Recruiting on Culture Fit and Culture Add: What’s the Big Deal?

Table of Contents

  • Precious
  • May 5, 2023

Would you hire a candidate who aligns perfectly with your company’s culture or someone who can potentially improve it? “Culture fit” and “culture add” are two different things employers find to drive their organization forward.  

But how important are both concepts? Or is one better than the other?  

Let’s dive in to find out!

The Difference Between Culture Fit and Culture Add 

“Cultural fit” is about finding someone who can groove with the company’s vibe.  

Talk about personality, values, and work style—all the stuff that makes an organization what it is. It is someone who can join the team and fit in like a puzzle piece. Think of it like finding a new friend who just clicks with your group or someone who shares the same interests and sense of humor.  

This approach centers more on how candidates blend in with the company’s culture and work well with the team. 


“Culture add” refers to hiring individuals who bring something new and valuable to the organization’s culture.  

These individuals may have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives that can make a company’s culture brighter and lead to innovations. 

In other words, this approach emphasizes candidates’ skills and experience rather than how compatible they are.


Which Approach is Better? 

Once upon a time, the concept of “culture fit” was initially seen as a positive thing. But unfortunately, it led recruiters to hire subjectively—like discrimination and hiring people who weren’t the best fit for the job. 

It turns out that hiring solely for culture fit can lead to some less-than-awesome hiring choices and some totally subjective biases creeping in. That’s why you might hear some bigwigs in specific industries saying that culture fit is a thing of the past and we should all be about hiring for “culture add” instead. 

The key to success isn’t only about hiring people who fit in perfectly with the workplace culture. Sure, everyone might get along like peanut butter and jelly, but is that really the best way to build a killer team? Not so much. 

Who wants to stick with the same old, same old? Instead of maintaining the status quo, the concern should be about growing and evolving the company culture—to add more to it, culture “add.” 

And the best way to do that is by bringing in a diverse, competent team. If we want to come up with some crazy cool ideas that turn the world upside down, we should open ourselves to considering people who are not necessarily compatible with your company. 


How to Assess Candidates for Culture Add 

In your effort to hire better fits, here’s what you can do: 


1. Ask behavioral interview questions.

If you want to really get to know your job candidates, behavioral interviewing is the way to go! It’s an incredible technique that lets you dig deep into a person’s character and see what they can bring to the table. 

Ask candidates to share some real-life examples of how they’ve behaved in the past. It helps you understand their values and attitude toward work and gives you a sense of how they might handle similar situations in the future. You can ask questions like: 

  • Can you tell me about a time you had to adapt to a new environment or culture? 
  • How do you approach working with people who have different opinions or values from you? 
  • Can you tell me about a time when you took the initiative to improve a process or solve a problem? 
  • How do you approach giving and receiving feedback? 


 2. Consider using the situational interview technique.

Similar to behavioral questions, situational interviewing involves asking candidates to respond to hypothetical scenarios. You can ask them how they’d deal with a teammate with a totally different approach to a project. 

It’s like a mental workout for your candidates! This way, you can see how they think and respond to different situations. Plus, it’s a fun and interactive way to get to know them better. 


3. Use objective criteria.

This simply involves having a clear set of standards you’re looking for when you’re evaluating candidates.  

Think skills, experience, and education—all those good, measurable things. That way, you’re making hiring decisions based on what really matters, not just some vague, subjective feeling. 


4. Consider the candidate’s communication style.

Good communication is a clutch in any workplace. So, when you’re interviewing candidates, keep an ear out for their communication style. 

  • Are they speaking clearly and to the point?  
  • Are they good listeners?  
  • Can they get their point across to folks from all different backgrounds?  

These are vital things to look for when trying to figure out whether they’re a good match for your workplace culture. Clear communication is key to a happy, productive team!


Creating a balance between D&I, Culture Fit, and Culture Add 

Can you have it all? 

Pursuing diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become increasingly important in recent years. However, it’s tricky to balance when you’re also looking for the right fit. 

On the one hand, you want the benefits of having a team that clicks and gets stuff done. On the other hand, you want a group full of new ideas and creativity. 

It’s a tough call, but with the right approach, you might just eat your cake and still have it. Here are some steps you can consider in maintaining balance:

1. Define your company culture.

You need to get some things straight before assessing candidates and know the organizational culture inside and out. 

This means understanding the mission, core values, and beliefs like the back of your hands. Once you’ve familiarized yourself, you’ll know precisely what you’ll be looking for in new hires. 


2. Break biases by looking for diversity of experience.

When you’re assessing candidates, don’t get caught up in stereotypes based on race, gender, or appearance. 

What you need are candidates with unique perspectives and experiences who can bring some serious value to the team. 

So, be sure to focus on hiring a diverse crew, but also remember that it’s not just about ticking boxes. It’s equally important to create a work environment where everyone feels respected and included, no matter where they come from. 


3. Be transparent.

Make sure to release clear job descriptions and let potential hires know your company culture.  

This can involve little-big steps such as sharing your values, sharing employee testimonials, and describing what a typical day is like in your workplace. 


Why Does Hiring for the Culture Matter? 

The big deal with recruiting for cultural fit and culture add is that it can significantly impact the long-term success of an organization. Hiring the right people who share the company’s values and can work well with the team will lead to 


1. Increased Productivity

You create a recipe for success when you bring in fresh faces with new ideas and unique perspectives. Why?  

Because these people are more likely to tackle problems from different angles, leading to some seriously innovative solutions. When everyone’s working towards the same goals, you better believe productivity will soar like a rocket! 


2. Better Employee Retention and Engagement

The more employees find their place in their workplace, the more they feel like their voice is heard, and their ideas are appreciated. The feeling of getting a high-five from a superior is like a shoutout from a favorite celeb—and it feels pretty darn good!  

When employees feel like they belong, they’re more likely to be committed, which means higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.  


3. Support for Organizational Goals

It’s just common reasoning that when a group of employees all share the same values and beliefs as their organization, they’re way more likely to work together and crush those goals.  

By having everyone on the same page, the entire team can improve the organization’s performance. 



Whether you’re looking to attract candidates who fit well within your team or someone who can bring more value, Allied Insight is here to help! 

We’re a team of fractional CMO gurus who know how to make growth marketing magic happen. Think of any digital marketing tricks, we’ve got it up our sleeves. From inbound marketing to recruitment marketing to SEO and employer branding, you’re in safe hands when you partner with us. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your firm reach its full potential in no time. 



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