Is ‘Culture Fit’ Code? Hiring for Diversity and Inclusion

15 October 2020
2 minute
hiring for diversity & inclusion

The market thinks: Skillsets aside, organisations should hire for culture fit. 

Thomas knows: Hiring for role, team and manager fit instead will cultivate a thriving, diverse workforce. 

So, now you know. We like to think we’re objective beings – but we’re really, really not. In this article we’ll delve deeper into how biases can negatively impact your recruitment process. 

Biased culture breeds biased culture 

Many businesses – especially big ones – attract wide and varied application pools. Which, in theory, is great. However, in practice, it’s easy for all that promising diversity to become watered down. If you’re not in a minority group yourself, you might not even notice it happening.  

But why does this happen, despite the fact that many organisations are mindful of hiring for diversity and inclusion? Well, often, when businesses try to hire for culture fit, they end up taking on more of the same. In this way, ‘we’re looking for a good culture fit’ ends up being unspoken code for ‘we’re looking for someone just like us’.  

It can be easy to unconsciously fall into this trap, due to the erroneous assumption that candidates need to fit in with certain cultural aspects. Unfortunately, this perpetuates any exclusive or toxic practices that might be in play at your organisation. 

Mix up your management 

What’s more, if you hire too many decision makers of the same ilk, your culture will, inadvertently, be shaped to their advantage. This might look like: 

  • Early meetings that are tailored to suit men rather than women, who are more likely to be the person in charge of getting the kids off to school. 
  • Team outings that are suited to one set of interests – think a round of pints and a game of footy down the pub.  
  • Development trends that see similar types of people being promoted. 

You can’t force diversity overnight 

Instead, the best way to become more diverse and inclusive is to: 

  • Standardise your hiring process, so you’re measuring everybody against the same standards. While ensuring the best role, team and manager fit. 
  • Use assessments that have no adverse impact against people based on age, gender, ethnicity and other protected characteristics. 

With the right assessment tools, you can know that every candidate has an equal chance of doing well. And, you can counteract any perceptions of bias, both to the candidates themselves and others observing the process. 

Top takeaways

To make sure you’re giving everyone a fair chance, you need to recruit objectively. It’s the best way to weed out unconscious bias, and transform your business into the inclusive, diverse organisation it should be. 

You also need to make sure you have a good mix of people in leadership positions, so they can consider the implications that business decisions might have on all kinds of people.  

New to psychometrics? Get the lowdown here.

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