Cultural Fit - Getting it Right

Technical ability and an appropriate skill-set are essential for a new employee to perform well in a role, but an organisation’s needs and expectations extend further – cultural fit lies at the heart of a good appointment.  This is particularly the case higher up the food chain where technical ability is almost guaranteed, and it is cultural fit where the real need for testing lies.  With executive level appointments risk is greater, as it is those forming part of the leadership team who have the greatest degree of influence on an organisation’s culture.

It is no secret that getting the cultural fit right will reap numerous rewards.  An employee at harmony with their organisation’s values and standards will typically be more productive, engaged and loyal.  As an Executive Search firm, our efforts expand much further than simply matching qualified candidates with role profiles; cultural fit is central to what we do.  Our work involves forging deep, meaningful relationships with organisations and candidates alike, which allows us insight into their unique cultural habits and behaviours; aiding our ability to find the right candidates for our clients. 

Psychometric profiling is commonplace in today’s recruitment arena, however it should only be used as an indicator to compliment the overall decision process. Candidates and hiring managers should consider the below steps to achieve a successful appointment.

Be yourself: Whether you are a hiring manager briefing a headhunter, or a candidate in an interview process, let your true character and personality show.  It allows us, the headhunter, to represent you accurately and candidly. Adapting yourself and changing your style significantly may not benefit either party in the long run. 

Be realistic:  When considering your next move, take the time to consider the type of organisation you wish to work for.  Culture significantly differs between businesses. Whilst achievable, are you ready to take the leap from an owner managed SME to a large blue-chip, or from manufacturing to a professional services environment? Equally, are you as the hiring manager sure such a candidate is right for you?

Be definitive:Take the time to identify your organisation’s true culture.  What are the values, beliefs and behaviours that exemplify your way of working? Job descriptions and adverts should be underpinned with messages that clearly demonstrate this to ensure you are attracting the right type of person, as well as a specific skill set.  Your culture should be one of your unique selling points.

Be inclusive: The interview process should be a collaborative effort internally.  Ultimately the appointee will be required to interact with all levels of your organisation; therefore it makes sense for candidates to meet a selection of employees to test their ability to really ‘fit in’.  As a candidate don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunity to meet a number of employees to allow you to make an informed judgement on fit.

Ultimately, cultural fit is imperative to any organisation’s hiring, however rather than hiring an identical workforce, the need for diversity should not be lost.  Those that fit with a company can have a broad range of personality traits and previous experience, but at the core will share the same values and beliefs.  Do not be afraid to hire individuals who challenge the status quo, drive competitive advantage and enhance creativity, but be sure they still fit well with the business.

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