Cultural fit is the degree of similarity between employees and companies concerning thought patterns, behaviour, norms and values. This includes for instance, the criteria according to which employees in a company take decisions. Or the way, in which colleagues communicate with each other. Since most work results these days are created as a team effort, the cultural fit has become an important aspect in recruiting in recent years. The better the employee fits into the company culture and the team, the easier the teamwork will be. This is also true for trainees who are still in a learning process and who are therefore especially dependant on good communication with their supervising colleagues. How much emphasis a company can put on the cultural fit when choosing their trainees, of course, depends on the number and quality of their applications. Measuring the cultural fit can only happen if there is a big enough applicant pool to choose from. In addition, it is not so easy to determine the cultural fit with teenagers who have not had any, or hardly any, experience with work life. If you are lucky, you can discuss applicants’ first work experience gained in an internship or part-time job in the job interview. When you have applicants whose school marks are not the best, it is advisable to consider their personal and soft skills. If they are strongly developed, this can be of high value to the company.
The more the soft skills of candidates match the values of your company, the bigger is the cultural fit. And this will give you a lot of advantages:
Employees without a cultural fit will feel uncomfortable in the company quickly. Their productivity decreases, an (inner) resignation often follows suit. This increases staff turnover and you will have to invest a lot money into expensive recruitment processes again and again. The better new trainees fit into your culture, the longer they will stay.
Increase your economic success.
Satisfied employees are not only more productive, they are also more innovative. With a good cultural fit, you will therefore also increase your turnover.
Companies who know their strengths can communicate them and attract the right candidates’ attention. This gives them a great competitive advantage in the race for recruiting valuable talents. Be careful: a lot of companies still promise everything under the sun in their trainee brochures. If you do not want new trainees to leave you after a short period of time, you should avoid discrepancies between your employer branding messages and the actual company culture as much as possible.
Huge survey on cultural fit
For the study Recruiting with Personality, the job site Stepstone conducted a survey on the topic of cultural fit among 25,000 employees and 4,000 recruiters and HR managers in the summer 2017. Even though 93% of HR decision makers consider it important that applicants match the company culture, only 15% measure the cultural fit systematically. To do that they use online personality tests or guided personal interviews for instance. Checking the cultural fit can also be done via a trial work day or an assessment centre. Most companies that check the cultural fit, however, use the classic job interview to do so. In that case the checking is not done systematically but is based on the personal impression that the applicant gives the recruiter. If you want to get a more objective impression, it is advisable to have several interviewers – also from other departments – in the interview.