Defining and Nailing Cultural Fit

When a new hire isn’t a good cultural fit, everyone loses. The employee loses time, and you lose time and money as well. It’s buzzworthy right now, but knowing that cultural fit is important and achieving it are two different things.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Improve Company Culture

Of course you want employees who fit the company’s overall culture, but real fit requires matching on a much deeper level. Take a look at how this elusive concept affects your business, and the steps that you can take to improve the odds of a good hire.

What Determines Cultural Fit

When you think about whether a candidate fits your company, you might lump together some important factors that should be evaluated individually. That’s what Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, explained in a recent RealMatch webinar on hiring for cultural fit.

There’s knowledge, skills and abilities, but each of those is a bit different. A candidate might have knowledge, but lack the abilities to use it effectively enough for the position. She might have abilities, but lack the skills that are acquired through experience.

For some positions, you need all three. Without them, the employee and the company suffer. That’s a bad hire. But not every job requires all three. You might find a great cultural fit in a candidate who has knowledge and can build on that through on-the-job experience if the job doesn’t require the new hire to hit the ground running.

Why Cultural Fit Affects Employee Turnover

A bad hire directly affects the company’s bottom line. When an employee isn’t a good match, it doesn’t matter if she’s got some of the qualities that should make a reasonably good hire. Morale goes down, productivity falls off (if it ever got up to speed at all) and the company loses time and money.

Ultimately, most bad hires quit or are separated from the company. According to Lauby, quits are at a level that’s the highest they’ve been since 2008. But avoiding the bad hire cycle isn’t some mystery that can’t be solved.

It all comes down to hiring for cultural fit on all levels, based on what the company needs and the job demands. Using real-time candidate matching technology, most of the guesswork is eliminated. Based on a candidate’s proficiencies and knowledge, the right jobs find their way to her through social media, a niche job board or whichever technology she uses.

It Takes a Three-Pronged Approach

Employers should strive for a strategy that includes three vital factors: employment brand, candidate experience and recruitment strategy. What does the public think or know about your company? That’s not just marketing’s job because it affects whether job seekers will show interest in your job ad. Even if a job seems perfect, the company’s reputation can still determine whether she’ll respond.

The job candidate’s experience can also make or break the best job posting. Most job seekers expect to find a job using a mobile device, and apply for it without switching to a computer. But application is only part of it. The experience also includes communication throughout the application process, the interview experience, and also onboarding. If it’s not up to the candidate’s expectations, she might opt out. And if she doesn’t, she might turn out to be a bad hire after all.

Your recruitment strategy is vital to finding the best candidates. Do you use social and mobile? You should, on both. Candidate matching technology via social and mobile is your friend, and so is applicant tracking. It all works together to make the recruiting process more streamlined and successful.

Everyone is talking about cultural fit these days. At least to some degree, it really is about whether a job candidate will mesh with the personality of the company. But much more than that, it’s about matching the right candidate with the right qualities to the right job. And candidate matching is hands-down the best way to make it happen.

When you use real-time candidate matching, technology takes over to assess the job posting and available job candidates on all levels. Job seekers who aren’t a fit won’t be bothered by seeing a posting that’s not right for them. And you won’t drown in irrelevant applications. That way, the fit happens on both sides at the same time, in real time, and it does so automatically. Cultural fit might be a mystery for some, but you can nail it every time.

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