Companies have long prided themselves on hiring for culture fit—but this approach is riddled with mistakes:
- It perpetuates cultural platitudes. If we had a dollar for every company that says their culture is built on a “work hard, play hard” mentality, we could retire tomorrow. Explaining culture in platitudes is unsubstantiated and unoriginal. What makes your culture unique? Having specific examples that bring culture to life sets better expectations and ensures candidates are opting into your culture, as opposed to a generic statement.
- It focuses on the existing culture. If all candidates were cultural fits, an organization would be off-balance and static. Instead, leaders should focus on hiring for cultural adds. These people will embrace the culture and bring complementary skill sets, thereby increasing the company’s capabilities. If there’s a question on whether a candidate will be a cultural mismatch, it’s important to discuss it with them directly instead of making assumptions, such as anticipating they’ll be a drag on their peers or, conversely, that they’ll naturally adapt to the culture over time.
- It considers culture to be fixed. Truth is, the most evolved companies revisit culture over time. As an organization changes and people come and go, surveying employees annually keeps a pulse on whether the culture is consistent and relevant. Culture shouldn’t be imposed from the top down, but rather created and cultivated by all employees—having their input is critical to growing engagement and the business.