Hiring new candidates is a huge responsibility. During a job interview, recruiters may feel inclined to hire people that perfectly fit the company culture, and are on the same page of the future team. ‘Cultural fit’ is a term used to explain how companies are identifying the right candidates in this very competitive marketplace.
Does hiring for cultural fit mean hiring like-minded people that are going to get along and work well together? Or does it mean hiring a group of people who are really pushing one another to grow and thrive but who don’t necessarily have the same perspective?
Why going for culture fit may not be your best option
Of course, most job candidates see culture fit as a top consideration when choosing a company to apply for.
When companies are hiring, most of the time they go for culture fit candidates, because it means hiring people who fit their potential role, who would get along with their colleagues easily and share their company’s sense of purpose and values. It seems an easier (and safe) choice. Usually, colleagues who share a similar approach to work can make a happy and productive team. Being on the same page is a good perspective, but on the other hand, it may lead to stillness and stagnation of ideas.
The philosophy of hiring for culture fit doesn’t acknowledge how a different point of view can raise the productivity of an entire team. A study from Columbia Business School reports that diverse teams make better decisions, deliver greater financial returns and change how individuals think. So, maybe it is time to hire diverse people, people that would create different kind of interactions.
What is a diverse team
When we speak of diversity, we don’t mean skin color or country of origin. In this context, we mean different styles in solving problems, different communication styles and ways to interact.
Creating a diverse team means looking for people that can do something different than what the company already does. It can contribute with different ideas, original plans, creative solutions.
It’s important to stop hiring for cultural fit and instead hire for cultural contribution, for what people can bring to the company.
It’s important to have things like complementary skill sets and different perspectives, realities and experiences. It may not be the safest choice at the beginning, but it is where original things come from.
Uniqueness is the key
The real reason to hire a candidate should not be the culture match, but his/her own uniqueness. Recruiters should ask “What makes you unique?“ during the interview, and reward the most interesting and original answer.
Change is a constant we must embrace, so we shouldn’t look at culture as something that remains static, but as something where employees can grow. A culture grows stronger when everyone is able to bring their whole self to an organisation, their own diverse personality and their distinctiveness.
However, misusing culture fit has consequences. Jobseekers, especially millennials, seek a diverse workplace with a thriving culture, a place where they can stand out and make a difference.
Culture is always a hot topic in HR, and it is always going through transformations. There are always recruiters wondering how to attract the best talents. Maybe, a new strategy should be tried in the hiring process. All the time companies talk about culture fit, which talents better suit a job description. But it is time to change perspective, and try bold plans. It is not time to talk about culture fit. It is time to talk about culture shake-up.