The best employees have that perfect balance of talent and cultural fit into your company. Both qualities mean different things for different companies, depending on the industry, the type of company and the management that leads it. Talent is easy to assess—you can look for prior success, degrees, and qualifications, but cultural fit is harder to assess objectively. Company culture is basically a fancy term for “the way things are done around here,” or the beliefs and values of a company.
You want to hire people whose beliefs and behaviors align with those of your company. When you develop culture based on who you hire, you’re more likely to retain employees and improve their engagement and performance. Here are reasons why you should look for both talent and cultural fit when hiring.
The Importance of Talent
A great team of talented and qualified employees is invaluable. You need to staff your team with people who have the proper skills, training, and experience. Without that, you won’t have innovative people who can help your company grow. But great talent can distract us from cultural or personality mismatches.
Defining Company Culture
Company culture is employees’ shared assumptions, norms, and beliefs about their work. These beliefs influence their behaviors, which must support the vision for the company.
The Importance of a Cultural Fit
Hiring employees that don’t fit well in the desired company culture leader to disengagement, poor work quality, decreased job satisfaction, and potentially, a toxic environment. When employees mesh well with their co-workers and buy into company values, they’ll be more passionate about what they do, will be more successful, and are more likely to remain with the company. But remember that cultural fit doesn’t mean hiring lots of people with the same background and experience. Instead, too homogenous an organization will result in a company that lacks diversity and creativity.
Finding Cultural Fits
A lot of candidates prepare their answers to interview questions ahead of time, which means they can sometimes seem disingenuous. So take time to walk the candidate around the office, introduce him to key team members, take him to lunch, or invite him to a meeting. Then you can assess how well he seemed to fit in and respond to the chemistry in your workplace.
After that, ask him how he might describe the company’s culture and how well he believes he’ll fit in. Find out his priorities for an ideal work environment and see if they match what you already have.
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