A company’s culture can make or break a business. And with employees at the backbone of it all, they are the drivers for success. Therefore, when hiring, companies typically not only look for candidates who have the right skills for the job, but who also seemingly will mesh well with organizational values and goals. In the past, this has been known as “hiring for culture fit.” Today, however, the practice is not only proven to be unsuccessful and outdated but can encourage bias and hinder new ways of thinking.
While hiring someone who is aligned with company goals and purpose is unquestionably important, hiring someone who can add value to your preexisting culture is equally so. This practice is known as “hiring for culture add”—putting a strong focus on what an individual’s differences can bring to the table, rather than how they currently fit in to a mold that already exists. Doing this can help your organization be more innovative and resilient—and therefore outperform others who aren’t as diverse in their hiring practices.
Here are three ways to ensure you’re prioritizing culture add over fit when hiring new employees.
Identify ways you can complement your existing culture to meet future goals
While your company culture may be established, it should always remain fluid. Rather than searching for candidates who fit the framework for your current culture, you should think about your culture shortcomings and how additional skills can help improve them.
Different points of view and experiences can help propel your company into new areas for growth while motivating other employees. So, when determining which attributes to look for when hiring for culture add, ask yourself these questions:
- What attributes are needed to succeed at your company today
- What are our future goals and what’s needed to meet them?
- How can you inspire your current team members and keep them engaged?
- What skills, knowledge, and experiences are your teams lacking?
Train your hiring managers to spot unconscious biases
It’s common for interviewers to connect better with people like themselves, and therefore want to hire them. This unconscious bias can lead to a culture of homogeneity that is anything but diverse. To help overcome this, it’s important to train your leaders to not only spot these biases but correct them. Are your hiring managers asking questions that will determine if a candidate would “fit in” with their team during a happy hour or are they asking questions to determine how a candidate can “make a true impact.”
Brands like Facebook have banned the words “culture fit” from their hiring processes altogether, and have created trainings on how to identify bad hiring habits and fix them.
Your hiring managers are the ones who will need to know how to recruit candidates who will add the most value to your organization. The first step is educating them on how to challenge their thinking and make decisions that will positively impact the organization as a whole.
Structure your assessment criteria
Since hiring typically takes place across many teams by many different people—hiring for value add can be subjective. For this reason, structuring your interview process in a way that defines what value add means to your organization and what attributes a candidate must possess can help you be more consistent across the board. Consider creating a score card for each attribute and assigning a weight to it. This can help your team better gauge candidates based on the same criteria and will ultimately keep them accountable for hiring for culture add.