What “Hiring for Cultural Fit” Means to These 5 Pros

One giant light bulb came on over employers’ heads not too long ago, and it represented an idea that changed the way we hire. Employers realized that skill set wasn’t the end-all be-all; in fact, skill set is now playing second fiddle to cultural fit.

While meeting minimum job requirements is non-negotiable, it hasn’t gotten us too far. There has to be more, and that more is cultural fit. Values, culture, vision –they all mean different things in different organizations, so there is never going to be recipe for nailing cultural fit, but there is always something to be said for seeking good advice…

“Successful companies understand the values that are core to their culture. And they consistently hire people who will practice those values and project that image effortlessly. Think about your company: Do you know the values that are core to your organization? And do you screen applicants to ensure that those values are also important to them?” -Sheila Margolis, President of Workplace Culture Institute (@SheilaMargolis)

Margolis seems to have defined the first step for companies who want to begin hiring for culture fit. They must define and communicate the values on which the culture can be built. Need help figuring out what your company values are? CEO of OpenX, Tim Cadogan shared his journey in “10 Lessons in Defining Your Company Values.”

“There is a ton of truth to the adage, ‘Hire for attitude and train for aptitude.’ But have we taken it too far? When there are tons of smiling faces walking around, will anyone care if the lights go out at the Super Bowl? Yeah, they will. Keeping a good balance in your workforce means keeping a balance in your hiring process. Hire for attitude — yes, but make sure they are trainable. Happy businesses go down the tubes too.” -Raj Sheth, Co-founder of Recruiterbox (@Recruiterbox)

This is Sheth’s warning to employers that there needs to be a balance here. While hiring for cultural fit has proven to lower retention rates and increase engagement, that doesn’t mean we can overlook the basic competencies of candidates.

“The company culture should be an important ingredient in any employer-branding efforts. And social media is making it easier to share cultural values with interested applicants. Now companies can respond to questions on Twitter, make dedicated recruiting videos to upload to YouTube, share pictures from a company picnic on Facebook and create a talent community on LinkedIn.” -Heather Huhman, Founder and President of Come Recommended (@HeatherHuhman)

It is not only more important than ever to display your company culture, according to Huhman, it is also easier than ever. The tools and tech that recruiters have at their disposal make it so simple to get dynamic and creative with their outreach.

“Over and over I hear from founding teams who learn that they chose the wrong staff or realized too late that they hadn’t created a structure and talent pool conducive to the type of corporate culture they desired. Don’t let this happen to you. Invest in the right people and build the business you want to lead.” -Patricia Fletcher, High-tech Marketer (@PKFletcher)

Fletcher presents a very eye-opening point –hiring for culture fit isn’t just something recruiters are doing today, it is something that needs a more strategic approach. Cultural fit needs to be a part of your talent pipelines, recruitment voice and talent forecasting.

“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.” – Blair Forlaw, Workplace and Business Consultant (@BlairForlaw)

This one was saved for last because; well it’s pretty awesome and very true. The idea behind hiring for cultural fit isn’t to create clones or an exclusionary culture. The idea is to create more collaborative teams, better places to work and an all around more cohesive vision.

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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