Why the ‘culture fit’ candidate is the most fit candidate

Read on to learn how you can cultivate a culture fit workforce.

Of all the benchmarks modern employers use to assess the the viability of job candidates, culture fit is arguably the most important. The problem is, identifying applicants who seamlessly stitch into your company's set of cultural values is more difficult than just comparing square pegs and round holes. It requires an innovative set of interview processes and unique tests that can really tell you which candidates fit like a glove, and which just have the appearance of proficiency.

In this post, we'll take a closer look at what culture fit is, why it's so important and how modern organizations are gauging it as they seek out new talent. 

Let's talk about turnover

Employee turnover is the bane of human resources departments. Why? Well, for starters, it's expensive. According to one study, it cost 30 to 50 percent of an entry-level employee's salary to replace him or her. For mid-level managers and other supervisory roles, that percentage spikes to about 150 percent. For highly trained specialists and corporate executives, we're looking at 400 percent of their salary. So what does this have to do with the rise of culture fit? The short answer is, everything

"Culture fit is the glue that holds an organization together," Katie Bouton wrote in the Harvard Business Review. "That's why it's a key trait to look for when recruiting." 

"Glue" couldn't be a more apt way of explaining culture fit, which in plain terms, can be defined as how well an applicant meshes with the corporate values and the existing lines of business. Just because a candidate is qualified to do a certain job, doesn't mean that he or she is the best fit for that position. There are plenty of qualified candidates, but only a few who can, as The Wall Street Journal puts it "fit in from day one."

Interactive interview processes are great way to identify culture fit  candidates. Interactive interview processes are great way to identify culture fit candidates.

Venturing into the world of gamification

Let's say that the candidate is a strong fit on paper and that they appear to have a charming demeanor during interview processes. Expertise and strong communication skills are important, but how does an organization then determine how well an applicant will fit into the corporate culture? 

This is where things get really interesting.

According to The Wall Street Journal, one Canada-based tour company assesses culture fit by placing the top candidates in a ball pit, and then spinning a wheel with a specific set of interactive questions such as this: "What's a signature dance move and will you demonstrate it?" Based on how these candidates respond, the company can get a deeper, more well-rounded sense of each candidate's personality.  

This is called "gamification," which is the use of games, puzzles or other interactive processes as a means to an end (i.e. training, team building, applicant interviews). Employers can use gamification to create and conduct personality-based assessments to narrow down applicants by culture fit. 

Other examples of this might be providing applicants with thought experiments, puzzles, team-based problem solving or unusual open-ended questions such as "what kind of animal best describes you?" 

"Actions speak louder than words."

From all of this, employers will ideally learn about character strengths and weaknesses that aren't readily apparent. Put another way, actions speak louder than words. 

Taking your first steps toward culture fit

Assessing culture fit requires a great deal of thought among hiring managers, and in many cases, input from team members that will be working directly with the new hire. The problem is that creating these internal frameworks adds a lot of additional work to the recruitment cycle.

At the same time, culture fit has become a key component of talent acquisition, and organizations need to start moving in that direction if they want to reduce employee turnover and create a highly functional workforce. 

To circumvent this problem, we recommend reaching out to a recruiter who can take on some of the earlier processes in the application lifecycle, such as vetting resumes and performing preliminary interviews. This will free up some time for employers to focus on what matters most: culture fit. 

Contact prosourceIT today to learn more.