Hiring for cultural fit – how to get it right
During the hiring process, candidates are primarily evaluated on skills and experience to assess their suitability for a role. However, in the long run, these things are only part of the equation.
According to many scholars and consultants, employers should also assess candidates for cultural fit. Definitions for cultural fit vary across sources, but it broadly refers to whether the employee’s values and behaviours align with the company culture.
What does cultural fit look like as criteria? Here is a technical definition as an example: the likelihood that the candidate will reflect and/or be able to adapt to core beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that make up the business.
Another (more simple) way to think about it – if they’re someone you can have a beer with, they’ll fit in with the culture.
It’s a good strategy for bringing together like-minded people. Being like-minded, however, doesn’t mean everyone has to be the same. It isn’t to be confused with creating an exclusive club that practices discrimination or has a lack of diversity. It means finding the right match for what you are trying to add to your team. Hiring managers may need to go further than what’s on a CV or at face value – consider some of the aspects that may not be so obvious about the candidate. What are their core beliefs? How have they been trained to think about problem-solving? What transferable skills have they picked up from other jobs, even if it wasn’t within the ag industry?
In some areas of agribusiness, we need to be hiring from outside the industry which makes it difficult to assess candidates on skills and experience alone. The rise in interest and implementation of technology in agriculture has lead to the need for skill sets that haven’t existed in agribusiness previously. Many of the skill sets required to design, construct and maintain software packages that many agribusinesses rely on in 2018 have all been sourced from outside of the industry. It is important to note that the most successful transitions into agribusiness occur when the person shows an interest in the industry and makes a genuine effort to adhere to the discourse.
Hiring for cultural fit can help you keep the right people and minimise business losses (i.e. poor staff retention) from hiring the wrong people. It may take a precise-eye to look over a CV and identify transferable skills, or to weed out culture clashes throughout interviews. Collaborate with your managers – they will likely have valuable input in helping to point out the necessary culture traits, skills and experience they need from new staff.
When you’ve made the right hire, and all the contracts are signed, make sure to celebrate their entrance to the business! Ensure that they receive helpful communication leading up to their first day, and maybe throw a box of chocolates on their desk next to their tools of trade.