Insight Blog

Hiring to Complement Culture

Hiring to Complement Culture

In the past 18 to 24 months, there have been some major shifts in hiring. An increase in video interviewing and the addition of more remote positions are two. Another big change? Rather than looking for talent who fit in with the existing company culture, organizations have begun looking for talent who add something new to the culture, thus giving way to the term, “cultural add.”

It sounds ideal: Fresh ideas and fresh perspectives from new faces. An opportunity to shake things up and replace stale, stagnant processes and procedures. It is not quite so simple.

While evaluating candidates purely on cultural fit may be limiting and biased, embracing them solely for how different they are from the current culture of an organization may be irresponsible. Meeting in the middle—and evaluating candidates on their ability to complement the existing atmosphere—is a more rational and strategic approach.

Traditional considerations to avoid:

  • personality
  • disposition
  • attitude
  • work style
  • ​the culture of current or previous work environments 

These considerations are not beneficial when hiring new talent to complement an organization’s culture. And, of course, considering the way someone looks, worships, or loves should never be—nor have been—a reflection of cultural fit. That is discrimination, and it is illegal.

Instead, and in addition to the key factors of education, experience, technical skills, communication skills, and leadership or collaborative capabilities (depending on the role), consider what motivates an individual and what the person deems important. Many professionals want to work in an environment where they can grow and contribute their ideas to assist in the company's growth.

Additional considerations:
1.  What are the top three to five problems or issues our organization is looking to resolve?

2.  Does this individual have the ability to work within and strive to improve our current environment?

3.  What practices or techniques has the individual suggested that could apply to our organization?

4.  Has this individual demonstrated critical thinking or problem-solving skills?

5.  How does this person define individual success? What do they think success looks like for a team or department?

6.  What are our organization’s core values and does this individual respect them or could this individual be instrumental in helping to reshape them?
If your organization is planning a strategic hire to complement its culture, please contact us to connect with a Helbling search consultant.