Stop Saying Culture Fit

Culture Fit is so last year.

We recently read an article that resonated with us about the idea of culture fit. The author explains the tension between finding a candidate that “fits in” and is able to hit the ground running, while still fulfilling the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Coining a new phrase “culture add”, she states “you are looking for candidates to bring in new ideas, a different point-of-view, and bring out different traits in others in a collaborative, positive way.”

As you look to hire new people this year, consider these few things before begin conducting interviews to ensure you find candidates that don’t just fit in, but who add value and a new edge to your culture.

culture fit

Start With the Basics

When hiring any candidate, the first thing you should do is go back to your mission and vision as a company. Consider where you are and where you’d like to be, and determine how this particular role will enable you to get there faster.
Here are a few questions to consider:

    • How does this role tie into the mission and vision of the company as a whole?

Be as specific as possible about the job function and how this fulfills your mission. If your job description is functioning as it should, this should be fairly obvious.

    • Attribute their future responsibilities and past experience with your company values.

For example, at PerkSpot, one of our values is people, so for a customer service role we would be looking for a candidate who has experience demonstrating how they consider others, whether clients or colleagues, when performing specific tasks.

Examine Current Strengths

Think about your current culture. We don’t just mean looking around and seeing what race, ethnicities, or genders surround you. Instead, consider where most of your employees come from, what they like to do in their free time, and any natural “cliques” that might have formed. By examining your current culture, you’ll get a great idea of your strengths and weaknesses.
Consider these questions to help you get a feel for your culture:

  • Are most of your employees thoughtful or more aggressive?
  • Does your company sway with having more doers or thinkers?
  • Are your employees more aspirational or pragmatic?

You may even want to take it a step further and do personality tests at work to see which personalities are currently represented and which ones you may be missing. Plus, it will help your current teams work better together by understanding what makes them tick. Win-win.

Determine Areas of Growth

Once you’ve determined how your current culture is leaning, this should give you a good sense of where you need to grow. Take what you’ve learned and think about where you want to go.
These questions can help you get started:

  • What viewpoints are currently not being represented (or underrepresented)?
  • Are there any types of experience you are missing on your team? For example, if most of your employees have worked at a large corporation, maybe you could benefit from hiring someone from a start-up environment.
  • Are there any client demographics you are struggling to reach and how do they compare to your office culture? This is huge for not only improving your culture, but increasing revenue as well!

Create Your Process

Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for, it can be easy to fall into the hiring bias trap. Make sure that you conduct interviews in a methodical way that levels the playing field for candidates. By having a set of five to ten questions that you ask each candidate, this ensures you’re giving everyone a fair chance to express how they fulfill the needs you’re looking to meet. Here are a few staple questions to include:

  • What about their previous company culture did they like or dislike?
  • What are some ways they’ve dealt with problems in the past and how did they come to a solution? This gives great insight into how they process information and develop solutions based on personality and past experience.
  • What most excites them about the role and the company?

Hire Well

Hiring isn’t about finding your new best friend or a clone of your most successful employee. Every candidate has unique experiences and backgrounds, and it’s important to find the one that can add the most value and meet your needs. Don’t just hire for culture fit, hire someone who will push you and your team to step outside your comfort zone and see the world through a different lens.

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About Katie Williamson

Katie Williamson is a Senior Marketing Associate at PerkSpot, providing creative insights and challenging the way we think about the workplace.

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