Seeking out individuals who align with your company’s culture and values is an effective approach to building a cohesive workplace. Technical skills and competencies aside, the lingering question asked of recruiters is “will they fit with the culture of our business”.

You might think that cultural fit is about a gut feel but there is more to it, than that. It’s not a feeling and its certainly not about hiring people you like or who are like you. The advice we provide to our clients is to firstly understand what the culture is, in your business (and whether it needs to change) and then assess potential new hires based on their ability to thrive in this environment.

With ten years’ experience in executive and governance recruitment in New Zealand, here are some simple tips from Decipher Group on how to assess someone for cultural fit.

1. Understand your culture and define it

Think in terms of your company mission and what values and beliefs link to your mission. Is it healthy and are there elements that you need to change? This is a critical step because ultimately, you’ll be making decisions on who you hire, and fire based on your culture.

2. Make sure the role accurately reflects what is required

When the work that a new hire is given, doesn’t match what was sold to them during the interview process – this is often written off as a lack of cultural fit. The reality is, that it’s an ill-defined role.

3. Find out what motivates people

It’s certainly not the easiest part of the selection process but understanding a candidate’s personality and values can give you an indication of their “fit” for your business. You can uncover this gold, simply by the way you ask questions – think more in terms of a behavioural type approach. For example, what do you value most at work? or what do you like most about working in a team?

4. Think twice about the hiring manager

During the interview process, a candidate will be assessing your business as much as you are assessing their fit. The hiring manager is essentially the face of your business during this process and the candidate will be taking cues from them.

5. Involve others

Interviews can be quite formal. Think beyond the traditional and consider introducing further steps that involve wider members of your team. When you’re down to the preferred candidate, take them to lunch with the team that they will lead, or bring them out to site for a factory tour and observe how they interact with others in the business. For those candidates that are completing their own due diligence, this will also give them a good indication of the culture of your business.

6. Listen to advice

As mentioned earlier, hiring for cultural fit doesn’t mean finding people who are like you. This is where the advice from a good recruitment professional comes into play. Have them sanity check your decisions to make sure you are not building a team of “same same”.

The key takeout is to uncover and understand your culture; truly assess candidates on their ability to adapt to your culture; and don’t leave it to a “gut feel”.

Need help?

If you are looking for direction and assistance on unearthing the best talent for your business, get in touch with us. We’d love to chat.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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