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5 Tips to Recruit for a Cultural Fit

5 Tips to Recruit for a Cultural Fit

Guest Post by Megan Webb-Morgan, ResourceNation

Hiring employees who fit with your company’s culture is an important element of the recruitment process. Since 46% of employees fail within 18 months – with the primary reason being lack of culture fit – it’s important that your new hires are a cultural fit.

While a variety of background checks, reference calls and referrals are all excellent ways to determine the right candidate, they don’t give you the insight on cultural fit. So, how can you get the best candidates for your culture?

Define Your Culture

Before you can begin to assess your job candidates, you must first define what your company culture is.  Having a written set of values to refer to during recruitment can make your hiring process more transparent, more objective, and less prone to decisions based on the personality of the interviewer.

  • Corporate culture is defined as the philosophy, values, behavior, dress codes, and other values that together constitutes the unique style and policies of a company.
  • On a deeper level, your company’s culture is comprised of how each person thinks and makes decisions; their communication style; and the pace at which they work.

Assess Your Culture

Does your company culture – and the ways that your current employees express that culture – fit with the values your company claims to promote? Are your employees living and working according to your company’s mission and goals?

There is no better way to alienate a new employee than to provide them with a description of your company culture – and then have them discover that the culture is very different in practice.

Consistency vs. Change

Upon inspection, you may determine that your company culture is unhealthy, or that there exists a rift between how the culture is defined in writing and practiced in life. In order to create a more positive, transparent, and productive work environment, you may need to make changes to your culture.

  • Encourage your employees to change their behavior to fit your company mission and values; becoming more communicative and collaborative, for example.
  • Hire new candidates who embody the values that you want to promote and who can help you move in a different direction.

Interview Questions

Learning how a job candidate fits into your company culture necessitates asking interview questions that uncover their values, work style, and management preferences. List the company values you think are most important, and turn them into interview questions. In order to weed out insincere or canned answers, delay providing an explanation of your company culture until after you have asked these questions:

  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you were most productive and happy.
  • Define the roles of an effective manager.
  • Do you prefer working alone or in a team, and what percentage would you allocate each?
  • What expectations do you have of management in an organization where you will work successfully?

Check References

It can be difficult to assess how well a candidate fits with your company based solely on their interview and resume. After all, both of those sources are biased by what the candidate chooses to say or leave out. In order to form a better overall picture of their work values and qualities, you should reach out to their work references.

  • Describe your company culture and ask previous employers and supervisors if the candidate would be a good fit in such an environment. Try to get a sense of what kind of values the candidate has and how well those fit with your company. Remember, references can really only answer yes or no questions, so don’t inquire more than legally permitted.

Making hiring decisions based on culture doesn’t necessitate that all of your employees are carbon copies of each other. Rather, their work styles should complement each other in ways that promote, rather than hinder, teamwork and productivity. Look for candidates who have the right qualifications and who will be comfortable working within your current corporate framework.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as business sales. 


Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


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