Stop Hiring for “Cultural Fit”

When your company is hiring, do people focus on whether a candidate is a good “cultural fit” for the organization?

If the answer is yes, you’re in good company. The vast majority of managers surveyed worldwide consider cultural fit to be one of the top priorities in hiring, explains Lauren Rivera, an associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg. But, she explains, this is generally a bad instinct.

Hiring for cultural fit, when done well, can boost retention and productivity. But most organizations do it badly, Rivera says. Instead of looking for people who share the company’s values, hiring managers look for people who share their own background and interests. And if the people doing the hiring are predominantly male, or white, or wealthy, then they perpetuate that lack of diversity in their organization.

“What you’re going to get is a copy of your existing employees,” she says. “In many instances, it is a form of discrimination.”

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