In our previous article about “Cultural Fit” we examined the different meanings of this term: The term of “Fit” is divided in two parts – the fit between the organisation and person (“Person-Organisation Fit,” Kristof, 1996), and the fit between the job and person (person-job fit, Edwards, 1991). Mostly, however, when speaking of cultural fit, we mean person-organisation-fit. In this article, we focus on the question: How do I measure if candidates match the organisation?

Cultural Fit is considered to be very important – but in practice, there are still some basic things missing.

At first, you need to define WHAT the candidate should actually fit: What are the values, expectations, and objectives of the company? If the basics of the company are not known, then one cannot know how candidates must fit exactly. For many companies, the heart of the problem lies in the fact that company culture has not been defined at all. Or if it has indeed been defined at some point, it probably is some sort of “ghost record” hidden in old marketing documents that are seldom revisted.

The online assessment company Cubiks published a study last year: 500 companies (from 54 countries, 63% of which came from Europe) provided insights of their conception and eventual transformation of job and cultural fit.

Please note that when writing about Cultural Fit, we primarily mean the person-organisation fit. As for person-job fit, please read our previous article.

Only a third of the companies in question account for cultural fit

85% of companies stated that Cultural Fit plays a very important roll in the selection process. However, only 54% have a defined company culture (and hopefully an experienced one), but hardly one-third of the participants of the survey actually measure Cultural Fit. Interestingly, around 20% of those who actually measure cultural fit stated that they do not have any defined company culture… which leads to the conclusion that “a candidate’s organisational fit” is more the result of a subjective feeling than the result of an objective analysis.

Face-to-face interview is the most commonly used method for measuring cultural fit

The overwhelming majority of 95% said they would check cultural fit in a personal face-to-face interview – which makes it easy to have a subjective feeling about whether a candidate matches the company culture or not. Again, the problem is that this “personal” evaluation has no pre-defined criteria that explain company culture and enable objective evaluation. The resume is reported to have litte relevance for detecting cultural fit.

Three tips for actually measuring cultural fit

Here are three tips on how you can start assessing your candidate’s cultural fit. Of course, there might be more! If you can think of any other useful advice, leave a comment!

1. Define a cultural concept for the company by asking yourself the question : “Where are we now? What are our current company values?” And – if you are planning to change your values: “Where do we want to go? What are the characteristics of our future organisation that our candidates should identify with?”

2. Introduce special “barriers” in candidate pre-selection in order to enable a so-called “negative selection”. That means you will sort out those canididates who do NOT match your organisation.

3. Introduce special “barriers” in a final selection step such as the face-to-face interview in order to assess which candidates DO fit your organisational values. This is called “positive selection”. However, you need to make sure that you predefine valuable criteria to properly assess the candidate fit without making room for a “gut feeling”.

Next week, we will go into more detail concerning pre-selection and tell you what questions you can ask in a video interview to successfully assess your candidates’ cultural fit.