Although a candidate may be the best qualified, they may fail if they lack traits that will assimilate with existing organizational culture. Erika Anderson of Forbes writes that almost 90 percent of hiring failures are due to poor cultural fit. Therefore, in addition to screening resumes for the required qualifications and experience, applicants must also be screened for desirable work styles and values.

A manager hired because of a proven track record in aggressive business deals might be faced with a laid back, accommodating work force. Any attempt to cultivate more direct, offensive tactics to increase business productivity are likely to be resisted and may cut short a manager’s tenure. The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisory organization, recommends the following steps for successful hiring.

  • Examine your organization’s culture. What type of employees thrive? What do these employees have in common? It might be the ability to collaborate with teammates and a willingness to help others. In this case, a candidate who prefers to work independently and takes great pride in personal accomplishments would not be a good fit.
  • Design screening mechanisms that can identify certain character traits. Once the required traits are determined, formulate interview questions that will identify those traits. Behavioral interviewing techniques reveal past behavior patterns. Have candidates meet with a variety of staff to gauge their interaction with employees of all levels.
  • Ensure that the candidate’s expectations align with those of the company. If a candidate has ambitions that are beyond the scope of the job, consider the candidate unsuitable. A candidate may be over-qualified or better suited to a company with superior resources for employee development.

The Bridgespan Group suggests that hiring according to organizational culture does not require that all employees fit a certain stereotype. Complementary personalities add diversity and contribute to innovation among teams. It is important for hiring managers to discuss with existing staff what type of person they think would best suit the role; for example, a construction team with individual skills may require a manager with an overall perspective of project milestones and deadlines.

Contact a Hire Standard Staffing professional for more advice on hiring for cultural fit. The best employee may not be the most qualified, but they might be the most effective.