Is cultural fit a question of hiring (or converting people into) clones? Not many people would agree. However, the question of whether somebody will fit or not into a particular culture is very present in hiring conversations and a concern for leaders.
There are tools such as questionnaires that people use and in which you can translate those fitness into scores. They may be valuable. However, the issue is more complicated.
- Cultural fit assumes that we have a culture in which we want people to fit. Wow! It sounds silly. But it’s not, Your culture may be dysfunctional in some aspects (do you know which ones?) in which case you many need people who actually do not fit.
- You may have a clear and desired (perhaps imperfect) culture in which you are adamant that new people need to feel comfortable and navigate. Since this ‘culture’ concept is still too big, you need to unpack it into 3 or 5 non negotiables. Maybe things such as ability no navigate ambiguity, not to be too bothered by hierarchy/titles and strong sense of making relationships. Have your list. You need to know what is really core.
- Eventually you need to know whether there is an alignment between the individual(s) and the company goals. But don’t get too philosophical here or you won’t get anywhere. A pharma company may save lives and the individual may be part of it. But if this is as much as ‘alignment’ goes, you are in rather weak grounds. Perfect alignment is impossible, perhaps not even desirable. You need to look at this more from the perspective of a fellow traveller. Would you travel with him or her? I call this ‘compatible dreams’ which is not the same as ‘same dreams’.
On the whole, the issue of fitness should be addressed with lots of critical thinking. Enough fitness to travel together, yet no cloning. Enough compatibility, yet no declarations of perfect alignment.
Be careful, and critical, with ‘cultural fit’, particularly if what you need is a lot of cultural-un-fitness.
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