Why? Because a hire with a bad culture match can cost an organization 50-60% of the person’s annual salary[1] and employees with a strong culture match have greater work satisfaction, perform better, and are much more likely to remain at a company.[2] Obviously, this is a very influential and important aspect.

But what does a good cultural fit mean? Culture fit deals with how well a person can adapt to the culture of an organization: the characteristics, language, beliefs, attributes, behaviors, and values that exist within the organization. Basically: an employee with a good culture fit is more efficient within the environment of the company. This is why organizations seeking to achieve high performance from their staff are increasingly using culture fit as the main part of their recruitment methods.

So how do you ensure your recruitment process incorporates cultural matching?

There are two ways of doing this:

There’s the complex way:

Step one is defining your company culture. Many organizations hire consultants for this, with weeks of staff-driven focus groups and discussions. Some of the questions to be discussed and decided upon are:

  1. To what extent can every person in the organization clearly articulate why the company exists, where the company is going, and how it’s going to get there?
  2. What information and skills do employees need to successfully do their jobs, and what structure will best help you achieve your organizational objectives?
  3. To what extent does the organizational structure allow for decisions to be made efficiently and effectively, for silos to be naturally diminished, and for people to operate in accordance with the stated values and norms of the organization?
  4. To what extent does the company focus on the needs of external and internal stakeholders alike, and is the organization capable of adapting quickly to respond to shifting needs and demands?
  5. To what extent does the organization foster effective collaboration within and amongst different teams and environments?

Then, when everyone knows and understands your culture, you need to make sure that your hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers all understand how to identify the traits of people who would fit well.

Here are some great questions to help assess culture fit in an interview:

  • What type of culture do you thrive in? (Does the response reflect your organizational culture?)
  • What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal workplace?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?
  • What best practices would you bring with you from another organization? Do you see yourself being able to implement these best practices in our environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with/for an organization where you felt you were not a strong culture fit. Why was it a bad fit?

Finally, make sure your candidates are exposed to what working at your organization would really be like, walk them around the office, let them see how co-workers interact, introduce them, and pay careful attention to the candidates’ reactions and comfort level. They will most often do their best to appear to match your culture, so the hard part is figuring out who truly does fit, and who is pretending to for the sake of the job.

Then there’s the “simple” way:

Using data, algorithms, and AI.

With automated systems, you can guarantee a strong culture match before even getting to the interview stage. It also doesn’t take weeks of meeting or expensive consultants.

This is one of the things we at Nova help our clients with. So if you’ve already decided you want to use a data-driven method for your cultural matching, just click here!

Our culture matching processes started a few years ago when we at Nova realized that our 20+ years of Top Talent experience, meant we had one of the biggest datasets on top talent. This data and the knowledge it contained led to a spinoff of Nova called Talent Data Labs.

Talent Data Labs used this data to develop a highly accurate culture matching algorithm. This algorithm, in turn, grew into an AI which predicts a number of factors in employee functioning such as; organizational commitment, team satisfaction, performance, and tenure. The base lies in the similarity in which both the employer and the employee distribute 100 points across 10 topics within 4 domains. These 4 domains include “People and culture”, “Employer reputation and Image”, “Role Characteristics” and “Salary and Advancement”.

Simply put, the employer and the (prospective or current) employee fill out a survey in which they attribute points according to what they find most important in a work environment. With this data, we are able to visualize both the order and the relative magnitude of importance of each attribute. The similarity between employer and employee(s) is then algorithmically transformed into a culture fit score. The more likely an employee and employer would positively influence each other; the higher the score.

Now that it’s obvious you must incorporate culture matching in your recruitment process (since by ensuring a culture fit in recruitment, you will not only hire people who will thrive at your company but also drive long-term growth and success while having higher employee retention), you just need to decide which method to use!



If you want to know more about Nova, and how we can help you save both time and money, just click here. And if you are looking for our other knowledge resources, click here.



[1] RETAINING TALENT A Guide to Analysing and Managing Employee Turnover. David G. Allen, Ph.D; Society for Human Resource Management; 2008.
[2] CONSEQUENCES OF INDIVIDUALS’ FIT AT WORK: A META-ANALYSIS OF PERSON-JOB, PERS… Amy L Kristof-Brown; Ryan D Zimmerman; Erin C Johnson Personnel Psychology; Summer 2005; 58, 2; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 281