Learning to Hire for Cultural Fit and Attract the Best Talent

By Eric Dickmann

April 23, 2019

Cultural Fit, Culture Fit, Hiring

The world of recruitment is changing. Current trends and competitive job marketplace raise the expectations of job seekers. Today, candidates seek companies that match their values & beliefs. Cultural fit has become an important criterion not only for HR managers but for job candidates as well.Shannon Gausepohl writes in Business News Daily that Cultural Fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are aligned with their employer’s core values and organizational culture. A positive cultural fit can improve the self-esteem of employees by increasing their level of engagement. It makes them feel more competent, motivated and part of a larger team.

Why Does Cultural Fit Matter?

Culture Fit Statistics

  • Deciding to make an offer to a new hire is a major investment. Recruiting and onboarding are expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, you want to get it right the first time.
  • A bad-fit hire creates negative energy and decreased productivity for the team. Even if a new employee is efficient, a negative attitude, infighting, and other distractions can bring down the rest of the team.
  • Having a high employee turnover rate is bad for team morale and business. It disrupts the flow of work, creates inconsistency and creates opportunities for things to fall through the cracks. Likewise, it can affect the confidence of your customers and clients.

How to Hire for Cultural Fit

  • Define your Organizational Culture and Share It. Hiring for cultural fit involves showcasing your culture and evaluating candidates for cultural fit. Build a culture of freedom, flexibility, and trust to attract the best talent. Include a page on your website about your company’s mission and values. Reference these company values in any promotions for the role.
  • Embark on a Culture-Driven Hiring. To engineer an interview process that prioritizes cultural fit, think beyond the traditional. Take your candidate out to chat in a more informal setting, like coffee or lunch. Ask open-ended questions related to your company values. Have candidates meet their potential teammates to see if they fit.
  • Remember What Cultural Fit is Not. Finally, it’s important to remember where diversity fits into this equation. Culture fit doesn’t mean overlooking different cultures and lifestyles, or dismissing personal values you don’t agree with. Hiring for culture fit comes down to making sure employees treat co-workers with the respect that your company values. Diversity adds to your organizational culture. What you’re looking to avoid is a distraction from your mission and values.

How to Attract Top Talent?

Attracting top talent is essential for your business. Employees are the face of your business and you want to surround yourself with the best. Using these innovative techniques, you can remain vigilant in your search for the next perfect addition to your team:

  • Get Your Employees Involved. By initiating a referral incentive program, your current employees will be motivated to recommend stellar candidates. In this mutually beneficial setup, your company will gain quality talent, and existing employees will earn rewards. If employees are willing to refer their friends, it’s a good indicator of a strong organizational culture.
  • Network at Candidate-Specific Events. Tap into local communities in your search for the perfect candidate. Send a representative to attend events, meetups or local lectures. Tapping into a specific talent pool can yield great results – especially from candidates who aren’t actively pursuing opportunities.
  • Hold an Open House. Send out invitations to promising potential hires. It’s one thing to attach a resume to an email. It’s another thing to apply to a job with genuine interest. An open house is a way to ensure the candidate pool includes only the most enthusiastic prospective candidates.
  • Use Social Media Search. Seek out individuals with applicable prior experience on LinkedIn and Facebook. Additionally, you can even search for keywords on Twitter and Instagram associated with the required skills.

Additional Tips for Attracting and Retaining Talent

  • Get Creative with Job Descriptions. Your job postings will be the first impression your organization makes to many people. Craft them in such a way to attract the right cultural fit for your workplace. Remember, when hiring for fit it’s not all about skills and experience requirements. It’s about personality characteristics and shared values. Sell your company as a great place to work and focus more on the kinds of people who would fit in. Don’t create a laundry list of job duties and requirements.
  • Invest in Onboarding. After hiring candidates with a cultural fit, you need to give them proper guidance and leadership. Ask a manager to call and congratulate the candidate. Send out an internal welcome email with a short bio of the new hire. This allows your current team members to reach out and welcome this employee. Make sure you don’t leave anything to chance, from setting up the new hire’s accounts to scheduling lunches with their new team. Show your values from day one!


Making the right hire makes all the difference. Acquiring a great employee brings countless benefits. Look at it as a long term investment. One that will reap dividends for years to come. Find people who will enhance your organizational culture, not distract from it. Look for team players and remember that past performance and current skill sets are less a factor than cultural fit.

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the founder of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast - The Virtual CMO, and a CMO On Demand for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies and bring innovative products to the market.

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