DOES HIRING FOR ‘CULTURE FIT’
When successful tech companies
popularized corporate culture as an
asset to be fostered and shaped about
15 years ago, it didn’t take long for
“culture ;t” to become the new jargon
used for hiring decisions that are
based on personality traits. Considering culture ;t as part of the overall
package is a good thing for companies that have taken the time to carefully de;ne and weigh the cultural
components of the hiring decision.
But few companies have gone
through the rigor of making their
“culture ;t” objective and measurable. Rather, HR professionals and
hiring managers have simply adopted
a new term for explaining hiring
rationale that otherwise might be
classi;ed as invalid.
“I’ll know the right candidate when
I meet him,” they’ll say. Or, “We
didn’t click. I don’t think that candidate will ;t our culture.” Statements
like these indicate that the hiring
decision is based on a subjective
assessment more than on the candidate’s ability to deliver results.
If hiring managers de;ne culture
;t in terms of personality traits,
favoring certain job candidates
because they “are friendly” or “have
a good attitude,” those managers
hinder their organization’s ability
to innovate because of its homoge-
nous workforce. Conversely, hiring
managers who describe their culture
in qualitative terms, such as “low
structure” or “high autonomy with
value of diverse hiring, and several
are making great strides in combat-
ting bias. But not everyone is there
yet. The companies at the forefront
of e;ecting change through diver-
sity and inclusion are usually large
employers, because they have more
resources to allocate to such e;orts.
However, large employers make
up only a small percentage of U.S.
companies. Of the 5. 6 million U.S.
employers in 2016, 89 percent had
fewer than 20 workers, according
to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual
Survey of Entrepreneurs.
That’s not to say that small busi-
nesses categorically promote bias.
But small businesses have fewer
resources for such e;orts as training
for unconscious bias. And, until bias
awareness and education make their
way into the smaller (and larger) op-
erations that need them, companies
and candidates alike will miss out
as hiring managers
SHRM-SCP, is vice
president of people
for Symplicity Corp.
in Arlington, Va. She
is a member of the
Society for Human
Resource Management Special Expertise Panel on Talent
a complex matrix,” have a better
chance of mapping the skills and
abilities of a diverse set of people into
Similarly, if culture ;t accounts for
only 10 percent of a hiring decision,
and the other 90 percent is based
on skills and abilities, candidates
who represent diversity have a better
chance of being selected than if culture ;t is 75 percent of the decision.
Companies that do a good job
of leveraging culture ;t in making
high-quality hires do so by acknowledging and objectifying the culture
and making it mappable to speci;c
skills, abilities, values and motivators
of candidates. This can be done on a
score card, just as knowledge, skills
and abilities are measured.
For example, if it is known that the
corporate culture values employees’
relationship-building skills, this
should be assessed on the candidate
score card. If it is not
assessed, a candidate
who comes o; as
timid in the interview but has a knack
for building strong
may be dismissed by
hiring managers on
the assumption that
the candidate won’t
;t with the extroverted culture.
have recognized the
Hiring bias is hiding beneath the
cloak of company culture.