Employers unsure how to hire for cultural fit

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Firms recognise the potential of hiring for cultural fit but are struggling in practice, risking introducing bias into the recruitment process

Almost all (96%) of the of HR leaders surveyed for research by ThriveMap said that recruiting for cultural fit was crucial. But only 11% said they are satisfied with how they hire for this. A further 89% said that they needed to improve their process.

Just over three-quarters (77%) admitted to using ‘gut feeling’ when assessing candidates. ThriveMap's report warned that this could lead to inconsistencies in the hiring process from department to department, leaving organisations open to bias.

Of those who said that they were taking steps to measure for cultural fit when recruiting, 92% said they use targeted interview questions, 62% use specific competency questions, and 15% use multiple people to interview candidates to reduce the risk of bias.

The research urged employers to utilise objective measures to understand the current culture of teams and their working style and preferences. This will help organisations be more effective in finding the right candidates, it stated.

Chris Platts, CEO of ThriveMap, said that hiring for cultural fit could make a "significant difference" to businesses.

Hiring the wrong candidate can waste a huge amount of time and money and have a detrimental effect on morale and productivity," he said. "89% of hiring failures are down to cultural reasons, rather than a capability to do the job.

“Finding a smarter way to hire candidates, who not only have the right skills but also work in a complementary way to their team, could make a significant difference to a company’s bottom line. We see cultural fit not as a test of personality but a measure of how well people will work with and for each other."

Stephanie Cook, psychologist and chief science officer for ThriveMap, added that HR must find ways to promote and improve their company culture to attract talent.

“The role of HR is changing. The rise of social media alongside peer-to-peer review sites like Glassdoor means that employers no longer have complete control over their brand and need to find alternative ways to present themselves as an attractive prospect to new employees," she said.

“Those employees in turn want to find working environments that fit not just their skills but also how they like to work. Employers that show they are both conscious of their culture and taking steps to measure and improve it will be the winners in the war for talent now and in the future.”

ThriveMap surveyed 200 HRDs and other senior HR managers with responsibility for talent and recruitment in May 2018.

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