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Think ‘hiring for culture add’ not ‘hiring for culture fit’

Culture is a huge consideration for all companies.

Candidates are more in tune with what company culture means to them and are putting more time and effort into making sure they find a company that shares and promotes similar values to the ones they hold.

Typically, companies have sought to bring people in that “fit” their existing culture and ways of working. Hiring teams and managers have traditionally tried to find people like them who share the same outlook and perspective as them.

However, hiring this way and bringing in ‘more of the same’ leaves companies at risk of becoming stagnant and unable to develop, innovate and grow effectively. Therefore, the focus is now switching to finding people who are going to ‘add’ to the culture and bring something different into the business.

But how and where do you start? We’ve compiled some tips to help smooth out the recruitment process. 

How to hire for culture add 

Unfortunately, different biases will always come into play during the hiring process. Whether it’s when you’re reviewing a CV/resume, interviewing candidates, or finalising your decision to offer a candidate, it’s important to be aware of the decisions that you’re making.

If you’re to start hiring for culture add, make sure you consider the following:

Define and understand your culture first 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this means you need to do more than just put inspiring words on an office wall or an ‘About us’ page on your website. Focus on creating a culture that defines who you are as a business, what you value, and how you want to be perceived both internally and externally. 

Involving the wider team in defining who you are and what you stand for is a great way to increase buy-in and engagement across the business too.

Naturally, a better understanding of where your business’s real values lie can help direct the way you want to operate in the future. 

Avoid ‘we’ve always done it this way’ 

The reality is many businesses can be reluctant to change, meaning that they miss out on the range of benefits that being open to new ideas and new ways of doing things brings. 

Allowing employees to bring fresh perspectives and voice their ideas needs to be genuine and authentic. Without fully committing to change and focusing on what someone can bring to the company, this strategy will never work.

Walking the walk and talking the talk internally will make it easier to give examples of what’s working during the interviews, will give you something to shout about on your website and social pages, and will no doubt resonate with the candidates you’re trying to attract.

Carry out a people gap analysis 

Do you regularly check your financials and carry out analysis on your products? Then why aren’t you doing the same with the people within your business? 

Take time to analyse what skills and desired attitudes your teams are lacking and make these your key criteria to look out for when interviewing candidates for new positions.

Think about hiring more analytical, detail-orientated people if you currently have a team full of creative thinkers or hiring a new person with experience outside of the industry if your goal is to promote new ways of thinking. 

Remember to look at where the shortfalls are and make a point to look out for them in the hiring process.

Reflect, reassess, and readjust

Once you’ve changed your approach from hiring for culture fit to culture add, look at the data and see how the changes have impacted the company. 

Is there anything that suggests the change in approach is working? Are you seeing a better quality of hire? Does the team seem more engaged? Have retention rates increased?

Whatever you choose to look at, make sure you’re aware of the impact and follow the available data and information.

Final thoughts 

Today’s workforce is placing greater emphasis on finding businesses that align with their values and facilitate a culture they want to be a part of.

For businesses looking to attract and retain employees in a competitive market, being proactive and moving from a recruitment approach that hires for culture fit to one that focuses on what the candidate can add, will not only improve their chances of growing effectively but will also futureproof their business for the years to come.