Bias in Hiring

Does ‘Culture Fit’ Perpetuate Bias in Hiring?

Written By Daniyal Wali

The term ‘culture fit’ is sort of an inkblot test in the world of work. Even when we all may be hearing the same two words, our interpretation of the phrase may be poles apart.

For some, when this phrase “culture fit” is thoughtfully and deliberately applied, it can be a measure for their alignment with company’s values. For others, it may simply mean “I only hire people I’d have a beer with.” Or in other words, ‘culture fit’ can become a gateway to bias in hiring processes, which reinforces conscious and unconscious biases and leads to recruiting people who all look, think, and work alike, over and over. Emphasizing culture fit as an important hiring metric, hiring managers and HR professionals may only hire candidates who reflect their own “culture.” This ultimately forms a homogenous organization.

Redefining Company Culture

If hiring managers describe their company culture in terms of personality traits (favor certain job candidates because they “have a good attitude” or “are amiable”, they hinder their organization’s ability to innovate as they encourage homogeneity. On the flip side, when hiring managers define their culture in qualitative terms, such as “high autonomy with a complex matrix” or “low structure,” they have a greater likelihood of mapping the skills and abilities of a diverse set of people into their culture.

Just as knowledge, skills and abilities are measured, it is important to acknowledge and objectify culture and make it mappable to specific values, skills, motivators and abilities of candidates. Instead of having a vague notion of culture when you focus on concrete values, your organization will see a significant improvement in terms of both culture and diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Anka Wittenberg, chief diversity and inclusion officer and SVP at SAP says:

“If you’re hiring only for cultural fit, it’s like planting a forest with only one kind of tree — you get a monoculture. It’s not sustainable; so we focus on what our values are as a company, and how each individual we consider hiring embody those. We don’t hire specifically for culture fit, but on how those values are lived by candidate.”

Ditching the 'Beer Test'

You might be missing out on some incredible talent if your company is employing the “beer test” as a marker of a candidate’s fit for a job. As hiring for culture fit can reinforce hiring bias, it can potentially hinder the objective of bringing in a diverse set of opinions and skill sets. This can also engender a narrower cross-cultural and multi-ethnic workforce.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Patty McCord, the former chief talent officer at Netflix, presents the right approach to combat bias in hiring. Advising startups and entrepreneurs, she gives the example of a programmer who didn’t quite fit as a software developer mold of the Silicon Valley. The reserved and “buttoned-up” individual had been building an app for Netflix. And that’s what got him a job there.

Initially, McCord was skeptical whether the engineer would be able to thrive in Netflix’s culture. “I did wonder how he’d fit in with the high-powered team he was joining. I hoped it wouldn’t burn him out,” she acknowledges.

Five years later, that buttoned-up developer – Anthony Park — was named Netflix’s VP of engineering, a role he held for six years. This person proves that organizations can adapt to many people’s styles.

Does this all mean that we should hire without any consideration for company culture?

Of course not.

All we need is a different approach to find out how well a potential candidate can fit into our current company culture while addressing bias in hiring. And this is why you should hire for ‘culture add’ rather than ‘culture fit.’

Wharton’s top-rated professor and one of the HR’s most influential international thinkers Adam Grant says:

Stop hiring on cultural fit. That’s a great way to breed groupthink. Emphasizing cultural fit leads you to bring in a bunch of people who think in similar ways to your existing employees. There’s evidence that once a company goes public, those that hire on cultural fit actually grow more slowly because they struggle to innovate and change. It’s wiser to hire on cultural contribution. Instead of looking for people who fit the culture, ask what’s missing from your culture, and select people who can bring that to the table.”

Hiring for ‘Culture Add’— An Attractive Alternative to Curb Bias in Hiring

Hiring for ‘culture add’ is crucial. If companies want to build a strong, innovative culture, they should seek candidates who can bring something to the table – who are from diverse backgrounds and have different experiences from their own. Culture adds foster a resilient culture by preventing the groupthink attitude. With their ability to think differently, it is vital to infuse them in the culture for growth.

In a nutshell, hiring for ‘culture add’ helps steer the future of your company culture in the right direction as well as lets you take into account what it can bring to your business.

Reduce Bias & Hire Top Talent

Now use gamified assessments as your candidate screening tool to reduce bias from your hiring process. Play the Free Demo of our award-winning recruitment game!

Stay Connected

Get more news or tips about HR technology, specifically gamified recruitment
by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter.


There’s more to read

  • Soft Skills in the Workplace — All You Need to Know

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    April 9, 2021

  • How to Use AI for Bulk Recruitment

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    October 1, 2020

  • Diversity Hiring: How to Build Your Company’s Diverse Talent Pipeline

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    July 11, 2020

  • Ultimate Candidate Experience Checklist For Recruiters

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    October 26, 2020

  • Hiring Gen Z? Here’s What You Need to Keep in Mind

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    June 2, 2021

  • Socially Distanced, Virtually Engaged: Recruitment in the Age of COVID-19

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    May 8, 2020

  • Top HR Trends That Will Rule 2021 And Beyond

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    January 28, 2021

  • Data-Driven Talent Acquisition

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    June 22, 2020

  • Why Gender Diversity in the Workplace Is Important

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    October 29, 2020

  • INFOGRAPHIC: Unconscious Bias in Recruitment

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    April 24, 2020

  • News: The Talent Games gets featured in the Singapore HR Tech Market...

