Employers: What You Should Know About Assessing for Cultural Fit in Tech Hires
What Does Cultural Fit Entail, and How Do You Know If A Candidate Matches Up? Find Out Here!
Company culture isn’t just something that lives in a handbook. Sure, you might have it partially outlined somewhere, based on a short list of core values. But culture is the living, breathing behavior patterns of everyone at a company – from the way they conduct team-building events to how they decide what behavior is and isn’t acceptable. Consequently, culture determines many of a business’s most impactful decisions, including who gets hired and let go.
Though we collectively understand the theoretical meaning of the word “culture,” how can a hiring manager even begin to determine what that means in your workplace or who suits that and who doesn’t? We’ll walk you through that, and how to make cultural fit a seamless, bias-free part of your hiring strategy.
How to Hire for Cultural Fit
As we alluded to before, once you’re inside your own culture, it’s hard to assess or define the key principles that make you, “you,” as an organization. We suggest starting with what you’re not so you can uncover some of your culture-fit dealbreakers. For example, if you pride yourself on operating a collaborative and busy work environment, you might refrain from hiring someone who prefers to work in a siloed manner without interruptions.
From here, you can identify more common threads among your current staff, especially your highest-performing staff. What motivates them to come to work every day? Does the team thrive on bringing ideas to work and enjoy brainstorming sessions? Or do those discussions stay within managers’ walls?
Additionally, think about your company’s image on your best day. Would you say yours is operating at full speed when it’s more collaborative and cooperative?
If you have core values listed, use those to evaluate serious applicants. Some companies have even succeeded in giving applicants a letter grade on how they ranked for core values and probability of positive cultural fit.
Watch for Bias
Whenever we talk about cultural fit, we can never forget about bias, most notably, unconscious bias.
As Harvard’s Professor Youngme Moon noted, “There are so many industries that have a history of relying on the soft stuff, and the soft stuff has worked in the favor of a particular kind of individual. The truth is the soft stuff is often a euphemism in many cases for bias. For people being able to use their discretion to hire people who are just like them — that they are comfortable with, that look like them, that act like them, that talk like them.”
Though tech deals in hard sciences, it can also fall victim to the “soft stuff” of subjectivity. Bias can have an unfortunate effect on your efforts to create more diversity in the workplace. A recent field experiment demonstrated that for every 10 resumes someone with a white-sounding name sends out, they’ll get a callout. However, on average, it takes five additional resume submissions for someone who has a name common to Black Americans, to get that first outreach.
Bias can occur later in the hiring process as well. For example, if you hire someone based on the assumption they’ll be competent just because they’re easy to talk to, you owe it to both your company and the candidate to assess your preferences carefully.
Though the “beer test” (“Would I enjoy having a beer with this person?”) is an infamous hiring strategy, it could exemplify affinity bias in hiring if you’re not careful. For example, did you enjoy your time with them because they shared your alma mater or grew up close to your hometown? You could be unknowingly applying an affinity bias to your hiring decision.
The Importance of Cultural Fit in Employees
When implemented mindfully, cultural fit is vital for high-growth organizations. Employees who can thrive in your organization will be more engaged and willing to invest in the company, resulting in higher retention rates.
A 142-country Gallup report on the “State of the Global Workplace” shows that 63% of employees are not engaged at work and 24% are actively disengaged, leaving a mere 13% of workers who are happy and productive in the work that they do. Cultural fit helps foster a workplace dynamic where the employee feels valued as an essential part of the larger, teamwide effort.
Contact Us Today!
Ready to learn more about hiring the right people for your tech company and driving them to achieve a positive, profitable workplace dynamic? Contact our specialized recruiters at TeamSoft today to optimize cultural fit for your future employees!