This article has been submitted by Sitka Recruitment
In short, the question of whether you need to be a good cultural fit depends on how you and your employer define ‘workplace culture’.
Interpretations of culture vary a surprising amount and may be why, despite 96% of HR leaders saying cultural fit is crucial in recruitment decisions only 11% feel they are adequately recruiting for it.
The word ‘cultural’ has traditionally been used to describe the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a society, which inevitably vary. So ‘cultural fit’ could be considered somewhat of an oxymoron.
Clearly, there are some commonalities that must exist for you to work well within the organisation, but the danger of working for a company where you blend in and employers look for people who ‘match’ the current workforce, is that you end up working homogenously. And the lack of diversity in perspectives and ideas this causes can dramatically hinder organisational success, and in turn yours.
A better approach is to consider whether you share the organisation’s core values and whether your skills and personality complement the existing team. Of course, this only works where the employer is clear on what their values and goals are, and our experience has shown this is not always the case.
Another important consideration is whether the culture allows you to work productively with colleagues and whether the working practices and patterns will enable you to do your best work. It’s more about compatibility which, as most of us know, does not mean being the same.
To a certain extent, workplace culture is cultivated collaboratively between employer and employees, but either way it is usually a good reflection of the business’ values and beliefs. Which is why fitting in with those is far more important than whether you socialise, exercise or eat in the same way as your colleagues. Although sharing these activities may make work more enjoyable for some, others prefer to keep their work and personal lives more distinct.
Unfortunately, unconscious bias can sometimes result in personal resemblances being confused with ‘good cultural fit’ and surpassing more vital considerations. This is why going through a recruitment agency can be a good alternative to applying direct for a role. As an impartial partner, we can help businesses avoid this natural human tendency to bias, pin down the skills they most need and support candidates who will fit in in the ways that matter.
At the end of the day, your top priority should be whether the employer is a good fit for your skills and experience. After that, a certain degree of cultural compatibility is important for motivating you and progressing your career, but have too much in common with your colleagues and you may find the opposite is true.
If you’re an experienced professional who feels they could be more compatible and productive in another role, please get in touch to find out how we could help.