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Hiring the right fit

January 5, 2021

Hiring the right fit

When you need to hire people for your team, of course you want them to be the best possible candidate for the job. To ensure this you can employ a whole host of tools and interview techniques to assess their skills and competencies.

Guess what? The candidate that emerges as the ‘best’ through the screening process may not always be your best option. Whilst they are a good fit technically, they may not be a good fit for your organisation culturally. In this article, we will take a look at what it means to ‘hire a right fit’ and why it is so important.

Job Fit + Culture Fit = A Right Fit

What is job fit?

There is a high degree of compatibility between the employee’s qualities, capabilities and the job requirements.

There are many ways to assess job fit, and interviews are one of the most effective. However, sometimes interviewers can be swayed by those qualities that are not necessarily related to the actual performance of the job, such as appearance, likeability and how candidates handle themselves in the interview. When this occurs, their insights of the candidate’s ability to perform the role are not competency-based.

What’s more, we need to recognise that it is extremely rare for a candidate to possess every technical skill on the job description or ‘wish list’. Hiring managers need to be realistic about their ‘must have’ skills vs the ‘nice to have’. More commonly, candidates will meet the core technical requirements, with additional soft skills and product/company specific knowledge being developed through on-the-job training.

What is culture fit?

Hypothetically you have two potential hires who are both outstanding, but you only have one position to fill. How will you decide which of the two to hire? This is a typical scenario when you will want to consider culture fit. You want to hire the right person for the organisation, and not someone who is only capable of getting the job done.

Culture fit happens when an employee’s personal and professional values and beliefs align with and complement those of the company they work for. To be specific, the person should:

  • Share same core values with the company
  • Fit in with the overall culture and vision

However, culture fit doesn’t mean you need to hire the same kind of people all the time. As Katie Bouton states in her article ‘Recruiting for Culture Fit’ for HBR, the values and attributes that make up an organisational culture can and should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce.

The importance of culture fit

While job fit is undoubtedly crucial to hiring the right employee, there are many reasons why finding candidates that align with your company culture is even more important. One study shows that there is a positive correlation between an employee’s culture fit within the organisation and the employee’s longevity at a company.

Some other benefits of employees being culturally fit include:

  • Higher quality of work and increased productivity
  • More efficient collaboration among team members
  • Improved employee retention
  • Increased levels of engagement, contribution, and creativity from employees
  • Higher level of employees’ wellness
  • Happy employees make great company ambassadors and you will have better referrals!

Will your next hire be a right fit?

It’s good to understand why culture fit is important, but how do you measure it?

Like job fit, culture fit is also evaluated throughout the interview and hiring process. For example, when interviewing candidates, you can ask questions focused on core values and the culture of the organisation. To do so, you need to define what your company culture is: What does your company stand for? What are the core values, beliefs, vision, etc.? Culture is an in-depth topic but one thing to bear in mind is that company culture constantly evolves and hence, your assessment should too.

During your hiring process consider using these tips to help you find the right candidate that fits culturally too.

1. Standardised assessments

Assessing one’s personal/professional values might be subjective, which can result in a biased hiring process. That’s why it is a good idea to use a standardised assessment as one of the ways to measure culture fit.

2. Ask the right questions

What’s ‘right’ here will depend on your organisational culture. Asking culture-specific questions during the interview stage certainly helps in identifying whether a candidate aligns with your company culture. For example:

  • Can you describe the work environment in which you perform best?
  • Tell me about the best team you have worked with and what made the experience so rewarding
  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen?
  • Is this something that works for you?

3. Ask candidates to spend time in the office

Open-day or team-building activities are good opportunities to invite your candidates to, and if possible, to participate in activities as well. It will give both the candidates and you a good idea of how they will ‘fit’.

In summary a candidate who is both the right job and a culture fit will make for an enthusiastic, loyal and productive employee. To find that person, there are many things companies can and should focus on.