The Importance of Cultural Fit

The recruitment process can at times feel long and laborious. It begins by choosing the right applicant tracking system with which to hunt for the best candidate. The next step is onboarding that candidate during a background verification process. In between, many hiring managers discount the importance of cultural fit. Hiring managers may scrutinize skillsets and experience, feeling assured the incumbent can perform, but what if the candidate simply doesn’t “fit” your organization? A poor fit is unlikely to remain in the position, and before long, you are beginning the process all over again!

A good cultural fit is a candidate who fits the organizational culture, mission, values, and vision. A culture is defined by the methods in which people work and behave when occupying the same space. In 2006, Davide Ravasi and Majken Schultz stated that an organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions guiding what happens in organizations within various situations. ( In today’s workforce, employees reference a good fit as being a more important factor in their decision to join an organization than base salary.

Two examples of work cultures are as follows:

Organization 1 – The dress code is casual and the environment is engaging. There are no cubicles within the physical office space, which then encourages brainstorming sessions, teamwork, and group-oriented projects.

Organization 2 – The dress code ranges from business formal to business casual attire. The office is divided into smaller sections to facilitate focused work and individually driven projects.

If a poor cultural fit is placed into Organization 1, the hire might be perceived as a bad team player. Similarly, a misfit in Organization 2 may come across as irresponsible. Culture can make all the difference in moving the new hire process to conclusion.

Job Satisfaction:

Strong cultural fits tend to feel higher job satisfaction and levels of commitment, and are likely to remain employed by the organization for a longer duration.

A good cultural fit should be recognized during the initial round of interviews. There are specific questions to help gauge if the candidate will fit with your company. Here are few worth asking:

  • What is it about our company that makes you want to work here?

This question reveals how the candidate feels about the company and the homework he or she has completed in preparation.

  • What kind of working culture are you looking to partake in?

This again reveals how the candidate fits within your organizational culture.

  • Describe the best boss you’ve had.

This provides insight into what type of management structure the candidate would best perform within. If a candidate values guidance and frequent feedback but your organization revolves around independent work, you may want to reconsider this candidate.

  • How do you feel about your current colleagues?

This provides insight as to what kind of relationship the candidate typically builds with colleagues. For example, if a candidate looks forward to working with skilled professionals he or she may tend to maintain more professional relationships and less friendships at the workplace.

Employer brand significance:

The recruitment process is more complex than at first appears. A well-known employer brand often attracts strong talent and cultural fit. By creating content that clearly illustrates your company culture, the best candidates are more likely to apply. Platforms such as Glassdoor and Comparably are fine ways to showcase the culture of your organization.

The right attitude and work style are just as, if not more, important than skill credentials in predicting cultural fit. Taking the time to consider the best fit for your workforce in terms of personality, soft skillsets, and co-worker engagement will not only attract better candidates, but create a more efficient new hire process and timeline.

Navin Gautham P.

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