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The Importance of Hiring for Cultural Fit

During the hiring process, it can be far too easy to fall into the habit of assessing candidates and recruiting for positions based solely on technical ability. A major consideration that is too often forgotten is a potential employee’s cultural fit for your company. Getting this right has vast benefits for both the company as a whole and the employee being hired.

Hiring Process

In order to create a recruitment and selection process that can successfully identify clients who fit the culture of a company; the values and goals of the company must be established first. This includes the strategic vision that the organisation is striving to realise, the type of work environment they aim to foster, and the way in which they deliver their goods or services. Establishing these components and then designing the recruitment process around them ensures that there are distinct competencies to address when assessing candidates, and a hiring company is more likely to make the right decision.

Screening/Vetting for Cultural Fit

One benefit of screening applicants for cultural fit is how seamlessly it can be integrated into the recruitment and selection process. What’s more, the hiring process can be guided by this idea, thus ensuring the length of the entire procedure is not adversely affected. Questions in an interview setting will reflect the desire to have strong cultural matches, and may include the following:

  • “Why do you want to work for us?”
  • “What kind of workplace culture do you thrive in?”
  • “What best practices can you bring from a previous role?”

The responses to these questions should provide a fairly detailed and practical guide as to how congruous a candidate’s values are with that of a company.

Situational Questions

In the interview process, looking at the potential cultural fit of a candidate does not necessarily have to be addressed quite so directly. Posing situations to a candidate and observing their response in line with the organisation’s culture is an effective way of seeing how someone’s actions reflect what their values are. For example, an organisation that values honesty and confidentiality could pose a question to a candidate such as “If you found a colleague’s payslip in the photocopier, what would you do?”. An answer along the lines of discretely returning the payslip to the person, or putting such documents back through to the HR manager in an appropriate manner reflect a positive congruence with the organisation’s values; thus increasing the chances that hiring that candidate would make a constructive addition to the organisation’s culture.

Benefits of Hiring for Cultural Fit

Having employees that are a good fit with the culture and values of their organisation obviously contributes massively to the social wellbeing of the group; but also has positive, tangible benefits for the employee themselves. Research shows that employees who feel connected to their organisation’s culture have greater levels of job satisfaction; are more likely to stay with the company; and display higher performance levels.

Other Considerations

An important note to remember in this instance is that hiring for culture does not necessarily mean that a company will end up having a staff base made up of the same type of personality. This would be a negative outcome if it were the case, as growth and development are fostered through the collaboration of different people. Hiring with culture in mind still attracts a range of different people, thus allowing a company to create or maintain a richly diverse workplace, and reap the benefits of such. Another noteworthy consideration is that the reason for undertaking this type of process rather than simply hiring for ability alone is because it is easier to teach someone how to excel in their job than it is to teach them to love where they do it.

The recruitment process can sometimes be a complicated one, but highlighting candidates that suit your business well is the first step to facilitating a future with stability, positive workplace culture and reduced staff turnover.

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