Cultural Fit or Culturally Additive?

Cultural Fit
A Welcoming Invitation

Yesterday my friend Ben Eubanks wrote a post on cultural fit of recruits. He cautioned about trying to take a superstar candidate and hire that candidate into an organization where there would not be a good cultural fit.

I agree, with a great big HOWEVER.

Imagine working for an organization that has been successful by most measures, but sees the need for a cultural change. The way technologies and markets change, it is quite possible that this business may need to substantially change its methods or even its product lines. Customer bases change, and so the understanding of the customer needs to match that change. An emphasis on hiring the right cultural fit can be short-sighted if it results in a narrow culture. Too much cultural fit can lead to too much group think, too much respect for status-quo, and too much internal affirmation of plans, strategies, and decisions.

To encourage the diversity of thought that so many talk about these days, you need to look for candidates who can be culturally additive to your organization, not a match to your current culture.

But to do that implies a few things:

  • Your organization understands what it wants its culture to be in the near future
  • Your organization understands its culture today, and isn’t too proud to change it
  • Your organization has leaders who are willing to bring challenge into their own organization as a way of making it stronger

Are you making your next hire culturally additive, or culturally submissive? Most importantly, are you doing so consciously?

2 Responses to Cultural Fit or Culturally Additive?

  1. I know recruiters and hiring managers are obsessed with culture fit. And for good reason. However, I think the way forward is to hire cultural additives. The best universities keep expanding their net for cultural additives and do great. So should organisations.
    If you like, you could read my post, ‘diversity by design’ at

Leave a reply