How good is the fit of the candidate with your organisation?

Does the candidate fit into your organisation ?

Crucial: the "Cultural Fit"

The value of organizational culture; a forgotten parameter?

Organizational culture is the "glue" that keeps an organization together and inspires. An important point in recruitment and selection! Especially with the new generation of employees. The result of a bad "cultural fit" leads to less individual contribution to business results and a high turnover of employees. In the USA the costs range between 50-60% of an annual salary. (In a western Europe context, is this about 150%, see also "How certain are you about a candidate?" (1)). Before candidates can do a cultur-check during a recruitment process, companies need to determine / define their culture at forehand. Best in a form which allows a practical comparison of related values. (Katie Bouton, recruiting for Cultural Fit, Juli 2015, Harvard Business review (2))

"The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with
a personality that fits with your organisation culture"

Richard Branson

Money buys no job satisfaction

Not feeling at par with a corporate culture is a major reason for employees and new hires to leave an organisation; Even in times of scarcity of work. For example, higher salary does not improve motivation or is a decisive reason to stay in a company.

Recent research by Andrew Chamberlain shows the following overview:

bron: Andrew Chamberlain, Harvard Business Review und Glassdoor research, "Does More Money Change What We Value at Work?" (2017) (3)

Numerous, also Dutch sources give a similar picture(see a.o. Els Peeters, "corporate culture to intrigue and bind people and permanently" (4))

Millennials and Generation X

An attractive organisational culture (and a "cultural fit") becomes increasingly important. From the candidates themselves, reinforced by their prevailing standards framework and by dominating (online) opinions about the organisation in the public domain or in their community networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Kununu, in-company systems, etc.) in which they or their contacts work. Internal communication becomes also more and more external communications. Image and external perception of an organisation is linked to the internal experiences within the organisation. Although (external) image and (internal) employment practices are separate entities, they together form the company culture as experienced by the employees. An important part of the young generations of students sees organizational culture and related values a top priority when comparing prospective employers. Sustainability is one of the aspects of the organisational culture which scores increasingly higher. Salary in comparison, sores a lower priority. The Millennials and Generation X employees embrace challenging areas of employment. This way they feel to be a valuable part of a team, in which they can build on their strengths and capabilities. Furthermore they are stimulated to achieve organisational goals. (u.a. Helbling & Associates, "Organisational Culture & Its Impact on Recruitment & Retention" nov 2012 (5))

Underlying mechanism

When recruiting new employees is obvious to look at education and work experience. From that knowledge, skills and globally the ability to learn can be deducted. Sure, over time required and provided knowledge might match insufficiently over time. A stable organisation culture acts as anchor for its employees. Even though requirements changes over time, a new employee with the right cultural fit can grow knowledge wise and experience wise in various roles/tasks/challenges. In doing so, the employee remains motivated and inspired and creates value for the organisation. Directly by his/her own output and/or indirectly by his or her contribution to the organisation culture. (TPP, recruiting to fit your organisation’s future, London (6))

Desired or real organisation-culture?

When describing the corporate culture to attract people for the recruitment and selection process is not helpful to describe a desired situation, but rather describing the real situation. Otherwise new hires might be disappointed after their employment start.

Differences between a desired and current situation, does not necessarily impact the recruitment process negatively, when current or targeted initiatives, directives or changes are communicated alongside in the process. It even can make the company look more interesting and prepares the candidate for possible change management tasks.

Mapping into the recruiting process

In online recruiting there is a trend that spreads increasingly: A vacancy is posted and reactions come in in form of resume and cover letter as e-mail or site-input. (TRiNGiNE, "Job-application in the digital age: increasing, higher quality demands, online" (7)).

How can you, already during the preselection of candidates, make the right choice considering the "cultural fit"?

  • Concrete aspects such as education and work experience of candidates are tested online and/or offline as hard facts against the requirements.
  • In case a behavioural description of the job opening is available, the same procedure can be applied for soft facts under the precondition that job description and candidate behaviour can be expressed in a set of comparable hard criteria. TRiNGiNE (10) offers such an online service. See also Behaviour-based JOB-matching TRiNGiNE (9)
  • Further rests the question: how can a cultural fit be built into a preselection of candidates ?
    • Traditionally, this is done based on the usually available information such as resumes, references and motivation in cover letter. Fits a candidate, then he/she will be invited to an initial interview, in which the "Cultural Fit" will be checked. This method has some disadvantages: good candidates can (unintentionally) be not invited and others are discarted after the first interview when they are considered not to fit.
    • TRiNGiNE (8) offers an alternative: the organisationtest, where the "Cultural Fit" will be determined on the basis of behaviour expressed in standardized team roles. For the organisationtest a differentiation is made between the reputation of the company in the market and the company as an employer. A rather objective method, which is more efficient and effective than the traditional one. As with the creation of the coordinated job profile TRiNGiNE offers also for its organisationtest the option to gather input from multiple participants in the questionnaire and turns the results into a common profile.

A few comments:

To consider the Cultural Fit right from the beginning in the pre-selection helps to allow only relevant candidates to participate in the hiring process.

The more relevant points of view are available when establishing a job- respectively an organisation- profile, the stronger is the profile and the bigger the chance to hire the "right" one.

In addition to the cultural fit it\'s also important to know to what extent candidates do fit into the job in terms of behaviour. TRiNGiNE can support your selection process also in this respect and has several online tests available; the "Job test", the "Candidate tests" and the "Jobpreference test"(9).

(1)TRiNGiNE, "How certain are you about a candidate?"
(2)Katie Bouton, "Recruiting for Cultural Fit", Juli 2015, Harvard Business review
(3)Andrew Chamberlain, Harvard Business Review en Glassdoor research, "What matters more to your Workforce than Money" (2017);
(4)Els Peeters, "Company culture to attract and bind";
(5)Helbling & Associates, "Organisational Culture & Its Impact on Recruitment & Retention" (Nov 2012) and "Environmental Stance Counts in Hiring & Retention" (July 2014);
(6)TPP, "Recruiting to fit your organisation's future", London; general-recruitment/recruiting-to-fit-your-organisations-culture
(7)TRiNGiNE, "Recruitment in the digital era"
(8)TRiNGiNE; "Organisationtests"
(9)TRiNGiNE; "Jobmatching based on behaviour";
(10)TRiNGiNE; "Jobmatching";