Can you have culture fit and diversity too?

It’s become controversial to hire based on how well a candidate fits into the company culture. Why? Because we might just be using the wrong definition of culture fit…

Recruiting clones is definitely a mistake, but don’t let that stop you from hiring people with compatible – or similar — values. While diverse personalities and experiences bring new ideas and complementary skills, shared values foster commitment and collaboration.

Why then has it become so frowned upon to speak of “culture fit? Writers Joeri Hofmans and Timothy A. Judge dissect the following 4 prevailing ‘bad’ ideas about culture fit:


Misconception 1: Culture fit is just a “nice to have,” not a necessity, for the many people who believe that only skills matter when it comes to recruitment.


Misconception 2: Hiring based on culture fit undermines diversity – an assessment that confuses a person’s values with characteristics like their gender, ethnicity, nationality, and so on.


Misconception 3: Hiring based on culture fit undermines innovation. But why can’t a diverse array of people share the same values?


Misconception 4: Hiring based on culture fit is an art, not a science;meanwhile, relying solely on intuition to make hiring decisions leads to biases such as hiring employees “like me” rather than employees “aligned with the organizational culture.” And yet, hiring based on culture fit doesn’t have to be guided by reckless impulse: it’s entirely possible to use appropriate, standardized measures of organizational and candidate values.


To go further:Hiring for Culture Fit Doesn’t Have to Undermine Diversity” by Joeri Hofmans and Timothy A. Judge (Harvard Business Review, 18 September 2019)