In an ideal world, every job candidate would have all the necessary skill sets for the position, along with the perfect personality to fit into the cultural fabric of your organization seamlessly. Unfortunately, the reality is typically much more challenging, and hiring managers and team leaders often have to face one of the greatest dilemmas during their hiring process: skill sets or culture fit?

Although skills and experiences are important factors when it comes to recruitment processes, hiring someone based on skill sets alone can lead to detrimental impacts on your organisation. In fact, more companies are making changes in their interview process and prioritizing culture in their hiring criteria.

Google, a leader in the use of people analytics, has made significant changes to its interview process. It has banned its infamous brainteasers and promotes the use of structured interviews. The company assesses job candidates for their “Googleyness,” which it defines as someone who is comfortable with ambiguity, is action-oriented and has a collaborative nature. This signals that there are factors beyond skills and knowledge that are important to the hiring decision.

Here are 3 reasons why culture-fit is more important than the skill-set of the candidate:

  1. Longer employee retention

It is no secret that employee turnover is very costly. In fact, the costs of turnover could be as high as 90% to 200% of an employee's annual salary, according to a report by Society for Human Resource Management. Candidates with alignment of company values and culture tend to be more satisfied and more motivated at work. This will translate into a greater likelihood of job commitment, ownership and greater retention rates, allowing you and your organisation to cut down on hiring costs.

2. Creates a better working environment

Hiring someone with a misalignment has the potential to create significant issues for the candidate, stakeholders and the organisation as a whole. Be it in their communication style, work ethics or team collaboration skills, some individuals may not be able to ‘click’ well with the other employees. Having an employee who does not fit well into the team could have a negative impact on the rest of the organisation, such as bringing down the team morale, and creating a toxic workplace.

3. Better job performance


Studies show that employees who share their company’s values and fit with the culture have superior job performance, as compared to those who do not share the same values. When employees feel like they belong, they’re more eager to take on new challenges and responsibilities. The entire team will be able to benefit from their willingness to go the extra mile. The result? Better job performance from your employees.


However, it is also important to note that in evaluating culture fit, it is critical to define and create shared meaning among hiring managers of what this ‘fit’ means. Having a lack of consensus may lead to a wrong assessment of the candidate during the interview process. It can become a code for “this person isn’t like me”, and lead to a lack of diversity among the employees of an organisation.

With concepts like culture, values and morals being more subjective in nature, how can we define and create a fair assessment for candidates?

Defining a rubric for culture fit that’s based on personality traits and individual preferences might make you run the risk of having a monoculture. In fact, a study by Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues as a result of more innovation. Having a wrong assessment for culture fit will not only limit diversity, it also limits your organization's earnings!

According to SmartRecriuters, one way of making culture fit assessment more objective is to conduct structured interviews. This is a more systematic approach to interviewing, where you ask the same predetermined questions to all candidates, and you rank them with a standardized scoring system. According to Workable, this is almost twice as effective as the traditional interview.

Sample Scorecard for CTOs (Source: SmartRecruiters

Interview scorecards like the ones above are a great way to help your hiring team make unbiased hiring decisions. Using specific scorecards for different jobs that consist of up to 20 high-level core competencies, including those that correlate to your company values, will allow your hiring team to rate the candidate against each area of assessment for a more objective assessment.

Learn how Asavi can help you discover, map, and find candidates with great culture fit with your organisation.

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