Dos and Don’ts of Hiring for Culture Fit

February 12, 2019 By: Dave Rietsema
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Employees generally spend more time working than they do on any other single task. If an employee loves their job and fits in with the culture and people around them, this time becomes a staple of their life and those people become like family. If an employee doesn’t fit with the culture of the company, it can affect their job satisfaction and lead to lower productivity or cause them to leave.

Hiring for cultural fit is a good idea, but many hiring team members tend to get it wrong. The following are a few dos and don’ts to remember when hiring for culture fit.

Do: Consider Skills and Qualifications

Skills and qualifications should be foremost when hiring. While people can be trained to do specific tasks at your organization, they should have a base of knowledge that will help them to be successful. No amount of personality or cooperativeness will replace good old fashioned experience.

Don’t: Rule out Candidates That Have Worked in Different Industries

When it comes to experience, consider candidates that have worked in different industries. While the tasks may not be exactly the same, candidates coming from other industries often bring a fresh perspective to the situation. Make sure that the candidate possesses the qualifications that you’re looking for, but don’t disregard their work experience because their years have been spent doing something slightly different.

Do: Look for Values Alignment

An employee that’s on board with the business mission and vision has deeper motivation to do well than an employee that’s just in it for the money. A candidate that speaks excitedly about how they feel about the company’s progress in certain areas will be more likely to stay with the company and motivate the other employees than a candidate that simply talks about their experience and has no real connection to company values.

Don’t: Hire Only for Amicability

Many hiring managers make the mistake of hiring people that they “would like to have a beer with” or that are very personable and get along easily with everyone. This can limit diversity in the workplace. Not everyone will be outgoing and have outside interests in common, but that doesn’t mean they won’t fit with the company culture and provide valuable input.

Do: Provide a Tour or Realistic Job Preview

Giving a promising candidate a tour of the workplace or having them perform actual job tasks for a few hours can really assist with assessing culture fit. You may get a glimpse of how the candidate interacts with other employees, their problem solving abilities, and any issues with skills gaps that may not have been obvious in previous stages of the hiring process. You may also be able to garner feedback from other employees about their feelings on the candidate.

Don’t: Ignore Your Gut

If you know your company well, you will have the advantage of intuition about certain candidates. Even if everything looks right on paper and the job preview went well, don’t ignore your gut if you feel that the candidate may not work out. Conversely, if a candidate doesn’t fit perfectly in all areas, but you feel that he or she may rise to the challenge, it might be beneficial to give them a chance.

Hiring for culture fit can be tricky, but can really help with retention and job satisfaction. Applicant tracking system (ATS) software can help with screen tests, background checks, and guided interviews that can make it a little easier to assess culture fit. Check out our vendor match page to see how we can help you select your perfect ATS solution.


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