All hiring managers and recruiters are familiar with the surge of excitement that comes with getting a resume from a “superstar” candidate. After all, it’s not every day you get an application from someone with the specific set of skills that matches every word of your job description’s requirements and desired credentials.
But hard skills are just one dimension of what makes a candidate ‘good.’ In fact, if you’re going to make a hiring mistake, it probably won’t be due to technical skill, but because of factors such as attitude, behavior and incompatibility of principles.
It’s for this reason it’s necessary to hire for cultural fit.
What is Cultural Fit?
Cultural or culture fit is one of the hottest buzzwords in the HR and recruitment world. The rise of tech startups owned and managed by young CEOs saw a desire to hire not just for skill, but also for culture fit. So, you had hundreds of guides on how to interview for culture fit and what questions to ask candidates.
Naturally, any trend or movement will always have its share of critics, hence the many articles listing reasons not to hire for culture fit. And for what it’s worth, these criticisms have fair points, one being that hiring for culture fit tends to create echo chambers in organizations staffed with too many like-minded people.
So, is culture fit a real thing?
The Real Reason to Hire for Culture Fit
Hiring for culture fit doesn’t mean looking for people with common personal connections, leading hiring managers to look for employees who can be their ‘friends’ and ‘playmates.’ So, what often happens is teams in an organization have similar interests, hobbies, practices, educational backgrounds, and life experiences.
But this isn’t what culture fit means.
It’s not about hiring people you can have a beer with every night after work. Instead, it’s looking for people who match your company’s core values.
Of course, this means your organization has core values that are upheld by everyone in the organization, from leadership down to the individual workers. If all you’re doing is paying lip service to your company vision and values, then hiring for culture fit won’t work.
What Should You Look For?
What you need to do is rethink how you hire for culture fit. Instead of looking for people who are Cavaliers fans, love Game of Thrones or are into the outdoors, your culture fit approach must go beyond these stereotypes and delve into what candidates believe in when it comes to things like:
- Work ethic
- How they define success
- How they respond to failure
- Whether they can work well with a team
- Positivity in the face of adversity
In other words, when hiring for culture fit, use these core values to guide your decisions.