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 Culture fit: what it means for employees?

Nov 10, 2021
8 min read

Culture fit is an element of screening potential candidates, based on individuals’ values, attitudes, and beliefs. It is very important to an organization that the candidate’s core values and beliefs are in line with the company’s business culture. Check out everything you need to know about culture fit and its value in the business world.

What does culture fit mean?

Every company has its own culture, which (if organised well!) should reflect its mission and core values. A company’s culture can be defined as the everyday assumptions, beliefs, values, behaviors, norms, and actions of employees in pursuit of the company’s goals or mission. Modern companies are looking for employees whose individual values, beliefs, assumptions, work mindset, behaviors, etc. are similar to those of the firm. Two particular examples of values are diversity and inclusion, something most companies are increasingly reflecting on, and working to implement.

Candidates that are serious about standing out in the recruitment process should check out the company’s site, to understand its culture and tailor their application accordingly. Employers will screen a candidate’s application – including their soft skills, core values, assumptions and behaviours, to consider whether this individual might match their company culture. If their values, norms and behaviours line up with the company’s, we can say that the individual is a great “culture fit”.

Why does culture fit matter in organizations?

The world of recruitment processes is changing rapidly nowadays. Companies are doing everything they can to find competent and valuable employees. Current trends like digitalization, remote work, reinventing the employee experience and diversity, affect not only the local job market, but also change the expectations of employees and employers. That’s why the candidate’s values, beliefs, behaviors, and personality are becoming more relevant for organizations.

Culture fit is a very important criteria during the recruitment process. The recruitment and HR team need to consider if the candidate fits the company and the rest of the team. The recruiter can ask a candidate to do a culture fit test, a workplace mindset test, a personality test or other similar tests. The assessment of culture fit takes place not only during these tests, but also during the interviews. Sometimes it is a very difficult challenge to identify the candidates who will make a positive contribution to the company’s culture and will fit in with the team. 

For example, a candidate who likes individual work will not suit corporate culture wherein teamwork is one of the important values. On the other hand, a candidate who likes stability will not feel good in a company where the most important value is innovation. Every candidate should be aware of the company’s culture because it is a very important factor during the effective recruitment process.

Why should founders and team managers care about culture?

The importance of workplace culture may be understood as a fingerprint or DNA — unique to the organization, even if it seems similar to others. Michael Watkins even said that “Culture is the organization’s immune system” which means that the culture may protect against working with the wrong people.

One of the core challenges for company founders is to embody their company’s culture and set a standard for others to follow. Sincere and multifaceted core values should be reflected in everything they do. A strong company’s culture leads to more motivated employees and increases the commitment of every person in the corporation or startup. It is very important to create a positive work environment which may be described as comfortable, tolerant, collaborative, team oriented, open-minded and in line with the company’s industry. A company should promote crucial values like trust, innovation, diversity and inclusion, responsibility (including to the environment), teamwork, positive work set, taking care of the customers andethics, among others. 

  • Question 1: What work environment helps you do your best work? 
  • Question 2: How would your coworkers describe your style of work?
  • Question 3: What management styles really motivate you?
  • Question 4: How do you imagine your ideal day at work would look like? What would you work on and what sort of organization would it be?

Hiring for culture fit vs hiring for skills

It’s important to distinguish here between two main recruitment methods: hiring for culture fit and hiring for skills. A lot of candidates’ resumes list their skills, but some employers are looking more for the culture fit of new employees. Hiring for skills seems to be easier because the recruitment team doesn’t need to spend a lot of time on the whole process. 

Unfortunately, that can result in a side effect — newly hired employees may have a great set of hard and soft skills, but if they don’t fit the organizational culture, then they may not work effectively and may even be destructive for the whole team. That’s why hiring for culture fit is a great choice for modern companies. The company should find employees who share the values, assets, and mission of the organization. 

We should emphasize that the ideal situation is hiring for both — culture fit and skills, because that will result in finding the best employees. Towards that end, an organization should implement recruitment interviews and psychometric tests. 

What is a culture fit assessment?

A culture fit assessment is a collection of methods designed to check the candidates’ culture fit and their behavior at work. The assessment can include a number of questionnaires and tests, such as personality tests, cultural-specific questions and assessment centers. Companies that hire for culture fit should implement a high-quality assessment consisting of a test, a questionnaire, and an assessment center, to compare the individual’s core values, behaviors, work mindset etc. with those of the company. 

Culture fit — a summary

Culture fit is one of the most important aspects of the contemporary recruitment process. More and more organizations are looking not only for competent and specialized employees, but also for candidates who will fit in with the company’s organizational culture. Nowadays, culture fit shouldn’t be underestimated because the match between employer and employee may decide the success of the company and its business actions.