Hiring for Culture Fit Correctly

Team Management

Hiring Discrimination

Everyone wants to fit in and feel valued. When it comes to the workplace, this is especially true. A strong culture fit can mark the difference between a cohesive, productive team and a toxic, underperforming team with a high turnover rate.

The true definition of Culture Fit

Companies typically have their own defined cultures already. It can be seen in the ways people collaborate with each other, treat each other and work together in the same environment. Hiring for culture fit means finding someone with a working style that matches the company's culture so they can thrive in that unique working environment.

Where does hiring for Culture Fit go wrong?

It's common for recruiters to misunderstand the concept and think that culture fit means hiring an employee that they 'would like to have a drink with,' instead of considering how the candidate's unique work ethics and personality traits align with and bring value to the company.

Implicit Bias

This misunderstanding can cause hiring managers to pick people because they 'feel right' and are similar to them and the rest of the team. The recruiter may rely on their gut feeling, which could lead to them blindly following any unconscious biases they may hold.

This leads to a company's team members looking and acting alike; and it can exclude diverse talent. As a result, diverse talent (people of a different gender, race, ethnicity, religion, politics, sexual orientation, age, and life experience) will have an arduous time finding employment in their field and the community can be impacted.

The company, becoming aware that they have made the mistake of hiring too many similar people, may then throw away the concept of culture fit to focus only on skills and experience. They could hire qualified people that are different from them just to try and diversify the team, only to find that they have difficulty interacting with the team, have trouble thriving and showing their best work, and end up resigning.

A lack of new ideas and innovation

There can also be a lack of diverse ideas, because the people on your team have similar backgrounds and experiences. They could fall into groupthink during brainstorming sessions and project meetings – a scenario where people in a group tend to lean toward the same decision without using any form of critical thinking.

A lack of creativity will result; and your company will underperform compared to companies that have teams built with people from varied backgrounds, experiences, and affinities.

Toxic work environment

Due to the overwhelming commonalities in beliefs and backgrounds among team members – and in the absence of established core values and workplace ethics – the potential for a toxic work environment is possible.

Common symptoms of a toxic workplace:

Getting Culture Fit Right by focusing on Values Fit Instead

A more effective and safe way of ensuring you select candidates that truly fit into your company's culture is by embracing the concept of Values Fit.

This is where the focus goes towards the personal characteristics that show how a person behaves in various situations, how they treat and view others, their motivators, and their decision-making process.

The Benefits

How to adopt a values-based recruiting strategy

  1. Map out what beliefs and standards are important to your company.
    How would you like your company to impact society? If it were an individual, what are the characteristics you would use to describe it? These are your company values.
  2. Define the expected behaviors/actions that stem from the company values.
    This prevents ambiguity: individuals may interpret your values in different ways based on their own personal experiences. Making these definitions will serve to clarify the values' true meanings.
  3. Ensure company values get communicated across all of your job advertisements and postings equally.
    This will help to attract the types of candidates your company is looking for and needs.
  4. Have candidates take personality and aptitude questionnaires.
    Here are some of my favorites: 123 Career Test, O*NET Interests Profiler, PathSource, 16 Personalities, and Skills Matcher
  5. Ask values-based situational judgment questions.
    Take the expected behaviors/actions (from #2) and craft questions around them to judge how candidates would react in certain situations. Their answers will help you determine whether they share the same values as your company or not.

A few examples of potential company values

Examples of values-based interview questions


Hard Work/Motivation:







Continuous growth/improvement:

Moving forward

Once you have established your company's core values and have hired employees that share those values, the most important step is to actually live these values!

The company values need to be reinforced and employees should be held accountable if they don't uphold the behaviors and actions that support them.


Hiring people who hold values which align with those of your company is key in ensuring how committed to and satisfied employees are with their job, promoting positive team morale, and creating a more prosperous community.