The pitfalls of recruiting people who 'fit into your culture'

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So many articles published on the web report of the importance of nurturing and abiding to a company culture. This blog post from Talk Business for instance remarks on the use of company culture to improve efficiency and boost employee retention.

We’re here to tell you that, despite reports, being so strictly adhered to a company culture and all the values, traditions and customs it dictates could be hampering the development of your company and the team at its heart.

Break the mould

Companies desperately seeking cultural ambassadors or candidates who ‘fit the mould’ could be doing more harm than good when recruiting. The process of evaluating a potential candidate’s fit is often wrongly prioritised above their relevant experience, employment history and qualifications.

Diversity matters in teams, and companies avoiding the culture fit often excel in terms of innovation as Creativity Guru and distinguished professor Dr. R. Keith Sawyer details:

“We know from creativity research that the most innovative teams have cognitive diversity. That means that each person has a different set of ideas, practices, and knowledge. This drives innovation, because the most creative ideas combine very different ideas. If everyone in the group has the same cognitive material inside their skull, they won’t make those ‘distant combinations’ that result in breakthrough creativity.”

A transient culture

As ideas grow and markets evolve, businesses have to change. Despite this the vast majority of companies insist on their culture being a fixed entity, particularly when providing the illusion of tradition, which can be very attractive and comforting to new and existing customers. Cultural change should however be embraced every step of the way.


A transient culture that moves with the times is more likely to make use of the latest ideas and innovations that take a business to the very top of their industry sector. Through this seemingly relaxed attitude to upholding your company culture, you can empower teams to think more freely.

Safety in localisation

For companies not ready to be as free flowing with their company values and customs, embracing localisation will provide a stepping stone to success. Culture can be localised by being more specific to groups within the organisation rather than the organisation as a whole. Opportunities for change can then be realised, with the little and big conversations had as a result able to enhance the company from within.

Culture localisation can improve safety and effectiveness within individual groups. This psychological safety works to inspire - not inhibit, people when sharing their views openly. With localisation, the experiences and ideas of team members can be encouraged, heard and supported in a safe environment.

This means a diverse range of opinions can craft values that every team member is happy with and supportive of. Power differences can in turn be mitigated. Vulnerable leadership for example paves the way for smarter solutions and a more informed, in-tune organisation.

Safety and creativity can go hand-in-hand when building a team who can support innovation within an organisation. Your team will have the safety and space to share even the most difficult, unsafe, or questionable feedback without fear of being judged, or the expectation to act or respond in a certain manner.