve listed a few of these believed benefits down below:


Greater Job Satisfaction

A lot of employers believe that hiring for a cultural fit leads to greater job satisfaction. When an individual fits the culture of a company, you can assume they’re a good fit. Both the employee and employer think along the same lines. If someone is working in an office full of people that have shared beliefs, there’s more chance they’ll be happy with their job.


Improved Levels Of Employee Retention

It’s argued that hiring for a cultural fit can also cause improved levels of employee retention. Again, this has a lot to do with the greater job satisfaction. If people are satisfied at work, they’re less likely to leave. Employee retention is good for business, as it can save you loads of time and effort.


Increased Performance And Productivity

It’s no secret that teams perform better when everyone gets along with one another. Some of the most successful sports teams enjoyed success because everyone had the same beliefs and cultural values. The same can be said for business teams too. An office may be more productive if everyone is hired for a cultural fit.

As you can see, there are various potential benefits to cultural hiring. If a business owner looked at these things, they’d be inclined to think a cultural fit is a must-have. However, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s essential that your business hires in this fashion.

Sure, there’s a possibility you’ll see the benefits mentioned above. But, there’s no guarantee this is solely down to hiring for a cultural fit. In fact, some experts believe that businesses should stop this method of hiring employees. It’s thought that hiring for a cultural fit isn’t essential as long as the employees still share the same values as the company.

Now, let’s go back to my earlier example to express this point. Remember that company that focused on teamwork and open discussions? Well, imagine their core brand values were built around providing customer satisfaction. It would still be beneficial if they hired an introvert that agreed with those values.

Furthermore, there are some arguments against cultural fit that make a lot of sense. Check them out down below:


Less Innovation & Change

Hiring a bunch of people with the same cultural thoughts and values can have a negative effect on your company. When you do this, you’re bringing in lots of people that think in the same way. Everyone has the same thought patterns and agrees with the same things. This makes it very difficult for your business to change and become innovative. There won’t be anyone that thinks outside the box and comes up with an original idea. And, a company that lacks innovation may find it harder to succeed in the long run.

It pays to have different minds in the same setup. Especially if they still align themselves with the main values of the brand. This way, you get employees that know what your company stands for but think a little differently. It leads to more innovation, and the ability to elicit positive changes.


Slow Growth

One thing that goes hand in hand with innovation is growth. A business that’s innovative will break free from the rest and grow. So, if you struggle to be innovative, you’ll struggle to see growth - simple!

Hiring for a cultural fit may see you have some instant success. There might be a period where growth is good and things are going well. But, every business will hit a wall at some stage in its life cycle. The secret to getting over that wall is coming up with new and exciting ideas for your customers. If you lack the ability to be truly innovative, then you won’t be able to get over this wall. Your business will stall, and you won’t reach your full potential.

Now, when you look at these arguments, you’ll probably think that hiring for a cultural fit is a bad thing. I think it’s important that you look at the long-term future of your business. Hire people that will help you grow and have sustained success. Also, there’s no evidence to suggest a business that doesn’t hire for cultural can’t see the same benefits. There’s every chance that a company still enjoys a high retention rate. Similarly, everyone could be productive and performing well together.

The problem I have with cultural fit is that it immediately blocks out so many brilliant minds. You’re missing out on so much talent that could be unearthed. Diversity should be welcomed in business, not the opposite. Having like-minded people is great, but you still need a mixture. You need someone to come along with different views and cultural perspectives. By doing this, you can generate ideas you never thought were possible. It unlocks the true potential of your business.

Remember, you can hire people that don’t fit the culture of your business, but still share the same brand values. That’s the important thing to pay attention to here. Brand values are important because they reflect the aims of your business. You can’t have someone working for you if they don’t agree that customer satisfaction is key, and your business does. There’ll be too much conflict, and that’s when things can go downhill.

To sum up, hire diverse employees that share your main values. If you do this, then you get the best of both worlds. They’ll be a good fit for your organization and can bring new ideas to the table. As a result, you’ll see more innovation, leading to increased growth.

David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.