Culture Add vs. Culture Fit: What’s the Difference?

For the longest time, culture fit was a deciding factor in recruiting—and it still is for many recruiters today. Finding a candidate that slots easily into the way that your organization runs has its benefits, but it’s not always the best way to approach hiring for culture. For example, hiring for culture fit can have an overall negative impact on your company’s diversity metrics, productivity, and reputation if left unchecked. So, what’s the alternative?

Today we’ll be diving into both culture fit, and its counterpart—culture add. We’ll discuss the difference between culture add vs culture fit, why culture add has become the focus of most organizations, and how your organization can hire with culture add in mind.

Culture Add vs Culture Fit

If you’re hiring a candidate because their values, attitude, or opinions are in-line with the majority in your organization, you’re hiring based on culture fit. While this may be appropriate in some scenarios, hiring for culture fit is likely to lead to a biased and inequitable recruitment process. 

This is due to how vague culture fit is as a concept. When prioritized, culture fit throws experienced and eager candidates out of consideration because they’re not similar enough to other employees. That’s simply not an effective way to measure talent.

On the other hand, culture add looks for traits and viewpoints that your organization may be missing. Hiring for culture add examines what makes an individual unique and considers how that uniqueness could best be used by your organization. This recruitment style can bring some of the best in the industry to your organization. 

Benefits of Culture Add

Promotion of Diversity

Diversity metrics have become one of the more important metrics to keep track of. This isn’t just to keep up appearances—diversity in the workplace is a huge boon. Companies that are genuinely diverse are 70% more likely to capture new markets than those that aren’t. New perspectives bring with them innovation, allowing your organization to make a more widespread impact and to create new trends—not simply follow them. 

Equitable Hiring

Hiring for culture add as opposed to culture fit promotes a more equitable recruitment process, as this method caters to the strengths of applicants rather than where they fall short. Hiring for culture add also avoids the chance of unfair hiring practices popping up and causing legal issues for your organization.

Improved Reputation

Diverse organizations that value their employees for what makes them unique are generally held in high regard. A respectful and personal recruitment process is rare in today’s streamlined economy, and implementing one will keep applicants from abandoning your opening. Employees who were hired for their personal strengths are also more likely to stick with your organization and spread your name through word of mouth as a company that truly values its workers. 

If you practice hiring for culture add your company is more likely to attract top talent from multiple industries, and from a range of cultures and backgrounds.

How to Recruit for Culture Add

Hiring for culture add is more than just a candidate ticking off boxes—it’s creating a connection with your current and future employees. Standardizing your hiring process has its benefits, but it cuts out a lot of opportunities for your workers of tomorrow to separate themselves from the crowd. 

For interviewers, train them on objectivity and equity, but also on diversity and spotting unique minds. Over time, both your internal and external talent pools will become larger and more diverse—transforming your organization’s image and productivity to match the new generation.

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