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Should You Hire Based on Culture Fit?

By Garrett Spence   |    March 6, 2017   |    12:14 PM


Hiring employees who are an optimal culture fit is essential for any startup.

Leading a team that is naturally on the same page will be much easier than trying to guide a group of disjointed personalities. Culture fit is the cement that holds the bricks of your startup together. That’s why, when recruiting, it is vital to seek employees who will be a good fit. Even if you need to hire different personalities for different roles, they all need to share common values and motivations. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the consequences of inadequate culture fit can lead to a high turnover, thereby costing an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary. Therefore, before hiring your startup employees you need to take the following steps.

Begin by defining your startup's culture according to your goals, ideals, beliefs.

You should think about how these can be manifested in practice, in everyday activities and across the startup. It is a good idea to create a document that summarizes these values and then issue it as a formal statement which will also support your brand identity. Once your company culture has been identified, it should be expressed succinctly in all marketing and communication materials, especially your website and job postings. Once you have worked out exactly the type of culture you want to promote, you can then begin to seek employees for your startup that mesh with those ideals.

You should place adverts that reflect the cultural hallmarks that are important to your startup.

Once you start to receive applications for the job you should scout the web, looking at sites such as Linkedin, and other social media, to investigate whether the individual's pages demonstrate that they would be a good culture fit. For example, you might want the cultural hallmarks of your startup to be eco-friendly thinking combined with savvy entrepreneurial ethos. If an applicant's profile on Linkedin displays that they care about the environment and are also ambitious go-getters then you can presume that they should be a good culture fit. You should ask them for an interview. Anybody that does not look like they would be a good culture fit should not be invited to interview.

When the applicant comes to your offices you should have a list of questions prepared that are geared towards evaluating whether the applicant is a good culture fit. You might want to ask:

• What values are most important to you?

• How would you define your ideal workplace?

• What type of culture do you thrive in?

•  Tell me about a time when you worked in an environment where you found yourself at odds with company ethos. Why was it a bad fit?

The answers the applicants give should allow you to assess if they are a good culture fit. Finally, give your applicant a tour of the office whilst paying attention to the candidate’s behaviour and interactions, this way you should be able to see firsthand if their behavior and values are consistent with the values you espouse.

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