Which is Better? Culture Add or Culture Fit

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Should your company look for a culture add candidate or a culture fit candidate? Is there a difference? Find out which hiring strategy is better.

Did you know that 46% of job seekers say that company culture is one of the most important factors when deciding on which company to apply to?  

When employees find a sense of belonging in their workplace, they tend to stay with the company longer and perform better. Overall, the employee turnover rate will decrease and your employees will be happier with the workplace culture. Building team morale through group activities and recognition are examples of ways to build office culture, but how can a business set themselves up for success in the hiring process? Should companies hire an employee for culture fit or culture add? Should they hire based on similarities or differences?

Here are the basics of what hiring for a culture fit and culture add means. Learn which one of these methods of hiring is best to use to help your company find the right candidate.

What is Culture Fit?

Culture fit is the idea that you should hire candidates based on the similarities they have with the current employees. This method of hiring encourages homogeneity or “sameness” in hopes of improving office culture. Managers hire for culture fit because they want the new hires to get along with everyone who is already in the office. Having a team made up of individuals with similar beliefs and backgrounds can make it easier to relate to one another inside and outside of work. 

Many managers opt into this form of hiring because it is more comfortable and familiar to hire individuals who are just like you and your team. Many culture fit hires come to the company in the form of a referral. Because an employee already knows a person inside the company, it is more likely that they will get along with a homogeneous team than if they were to hire an individual that had no current connections inside of the company. 

Examples of Culture Fit:

  • The candidate was referred by someone inside the company.
  • The candidate is from the same industry as the position they are applying for.
  • The candidate has similar interests to everyone else on the team.

What is Culture Add?

Culture add is hiring candidates that will “add something to the table” despite or because of their differences. This inspires innovation and a diversity of ideas. Having more backgrounds, personalities, and viewpoints will encourage a free flow of ideas that may be different than anything your team would ever come up with by themselves. It can give your current employees a new perspective in the workplace, and improve personal and professional growth amongst employees. 

Examples of Culture Add:

  • The candidate is applying to a position that is outside their industry. 
  • The candidate has a different personality type than the rest of the team.
  • The candidate is from a different background. 

Which One is Better?

At first glance, hiring an employee based on similarities seems like a good option. But, this form of hiring can actually jeopardize the growth of your business. 

The problem with culture fit is that it celebrates sameness when your team should celebrate diversity. When you are in a room full of people who have the same ideas, your company will miss out on the ideas that are outside the box. If everyone on a team has the same personality, background, and interests, new ideas are much less likely to flourish. You won’t be able to create effective change if your team members are too similar to other team members. Culture fit is limiting and facilitates unconscious bias whether you know it or not.   

To combat this, businesses should make a conscious effort to hire candidates who add to the culture of your company. Instead of asking yourself how a candidate will “fit into the team,” you need to start asking yourself what they will “add to the team.”  Do they have new ideas? Do they seek growth in the workplace? Are they open to change? 

Staying in your comfort zone is easy. Hiring employees based on your preconceived notions about how they will fit into the team is easy. What isn’t easy is digging deeper into finding a candidate that will bring something more to the table. 

3 Tips for Hiring Candidates That Add to Your Company Culture

1. Write a company culture statement and mission statement

Before a future employee applies to a company, often the first place they look is the company website to get a sense of its overall culture and mission. If this isn’t clear, or your company doesn’t have an obvious and open mission statement may deter potential prospects from applying to a position at all. Developing a culture statement and mission statement that encourages and celebrates diversity will attract the type of talent that will add to your company culture.

2. Craft specific job descriptions

When writing your job descriptions, be sure to include your company culture and values. Highlighting the importance of diversity and growth-mindedness will attract the kind of applicants that will help your company expand and encourage innovation. 

3. Utilize culture assessments before hiring

There are many types of cultural assessments that your candidates can take to help you better understand their personality and skill set. Using these types of helpful tools can assist you in picking the right person for the job when you are near the end of the hiring process. If you use them for all your candidates, and even your current employees, you can ensure that you have a variety of personality types on your team. 

Good Company Culture Doesn’t Happen Overnight

A good company culture doesn’t just appear overnight. Instead, to create a healthy, positive company culture focused on growth, businesses must make gradual and intentional changes over time. The companies that hire diverse candidates and encourage the flow of fresh, new ideas are the ones that will begin to see that gradual growth within their organizations. It is no longer acceptable to glance at an employee’s resume and decide if they are right for your company. Even employees without a background in your specific field can be an asset to the team as a whole. A company that embraces diversity, change, and growth is a company that will see long term culture and monetary success.

If you are ready to start hiring for culture add instead of culture fit, it’s time to contact a search firm that will hire based on “what candidates add to the table.” At PeopleSuite, we work hard to attract the best talent and identify the right person for the job. Connect with us and start finding candidates that add to your culture!

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