Culture Fit or Culture Add? The Responsibility of Leaving No Room for Discrimination

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Companies have become more conscious of discrimination in their workplaces, which always creates positivity for the company and its employees. Employers have focused on culture fit rather than race, age, or gender to create a more diverse workplace. Although these efforts are admirable, unconscious bias often creeps into hiring. 


There is substantial evidence that we all hold implicit biases towards particular groups. For example, 80% of people who take the Implicit Association Test are biased against the elderly.


Implicit biases are hard to spot and even harder to overcome. We are more likely to hire people similar to us, whether consciously or unconsciously, so hiring based on culture fit alone can be dangerous. For companies to tackle discrimination, they must hire for culture add.


Hiring Based on Culture Fit


Hiring based on culture fit seems to make a lot of sense. After all, modern employees want to work in an inclusive, diverse workplace. However, there are several problems with taking this approach:

Since most interviewers think they are hiring based on culture fit, the problem is not solved. Instead, employers may lean on their biases because their diversity practices are not leading to better outcomes. As most employers are white men, "culture fit" hiring results in:

Although many companies do their best to diversify their companies, it is proven time and time again that employers are more likely to hire based on their own biases and subjective feelings. 


It is vital to note that most employers are purposely not doing this. It is common for us to judge people based on their physical characteristics or perceived biases from years of conditioning. 


It is a big reason why women are less likely to be seen as competent leaders despite evidence to the contrary. Women outperform men regarding humility, self-control, kindness, self-awareness, and social skills, meaning women are more likely to lead democratically.


Hiring Based on Culture Add


Candidates are not always hired based on their competence, talent, or potential. However, gender discrimination alone leads to a $12 trillion lower GDP, and that does not include the money lost from disability, age, race, and sexuality-based hiring discrimination in the workplace.


There is a substantial amount to gain when companies hire based on culture. A workplace that hires based on culture benefits by:

whopping 76% of job seekers consider diversity their top priority during a job search, and your new hires will know instantly if you practice what you preach. If you are interested in how your company compares, check out JobSage an employer review site focused on inclusion, purpose, growth, flexibility, and feedback. A lack of homogeneity in a workplace can make employees feel more relaxed, heard, and a part of the team.


How Successfully Hire Candidates Based on Culture Add


Most high-performing organizations reinforce equity, diversity, and inclusion in the hiring process. The Harvard Business Review found that companies with a high inclusion index are 6x more likely to have diverse leaders, which results in a more accountable workplace.


But, how do you create a more diverse workplace? Here are three ways you can accomplish this.


1. Use Machines Throughout the Hiring Process

Computers have no biases, so by incorporating software into your hiring process it will look at each candidate's experience, not their physical attributes. Even something as simple as a unique name can lower a candidate's chance of getting hired, so fall back on ATS software when possible.


It is also good to use non-gender-coded words in job descriptions and limit the "nice-to-have" requirements to attract more varied candidates. According to studies, 15% of women will not apply for a job if they do not meet the job's guidelines compared to 8% of men.


2. Avoid Time-Wasting Interviewing Practices


To remove a significant amount of bias in the hiring process, employers must do away with random interviewing questions or "making them up on the spot." If you do not ask every candidate the same question, how are you supposed to compare their answers fairly?


Interviewers should also steer clear of illegal or pointless questions, like: 

  • "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Although this appears to give you insight into a candidate's career goals, it forces them to respond with "with your company." Instead, ask where this position fits in your candidate's long-term career path.
  • "What would your former manager/enemy say about you?" These questions are meant to gauge an applicant's self-awareness, but it forces candidates to lie to you. Instead, ask what areas of professional growth they believe need improvement.
  • "Where do you live/What is your religion?" Personal questions like these are illegal, and they do not tell you how a candidate will perform. 

If you want to find out how a candidate will perform and add to your workplace culture, look up appropriate questions.


 3. Hire Based on Growth and Innovation


To access a more diverse pool of candidates, you must demonstrate your commitment to this practice. That means revolving your brand around inclusion. Your website, social media platforms, careers page, and current employees should all do their part to promote inclusivity.


You want to build an innovative culture filled with engaged employees that challenge each other and break new ground. Begin by challenging your unconscious biases and eliminating the status quo will improve your company's growth, innovation, and creativity.


Are you ready to begin CREATing AN INCLUSIVE, THRIVING ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL? Our Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Belonging workshops will help Tackle the bias & unleash empathy to Create stronger belonging by encouraging input from all perspectives, not just the familiar ones.

DEIB workshop


About the Author

Carla Jose

 Carla Jose is an experienced business and technology writer with a passion for creating insightful and engaging content that's easy to digest. Occasionally she spends her time playing with her cat while listening to her favorite podcasts.


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