Hiring for Cultural Fit: Do You Need the Culture Interview?

Company cultures can look and feel very different from organization to organization. Furthermore, the idea of cultural fit will vary greatly as well. Does it mean the clothes the candidate wears, what they do on their free time or whether or not they’ll join you for a beer after their third round interview? The best explanation that we’ve found of cultural fit is from Blair Forlaw (@BlairForlaw), Workplace and Business Consultant:

“Building a workforce where everyone ‘fits’ doesn’t imply homogeneity, which breeds group think — a fatal flaw in a competitive global economy. Most employers strive for the right balance between ‘fit’ and inclusion, knowing that diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and abilities are essential in fostering the creative friction that drives innovation, continuous improvement, and competitive advantage in a dynamic marketplace. It is possible to achieve both.”

The Cultural Fit Interview

Companies that have paved the road in hiring for cultural fit, like Zappos, have a totally separate part of the interview process aimed entirely at assessing cultural fit. The inclusion of such interviews grants hiring managers and recruiters the confidence that the candidate has the necessary skills to do the job, and that they are a culture fit for both their future team, and the organization as a whole.

The Goals of Hiring for Cultural Fit

With 89% of hiring failures being attributed to poor cultural fit, it is vital to have established goals, and strategy behind your process in hiring for cultural fit. Once the basic skills and requirements are assessed and met, the next goal of the culture interview is to ensure that the candidate has a full understanding of the core values of the organization, and how they are reflected in culture. The interviewer will also be looking for how cultural traits that match those of the company have been proven or reflected in the candidate, and their previous work experiences.

So, Do I Need Cultural Fit Interviews or Not?

Roughly 50% of employee engagement stems from cultural fit. Given what we know about the returns of employee engagement (in both productivity and increased revenue), cultural fit interviews sound like a necessity, right? There’s actually a better way…

Employee Assessment Tools like Psychometric Testing

Traditionally used in schools and universities, psychometric testing has become increasingly popular in the recruiting and hiring. These tests take the subjective matters in hiring, and make them as objective as possible, so that employers can assess a proper fit for hiring.

The reason behind the recent popularity of psychometric testing in hiring is in part due to the increasing cost of frequent bad hires. 41% of companies surveyed say that a bad hire in the last year has cost them at least $25,000. So, finding the right fit is essential not only culturally, but also for the monetary success of the organization.

The Return on Hiring for Cultural Fit

Yes, hiring for cultural fit does throw another step into the process, potentially lengthening your time-to-hire, and certainly requiring more resources from your hiring team. Are you seeing dollar signs? Please consider that every expense has to be looked at strategically, otherwise it’s all just money going out. You must also track the return on such investments to prove their worth, and make informed decisions about the allocation of resources.

As recruiting costs continue to escalate, bad hiring decisions are becoming more costly than ever. A recent CareerBuilder study showed that 27% of employers reported a single bad hire cost more than $50,000. Additionally, instead of screening out potentially high performing candidates unnecessarily in a biased and unstructured interview process, employee assessment tools introduce a fair and standardized selection process.

We like to say, “Your employees spend 70% of their lives working. A bad fit makes it feel more like 100%.” Beyond retention, productivity and even engagement, hiring for cultural fit can create more satisfying places to work. That’s exactly what we’re passionate about here at Vitru — creating better workforces and designing better teams through simple, cost effective psychometric testing. These assessments are fun, effective and they are vital in the search for cultural fit hires.

Bio: Ryan Mead, CEO/Partner

Vitru is an online application that provides tools to evaluate and build better teams. Powered by science yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams. From students and nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies Vitru works!

Great organizations, regardless of size or mission, understand that powerful team chemistry is impossible to force; but when it happens, it’s magic.

Vitru allows team leaders to create and assess teams virtually and in doing so helps quantify what makes an outstanding team outstanding.

Want more? Visit our blog and sign up to automatically receive our fresh-weekly articles.

Tweet me at @GoVitru

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