Should Hiring Managers Put So Much Emphasis On Cultural Fit?

How close should a candidate and a company actually be?


Being a ‘cultural fit’ is now the major concern for 80% of hiring managers.

Although it clearly makes sense to hire someone who’s aligned with your company’s culture, it’s dangerous to rely on it too much.

Hiring managers can fall into the trap of employing people who they ‘get along with’ rather than those who can actually do the job. Whilst this might be positive for company morale, it’s possible that this might not translate into profitability.

Organizations often thrive on diversity, when individuals with different mindsets come together to critique current products and processes. With this in mind, consider that many interviewers use the ‘airport test’ when judging someone’s capacity to function effectively in an organization.

This basically comes down to whether the interviewer would like to be stuck in an airport with the candidate. The problem with this is that you’re not necessarily targeting the best employees, but the ones who are most like you. This can create a homogenous workforce, something which can stifle innovation.

There’s real evidence to back this up too.

In a 2009 study by Bloomberg it was identified that companies which had the highest levels of racial diversity were 15 times more profitable than their less diverse counterparts. This proves that this is not just about being politically correct, but driving sales growth as well.

On the other hand, hiring someone who’s going to be incapable of getting on with your company’s culture probably won’t work either. The potential candidate should be aware of what the company’s culture constitutes, and if they have the available skills, the option to make a decision as to whether they’ll going to thrive in the environment.

Companies will continue to pick candidates whose personalities they like, and in truth, it’s hard to blame them for this. It is however proven that diversity, not just in terms of ethnicity but personalities too, can drive a company forward and make them more successful.

Cultural fit is important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that companies make their hiring decisions on.


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