What you should know about hiring for cultural fit

July 2nd, 2019 by Mitchell Sullivan

When reviewing a candidate’s resume, you gain an insight into their background and experience, but rarely anything that truly reveals who they are on a personal level. While hard skills such as technical abilities and competencies are needed for every position, there are soft skills that are often required to compliment those functional ones. Soft skills such as communication, creativity and emotional intelligence personality traits that determine how well an individual will mesh with your team. This is otherwise known as cultural fit.


What is cultural fit?

Cultural fit means that the employees behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s mission, values and company culture. Try to imagine being highly introverted yet working in an office that promotes open spaces and collaboration to boost creativity this might be an example of a bad cultural fit. How the employee likes to work, what they expect from their career and so on, are all determinants of how well they’ll adapt to your company. 


What are the benefits of hiring for cultural fit? 

  • Improved work culture
  • Employee retention 
  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Connection to the company
  • Employee satisfaction 
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased performance 


First, you need to define who you are culturally as an organisation. 

To know who to hire and how to hire for cultural fit, you first have to understand who you are and what you’re looking for:

  • What makes you unique? 
  • What values are at your core? 
  • Why do your employees get out of bed to come to work each day? 


Answering those questions provides guidelines for determining whether a candidate is a cultural fit, rather than just relying on a “gut feeling” during your interview process (Source: Forbes). 

After you’ve determined who you are, you can begin to recruit members to your team who match that mindset. 


Here are 5 things to consider when Hiring for Cultural Fit:

  1. Notice the difference between the individual and the employee.The applicant is not interviewing to be your friend; they’re interviewing to be a great employee at your company. Don’t lose sight of this during the interview. What you like about a candidate personally shouldn’t trump their potential as an employee (Entrepreneur). Even if it would be nice to have someone else who watches cricket in the office.
  2. Be creative with your job ads.Everything about your job ads, interview process, careers page etc., should outline who you are as a brand particularly, if you’re not a well known one. Showcase your company’s personality on your job ads to attract like-minded individuals. This includes creating a careers page, and company value page outlining who you are as an organisation.
  3. Fix/update your employment brand.Your employment brand is the perception in the market of what it would be like to work for your company. If online reviews are depicting you as a company that is ‘fun’ and ‘outgoing’, then that is the type of candidate you will attract to your job openings. The power is in the hands of the candidate and the application process now begins before a job is even submitted. 
    If your employment brand isn’t reflective of who you are, work on it. Analyse your online reviews, ask your current employees to give feedback on what you can improve and make strides to update or continuously work on your employment brand. Failure to do so may attract people who are the wrong fit for your workplace.
  4. Don’t reduce your diversity.Typically, your products and or services are in the wider community, a community that is diverse and ever changing. It’s important to note that cultural fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are the exact same demographically speaking. 
    Regardless of your industry or niche, innovation will rarely come from a homogenous group (Source: GOW Recruitment). You’ll need to maintain a diverse group of employees who are able to bounce different ideas off of each other. People’s ideas are often influenced by their unique background, age, gender, etc.  This diverse group of employees only need to be able to identify with your core values to be considered a ‘cultural fit’.Corporate team holding hands in a meeting room
  5. Don’t ignore your onboarding process.Approximately 20% of employees leave within their first 45 days at a new job. If this is the case at your company, is what you’re broadcasting about your who you are and your values actually a reflection of the inner workings of your company?Lots of companies like to claim their mission without truly embodying it. Don’t do that. Take strides to ensure that the company culture you’re promoting is actually what is on display in your office. Click the hyperlink for more information on new employee on-boarding


Writer Annie Dillard famously said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And according to an analysis from Huffpost Australia, the average person spends 13 years and 2 months of those days at work. The people you work with on those days and the culture of the company can have a profound impact not only on an individual workers happiness, but the company’s overall performance.