It’s one thing having the appropriate qualifications for a role you’re interviewing for; but fitting in with the business itself is an entirely different challenge.
What Is Culture Fit?
It’s more than likely that you’ve heard the term ‘culturally fit’ throughout the workplace and during interview processes before. But what exactly is cultural fit and why is it important?
We all know that people differ in their personalities, attitudes, and values. For example, some people like to spend their free time doing extreme sports, while others would rather read a book quietly or spend their hard earned cash shopping. However, what many don’t realise is that individual differences aren’t just useful in our spare time – because an understanding of our individual personality is profoundly important in maximising our happiness and productivity at work too.
We spend a third of our lives at work; and in our fast-paced world, companies are constantly striving to improve to become a place that allows their employees to maximise their potential, earn more money and achieve a better work-life balance. For some, all of these factors will be equally important, while others will prioritise them differently. Whatever our priorities are, work feeds into many different aspects of our lives. It even influences our self-identity, self-esteem, and opportunities for personal growth. If work was just about making money, it wouldn’t matter so much where we worked – but for most of us, it’s about far more than that. This is where cultural fit comes into play. But what exactly is it?
What it essentially means is: the psychology of behaviour at work amongst ourselves and our colleagues.
A good culture fit is where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organisation and those of the person. For example, here at UA we all try to adhere to our company values as much as we can. Although we may differ from one another in plenty of ways, we all collectively aspire to reach ambitious goals and take ownership of our responsibilities.
But let’s look at it from a generalised point of view. An introverted person who likes peace and quiet to get on with his or her work, strongly prefers the comforting seclusion of a separate office, and might not appreciate the noise and activity of an open-plan office. On the other hand, an extrovert, who works best around other people, shows the opposite pattern.
Of course, it isn’t nearly that simple. Every human being is a complex mix of interacting personality traits, all influencing each other.
But culture fit is more important than you think. Why? Because those in ‘compatible’ jobs that match their personality feel more content in their role. In other words, positive cultural fit can improve our happiness at work and make us feel more capable of carrying out our job to the best of our ability.
It also corresponds strongly with better job satisfaction, job commitment and enhanced job performance.
The really big beneficiary, however, is society itself. The more happy, fulfilled people there are in a society, the stronger that society becomes. Giving people more control over their lives and more personal freedom to be the best they can be, is crucial in building a happier, freer, more fulfilled and more productive environment for everyone.
Because of all of this, cultural fit should be a big consideration when looking for the best candidates. As a recruiter, you should get to know the client and the way their business works in order to match your candidates to the overall cultural fit of their entire team.