Avoiding Bad Hires with Cultural Fit Assessments

Nolan Gray Blog

Recruitment is much like speed-dating. You meet someone briefly, try to make small talk over a table, and find what you can about them in a short period of time based on what they tell you about their background. This first impression causes you to either agree to meet with them again or do some more checking before considering the impact they may have as a permanent part of the scenery. The major difference here is that the decision to bring a new person on board as part of a candidate-focused recruitment strategy can be a costly one if the candidate is a poor fit for the company.

Each year, businesses actively seek out highly qualified candidates for a variety of roles, some of which become the foundation for corporate growth and innovation. While the expectation of recruitment is positive, the reality is that things sometimes go wrong. A 2012 CareerBuilder poll revealed that 41 percent of companies had incurred a cost of at least $25,000 for a single bad hire, while another 25 percent had experienced a bad hire that cost $50,000. That is money that most businesses cannot afford to play with.

How can a business avoid bad hires?

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Obviously, it makes sense for a company to make an effort to more closely match candidates with the goals and culture of the company, to avoid the costs of a bad hire. The above diagram offers more insight into the five elements that go into a candidate being a good fit for both the assignment and the corporate culture. Along with technical and experience, candidates should be able to have chemistry with existing staff members, have the right expectations of their role, and work well within the work culture.

Steps to making better hires

In addition, there are several steps that a recruiting team can take to avoid hiring the wrong employee for an assignment.

  1. Create well-written job descriptions. Stop the confusion for candidates, and end up with those who are more closely matched to the assignments with clear job descriptions.
  2. Advertise on niche job boards. To attract candidates who are more suitable for the open assignments in your organization, post your job adverts on job boards that cater to your industry. This makes less work for you when reviewing resumes.
  3. Screen candidates during the application phase. Use a web-based application system that allows for a series of screening questions relevant to the job, and the workplace culture. Be sure it’s compliant with employment laws. This will weed out any candidates who do not have the right background or fit for your company.
  4. Conduct interviews and background checks. Always conduct interviews, starting with a phone screen, a one-on-one interview, and a peer interview with all candidates. This will help you to better understand if a candidate will be a good fit, or not. Then do criminal and financial tax background checks to avoid a bad hire.
  5. Use cultural fit assessments. A relatively new, but effective way of hiring candidates who will work well within the company culture is by evaluating their personalities based on a cultural fit assessment. This can be done as part of a talent management system or as a stand-alone assessment.

Culture fit means better performance

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The best cultural fit assessments consider the four quadrants of a candidate’s personality and skills. The more closely aligned an employee’s skills and values are to the culture of the organization, the more productive he becomes. As you can see, recruiting candidates who fit both performance and culture metrics makes for a more positive hire.