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    May 22, 2021

  • The Staggering Cost of a Bad Hire (And How to Avoid It)

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    June 28, 2021

  • INFOGRAPHIC: Source, Track, Hire from Home During COVID-19 Crisis

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    June 30, 2020

  • Forbes Article: Boosting Your Employer Brand To Fuel Talent Acquisition

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    February 24, 2021

  • How To Prevent Cheating In Online Assessments

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    July 24, 2020

  • Gamification in Recruiting: Everything You Need to Know

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    April 11, 2020

  • Press Release: Paul Keijzer – CEO of The Talent Games accepted into...

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    April 20, 2020

  • Press Release: The Talent Games Winning The “Best Candidate Experience” Award

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    July 27, 2020

  • Attract, Engage and Hire Millennials with Gamified Hiring Platform

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    November 27, 2020

  • The Talent Games to Host a Workshop at the Largest Independent TA...

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    September 22, 2020

  • Combating the She-Cession: How to Attract and Hire More Women

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    July 9, 2021

  • Tips & Tricks to Ace Your Video Interview

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    April 25, 2021

  • INFOGRAPHIC: Neurodiversity in the Workplace

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    April 2, 2021

  • Measuring Emotional Intelligence in Recruitment

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    February 14, 2021

  • Digital Assessment Tools: The Special Sauce for Hiring Millennials

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    April 18, 2020

  • C-Factor Gamified Assessment Platform

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    June 12, 2020

  • Tech Tiptoes into HR – The Rise of HR Tech

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    February 27, 2020

  • Use of AI to Eliminate Bias from the Recruitment Process

    Written By admin

    November 26, 2019

  • Recruiting during the Pandemic: How to Engage Passive Candidates

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    November 23, 2020

  • How Companies Are Nailing Social Media For Recruiting Millennial Talent

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    February 21, 2020

  • How to Make Better Talent Decisions with AI-Driven Predictive Analytics

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    September 9, 2020

  • How to Leverage a Full Spectrum of Talent Assessments

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    August 13, 2020

  • Building & Maintaining Your Employer Brand on Social Media

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    March 12, 2021

  • How to Use Gamified Assessments as a Candidate Screening Tool

    Written By admin

    November 27, 2019

  • HIRING CANDIDATES USING HR TECHNOLOGY INCREASES ROI – SURVEY REPORT 2019

    Written By admin

    November 25, 2019

  • Campus Recruiting with Online Gamified Talent Assessments

    Written By admin

    April 4, 2020

  • How Recruitment Marketing Can Transform Your Hiring Process

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    June 11, 2021

  • How Recruitment Technology Can Keep Your Unconscious Biases Aside

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    August 7, 2020

  • Digitizing the Recruitment Process amid COVID-19 Outbreak

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    March 18, 2020

  • News: The Talent Games featured in the Singapore HR Tech Market Map...

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    April 2, 2020

  • Candidate Experience: Everything You Need To Know

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    June 6, 2020

  • Building Your Millennial Employer Brand with Gamified Assessments

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    November 28, 2019

  • LEADERSHIP INTERVIEW: HR Digital Today Features The Talent Games

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    December 13, 2019

  • 10 Ways Recruitment Games Can Improve Your Candidate Experience

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    November 29, 2019

  • Why a Mobile-First Recruitment Strategy is Critical for Hiring Millennials

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    May 18, 2020

  • Why Ghosting Job Candidates Damages Your Employer Brand

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    April 16, 2021

  • Pre-Employment Testing & Screening Assessments: A Comprehensive Guide

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    March 13, 2020

  • Contactless Hiring: The New Normal in Talent Acquisition

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    August 31, 2020

  • 11 Dumbest Mistakes Candidates Make During Online Assessments

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    March 6, 2020

  • 2020 Year-In-Review – Our Milestones & Accomplishments

    Written By Daniyal Wali

    February 17, 2021

  • Millennial Recruitment: Use of Gamified Assessments [Infographic]

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    November 12, 2019

  • Forbes Article: What To Look For In A Gamified Recruitment Platform

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    July 3, 2020

  • ROI of Gamified Assessments For Recruiters [Infographic]

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    March 29, 2020

  • Forbes: How Gamification Can Enhance Your Candidate Experience

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    May 29, 2020

  • Finding the Right Candidate in an Employer-Driven Market

    Written By Neha Ahmed

    July 3, 2021

  • Protected: Nestlé Partners with The Talent Games for its Virtual Internship Program...

    Written By The Talent Games Marketing Team

    August 25, 2020

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of