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Cultural Fit in the Recruitment Process: Five Things To Consider

Posted by Kathleen Smith

More and more it’s accepted theory that recruiting for cultural fit results in improved, longer lasting hires for your organization.

You think you’ve found a perfect employee candidate. As it turns out, they looked good on paper but may not thrive in your work environment or the agency’s work environment. Why not?

It’s no longer enough for a candidate to have only the right job experience, they must also have what it takes to be a good cultural fit. When there is a solid mesh with employee and culture it leads to increased engagement and a decrease in turnover. It’s important to realize the culture of your organization is what makes it distinctive and also what drives the business goals. Prospective employees need to buy in to supporting the mission.

Assessing Priorities for Improved and Longer-lasting Hires

Corporate culture in the workplace has been a topic of recruitment conversation for decades, but the most persuasive research is relatively new. The term “cultural fit” started to gain widespread use only over the past few years, when some of the world’s most successful organizations embraced the theory in the recruitment process.

Here are five things to recognize when considering cultural fit when recruiting.

Cultural fit isn’t a mindset with most companies

If you currently bring cultural fit screening into your recruitment efforts, then you have already set your organization apart from the majority around the world who do not.

An international poll of recruiting professionals and job seekers indicates that over 80% believe cultural fit is imperative, but only a few put the practice in use. A low 32% of employees surveyed stated that their company includes cultural fit in their recruitment process.

Culture is a difficult concept to articulate. Most define it as a company’s values, mission, principles, standards and attitudes. Organizations that do not emphasize culture during the interview process are in danger of losing the fight for top talent, particularly when their competitors can validate a solid cultural fit to candidates.

Think about using questions like these during the interview to determine a good fit:

  • What is it that you value the most in the workplace?
  • How do you feel about working on a team?
  • Do you have a preference for working individually?
  • What do you consider model qualities in your supervisor?
  • How do you feel about socializing with colleagues?
  • Talk about a time when you delivered excellent service to a customer or a co-worker.

Cultural fit is as important a factor as capabilities or experience

It’s now being recognized that it’s more difficult to develop an employee’s fit into the workplace than to develop their skill base. An impressive 78% of survey respondents believe this to be true. This is a bit contrary to past beliefs which emphasized the importance of appropriate experience and job knowledge. Most respondents stated that cultural fit was not something that could be developed over time, whereas employees could grow into their work role.

Employees will always need to have suitable skills and experience, but cultural fit is becoming the differentiating factor that can increase the chances of a successful employer/employee relationship. Work place compatibility is a powerful complement to job knowledge.

Cultural fit is important to both employers and job seekers

Your distinctive workplace culture is a beacon for prospective candidates. More and more job seekers are starting to seek out companies based on their perceived knowledge of a company’s culture. This is particularly true of millennials who rank “people and culture” as the highest ranking factor in their job search. Candidates (65% of survey respondents) across all industries and experience levels are likely to accept less compensation in order to work for a company with a solid cultural fit.

You can improve engagement and retention

While there are multiple benefits to including cultural fit in recruitment, engagement and retention stand out as vital factors. Both of these components lead to work productivity, improved job satisfaction and increases to the bottom line.

Employees who feel they are more aligned with the vision and mission of a company tend to be more efficient in their work output. Those who are engaged are more likely to perform above and beyond expectations. Cultural fit builds a solid sense of esprit des corps and respect which translates to meeting business and mission goals. It enforces a “We’re in this together” mentality.

Engagement in turn is one of the most effective ways to build retention. Employees who feel like they are part of the big picture and who are united in the mission tend to remain loyal to their employer. The bottom line can take a big hit when there is high turnover, so retention becomes very important to financial success.

Cultural fit should be an addition to hiring requirements, not a replacement

Obviously cultural fit is not the end all, be all. As mentioned earlier, it’s a valuable complement to the hiring process. It should not be exclusionary. Rather than eliminating or diminishing qualification based hiring procedures, cultural fit should be measured alongside these factors. It’s an important consideration that when used appropriately can result in successful long-term placements.

In conclusion

If cultural fit is not already an element in your hiring process, it’s time to think about including it. This won’t require a substantial overhaul or a major shift in principles. This practice involves defining and communicating your company’s culture along with developing interview inquiries that can gauge a candidate’s fit into the workplace. Doing so should deliver solid results.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 09, 2018 12:29 pm

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