It’s time to bid farewell to cultural fit.

This argument is presented in a Lead with indeed article by author LaFawn Davis, Group Vice President of Environmental, Social and Governance at Indeed.

Wait a minute! Isn’t cultural fit an important component of securing that dream employee?

At face2face Recruitment we believe cultural fit is key. We also agree that “culture add” is key.

Challenge your cultural fit questions

Cultural fit questions must be relevant to the job at hand. As Davis argues, some organisations ask offbeat questions like “What’s your favourite song?” How is this relevant, however?

A candidate might love a heavy metal song, but if the interviewing panel believes this style of music is too “out there”, the candidate—even the best candidate—could be eliminated. Another example is the candidate who quotes a classical music piece, which the interview panel may feel is too traditional for their style of organisation.

As Davis puts it: “Unless the candidate is interviewing for a job with a band, what difference does their favourite song make?”

Read more about cultural fit questions.

Think about your diversity and inclusion program

Diversity and inclusion targets can also lead you to choose a candidate who might not be the best of the bunch. So have a robust discussion about this with interview panel members so you don’t get caught out.

Be wary of selecting based on like-mindedness

Unless you’ve developed a recruitment strategy to fill a gap for like-minded candidates, be open to engaging candidates with varying views and ways of thinking.

Disqualifying a candidate because they don’t think and act like you can rob your organisation of the opportunity to become richer, more diverse and in a stronger competitive position. As Davis argues, using “like-mindedness” as a hiring consideration can lead you to consciously, or unconsciously, eliminate candidates because of your own bias. Do you really want your organisation to be “same-same”?

Be cautious of candidates who play the cultural fit card

These days, candidates are more aware that employers test cultural fit. Great candidates do their research. They talk to recruiters. They think through scenarios so they shine at interview.

This includes working through cultural-fit scenarios in advance so the candidate demonstrates how they’ll reflect your values. Some candidates, however, play the “cultural fit card”. They might know they don’t fit but to get the job have formulated answers to prove they will. Hiring such a candidate could work against you in the long run. It can also cost you valuable recruitment time and money.

What is culture add?

Culture add is when you really challenge the ability of a candidate to bring in fresh and unique ideas and diverse experiences. It goes one step beyond just “fit” to the real pluses the candidate can “add” to your team.

Some employers achieve this by widening scope. They look outside their bubble to encourage candidates from different industries who have a fresh approach. Employees from a different industry can ask new questions and look at problems from different angles. This can be hugely beneficial.

How do you achieve culture add?

Critical assessment

The first step with culture add is to critically assess what you’re really looking for in the role and the essential skill sets.

While the job description will cover some of this, does it cover everything?

Working with a professional recruitment agency can help you dig deeper with your assessment. It can also provide an independent view and fresh perspective.

Use Rubric-based scoring

Use Rubric-based scoring or another professionally developed system. Rubric-based scoring can help you get beyond the cultural fit roadblock. This is because the system defines a way to consistently assess candidates.

So, a recruiter might ask a hiring manager exactly where in the Rubric-based scoring system the candidate fell short. If the hiring manager can point to something specific, relevant and important, there may be a good case for moving to another candidate. If the hiring manager can’t do so, however, the recruiter should challenge that thinking, especially with strong contenders.

With Rubric-based scoring, a candidate is scored against these competencies—first impressions, preparation, personal attributes, general attitude, personal appearance and responses. Scoring is against “needs work”, “‘better” and “best”.

Be inspired with these articles on company culture and cultural fit

Company culture: What you need to know

Cultural fit: Techniques for getting it right

10 reasons employees will stay (besides $)