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How considering Cultural Fit when recruiting can save you a vast amount of time and money.

According to Harvard Business Review, the result of poor cultural fit can cost an organisation between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary. For many schools, organisations and businesses this is money they cannot afford to be losing.


In short, considering cultural fit when recruiting means looking for an employee who shares the values and principles that drive work and relationships in your team/organisation. You are looking for an employee who will add value, not an employee who will take constant work and effort on your part to bring them into compliance with your workplace norms.


As many recruiters will tell you recruiting for the right culture always starts with one key task; defining the culture you want to recruit for. It is worth noting here that you need to be considering the culture you want to recruit for, not the one you currently have. When the culture you have doesn’t match the one you want, you also need to work internally to improve the working culture. This is a big enough topic for a separate article, but it is still important that you know what culture you want, and even need, before you try and change anything.


If you are defining what culture you want within your organisation it is well worth considering what culture you need. For example, if you want to improve the learner experience within a school you will need people that are motivated to help students, innovative and are open to change.


If you are heading towards a long period of transformation then you will need to be recruiting people that are flexible, open minded and willing to try new ways of working. Recruiting people that require a high level of stability won’t be good for you, but it also won’t be good for them.


Change is going to be an important part of business and education for at least the coming year as the impact of Covid-19 is felt around the world. Organisations will have a greater focus on flexibility, digital services and resilience as they come to terms of the type organisation they will need to be in the future.


It is important in the recruitment process to try and pick new employees who will challenge your way of thinking with new ideas and new ways of looking at familiar situations. Create an environment in which different approaches are welcomed and considered on their merit. It is hard to get a candidate who both meets all the current cultural necessities but is also capable of evolving the culture where appropriate. Therefore, it is often a case of making a hard decision over what is more important for your situation.


Avoid thoughts like, "but we've always done it this way" and "we tried that, and it didn't work".

Your focus on cultural fit is to do with what motivates them in their career and job. It doesn’t mean ruling people out because they are from a different background to your other members of staff. In fact, done right, cultural fit recruitment can significantly improve diversity within your school or organisation. If someone is motivated by the same things that you are looking for but don’t come from the same background as other members be aware that they are highly likely to be a good fit for your organisation, school or business. Even if they aren’t right for that particular role they could well be for a different post.


All the best cultural fit interview questions you ask potential employees won't separate out your positive contributors unless you also welcome them to a work environment that encourages differences of opinion.


Whether you are asking a candidate to complete an online questionnaire, telephone interview, or panel interview, it is worth asking at least a couple of questions around cultural fit. The examples below are a good starting point to give an idea of what can be asked to identify cultural fit:

  • Describe the work environment in which you are most productive and happy.

  • What are the characteristics exhibited by the best manager you have ever had - or wished that you have had?

  • In your experience, how does an organisation encourage your use of your discretionary energy and effort, that willingness each employee has, to go the extra mile, push harder, spend more time, and do whatever is necessary to get the job done?

The prospective employee's answers to questions like these help you determine whether they will work successfully in your team and the organisation as a whole.


If you have any questions about how to build cultural fit into your recruitment process please contact us and we will arrange a call.


We are to additional recommendations and tips so please do comment below.

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