Why “Culture Fit” Matters When Hiring Employees

Cultural compatibility ensures new hires feel welcome and companies prosper.

By Alyssa Zacharias  •   May 28, 2024  •   7 min read

When searching for the right candidate to hire, you often keep their technical and interpersonal skills in mind. But a good culture fit is equally important—for both parties.

Culture fit is what makes new hires feel connected to their workplace since values and expectations align. And if everyone hired “fits,” you create a cohesive group of people who live by your company’s core pillars (such as transparency, teamwork, and respect).

Read on to discover why cultural compatibility matters.

Why hire based on someone’s culture fit?

When employees are a good culture fit, their soft skills, personality traits, and goals align with the priorities and values of your organization. There are some significant benefits to this, like:

  • A more positive work environment: Employees shape the culture of your company. Workers who exhibit the positive traits you desire reiterate that you expect those behaviors and characteristics.
  • The right brand identity: Outsiders’ impression of your company influences your overall brand identity. Use core values and culture fit-hiring to express the identity you want.
  • Increased employee satisfaction: According to OnHire, 77% of job applicants assess company culture before applying—and 21% say they’d leave a job where this culture isn’t aligned.
  • Lower turnover: Better employee satisfaction means staff want to stay.
  • Effective collaboration: Teammates with the same values collaborate more successfully since there’s less frustration and conflict. For instance, say you encourage bottom-up feedback. If a leader who believes in a strong hierarchical relationship between managers and direct reports joins your team, opinions might clash on how to conduct feedback cycles.

Understanding culture fit bias

Yes—aligning employees with your company’s cultural pillars matters. But this doesn’t mean everyone you hire should share the same background, perspective, and worldview. Don’t let unconscious biases create a homogenous (and potentially discriminatory) workplace.

This might not always feel in your control, with limited cultural fit assessment tools and hiring managers frequently making decisions subjectively. But consider taking a “culture add” approach, where you hire workers because they align with core company pillars and contribute new beliefs and perspectives.

How to hire “culture add” talent: 8 tips

Approaching culture-based hiring as an “add” and not a strict box to fit candidates into means you gain a cohesive team that encourages each other to push their boundaries. 

Here are several ways to create your ideal company culture while reducing bias-based hiring.

1Diversify hiring panels 

Diversity-conscious leadership involves bringing various viewpoints into the workplace. And one of the best ways to create this variety is to diversify hiring panels. Take a team-based approach to hiring, allowing several employees to attend interviews and contribute to the decision-making process. 

Try using Fellow to organize your meeting notes during these collaborative interviews and post-interview sessions. Fellow’s AI Meeting Copilot tracks speakers and relays important decisions and action items in your central Fellow hub so everyone can access this information.

2Implement blind resume reviews 

Resume information that suggests a candidate’s age, race, gender, or cultural background can unconsciously influence your assessment when you should be focusing on skills and qualifications.

For blind resume reviews, have your applicant tracking system (ATS) or someone not involved in the hiring process remove details like the applicant’s:

  • Name
  • Graduation year
  • Address
  • Hobbies
  • College
  • Age

3Establish clear criteria 

When still at the resume-scanning stage, set specific, objective criteria for the role so you (or your ATS) can quickly determine whether the person meets them. Don’t get too distracted by culture-based traits for now—you’ll address them in interviews, when candidates can show off their alignment with core company pillars more effectively.

As you move into the interview stage, you can craft more strategic (and culture-based) questions if you know what you’re looking for. If your company doesn’t already have value, purpose, and mission statements, craft these to identify what you stand for and the culture you hope to encourage. And if you already have this documentation, compile a list of questions that suss out whether a candidate values the same things. Here are a few examples:

  • Creativity: “Tell me about a time when you proposed a new idea to solve a problem. How did you convince others to get on board?”
  • Accountability: “Can you share an example of when you took responsibility for a mistake at work?”
  • Continuous learning: “What steps do you take to stay updated on industry trends and technologies?”
  • Adaptability: “Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a significant change in a project or work environment. How did you approach that?”
  • Remember: You’re not compiling a team of clones. Be open-minded regarding responses here, not expecting one rigid answer but finding ways to understand how the candidate expresses these values. This leads to a more open-minded and unbiased culture fit assessment.

4Offer diversity training 

Leaders are the company’s role models. Develop a diversity-focused leadership culture that prioritizes mitigating biases and welcoming unique individuals. Providing the proper training shows that a diverse culture is a priority for your workplace and arms your staff with the necessary tools to create an inclusive space.

Focus your training on helping staff members overcome implicit biases that lead to discriminatory hiring practices. Promote awareness of these biases, help staff members identify systematic issues, and work with your leadership team to develop more inclusive hiring practices.

5Leverage structured interviews

Structure and standardize interviews across the organization to systematically measure job-related competencies and culture-add traits. You can do this by using the same interview agenda team-wide for similar roles. Ask standardized interview questions and use evaluation rubrics to ensure you assess each candidate consistently and objectively.

Here are a few Fellow templates to get you started:

6Expand recruitment channels 

To foster a diverse and inclusive workforce, seek candidates from varied backgrounds. This requires expanding your recruitment efforts beyond traditional methods to reach a wider talent pool. 

Tap into diverse networks, organizations, and specialized boards. Engage with communities and platforms that cater to individuals from different demographics and lifestyles. 

For example, you could partner with professional associations focused on diversity and inclusion, such as the National Society of Black Engineers or the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, to connect with talented professionals from underrepresented groups in your industry. 

Additionally, consider attending career fairs and networking events targeting diverse candidates, such as those organized by LGBTQ+ organizations, women in tech groups, or disability advocacy networks. 

You could also leverage specialized job boards like Diversity Jobs, Women For Hire, and Recruit Disability.

7Make inclusivity one of your “culture fit” pillars

Having inclusivity as a core pillar means you hire people who want the workplace to include a variety of opinions and life experiences. Emphasize your company’s commitment to this value in job postings and during interviews (perhaps asking questions like “How do you ensure your approach to work, communication, and conflict is inclusive and respectful of diverse perspectives?”).

Starting off with inclusivity as a crucial employee trait means everyone feels like they belong and that communication is welcoming and respectful.

8Track diversity metrics 

Because biases are unconscious, it’s difficult to know if your team is homogeneous. Choose quantifiable metrics to track two things:

  • How effective “culture add” interview questions are at highlighting great candidates
  • How inclusive your hiring process is 

You might check in every quarter with hiring managers to discuss culture fit scores from interviews and whether those employees are adapting well to the job or have quit. And you could survey employees bi-annually (and anonymously) to gain information like race, age, and gender to determine how equitable your hiring practices are.

Let Fellow support your talent acquisition process

Fostering a diverse workforce that aligns with key values and brings something new to the table is up to your leadership team—but Fellow can streamline the process. 

Fellow’s comprehensive meeting management solution supports executives with the following:

  • Making hiring more collaborative: Enable diverse teams to collectively evaluate candidates in a centralized meeting and notes-management hub.
  • Increasing team focus: Let teammates focus on the interview while the AI Meeting Copilot takes notes.
  • Structuring interviews: Use one of Fellow’s many templates to standardize interviews.
  • Diversifying hiring sources: Fellow integrates with various job boards and recruitment platforms to attract candidates from varied backgrounds.
  • Tracking performance: Monitor applicant progress in a shared meeting notes and decisions hub. 

Sign up today and enjoy an improved hiring process.

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