Somehow I Hire: Culture Fit or maybe Culture Benefit?

Welcome to post number 3 in sub-section Somehow I Hire.

Today I’m going to talk about my favorite topic when it comes to hiring and I assume most people I work with will roll their eyes when they’ll read this, as I can be somewhat annoying about this topic.

“So, What is the topic?!!?!?” You’re asking, my reply to you is: Read the title!

“Well Raz, Why even talk about this?”

There are a million articles online, why you should hire culture fit, but also there are a million articles online talking why you shouldn’t hire according to culture fit, hmmmm I’m confused!

I wanted to share my own opinions about this matter, when to consider culture fit and when to consider “non-culture fit” (and what the F it means?)


Culture Fit

First of all, I’ll quote Charles that left a comment on my post: Somehow I Hire: Value VS Risk when recruiting  “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” and dammit he’s right!

Please remember, culture is the driving force in an organization, processes are there to help the culture, if the culture and the processes clash, the processes will be abused to bend and adhere to the culture.

Culture change takes time, processes, value settings, and new hires will to support it, but it’s not an easy task.

If you reached a place where things are working well for you if you feel you want to encourage behavior, consider hiring for culture fit!

Example Time! (Yay):

If you have an organization that works fast, breaks stuff and figures out as you go, and that attitude is the in the core values of your org, hiring someone that doesn’t share these values will:

  • Slow down your progression to deliver
  • Will not fit in the team and probably there will be frictions within the team
  • Change the dynamic of the team, to one you might not like (remember a team is an immutable object, any change you make, it’s a new team altogether).

Hiring is tricky! sometimes you’ll meet great candidates that would be a good fit, but not at this time, if you can’t accommodate for them, you are setting them and yourself to fail.

“Question Raz, What are the guidelines to hire Culture Fit?”

Great question!

Before you open a position, ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve here? are you trying to be faster? what are the weak points that you are trying to fix? in the end, there’s no magic answer (or even questions), just trying to understand the team you have, the culture you want to support and to ask if that specific person can get you there.

Culture Benefit

it’s easier now to answer what this means, right? well… no! It’s not the opposite of hiring for culture fit and that’s a classic example that happens when people don’t hire culture fit, they hire people that don’t fit… that’s not what you want…

“Raz, What do you want then?”

Great question again, you are on fire!

When you decide not to hire “culture fit” doesn’t mean you decide to hire unfit… because that will destroy your team! (Team = immutable object, remember)

What you need to decide is to hire culture benefit… a person that is able to play along in your culture, a person that almost fits, but also infuses it with something new, the spark the team needs to take the next step.

Important Guidelines:

  • Figure out what you want to solve with such a person added (What is the culture you want to have, what’s missing now)
  • Can this person do it? Would s/he like the atmosphere to drive change?
  • Have the buy-in of the team, we are all human, changes are difficult, even if you don’t have a full buy-in, by discussing it you allow prepare them.
  • As always, culture is super important, but if the person has the culture you want, but doesn’t have the other skills needed, just don’t!

Example Time Again!!!!!

Similar to my previous example, you work in a growing startup, you move fast, you break stuff, but now you grew big, you have accumulated a huge tech-debt and you start breaking stuff more often than you need, maybe customers are complaining or even leaving… even though there are processes in place to avoid this to happen, people manage to still do those pesky things, but within the processes… (remember what Charles said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”)

You probably want to infuse your culture with someone to drive quality and accountability, a person that can (from within) drive this message, can convince why what you’ve done until now is great and it got you where you got, but now a change is needed… that person still needs to fit with the team, get along, be able to work with them, just to infuse a change of taking care of things better and accountability… That’s it 🙂


“So Raz, What’s the point?”

The point is, don’t be dogmatic, yes, there are many articles that tell you to always hire/never hire culture fit… ignore those! ask yourself:

  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • What are my goals?
  • What do I want to get with this new hire?

And think about the characteristics that a person needs to have to get there, don’t neglect culture, it’s the driving force of your strategy! think how to improve what you need, don’t look for magic solutions and never ever EVER! hire someone that doesn’t fit your culture, hire someone that your culture would benefit from, but that person still needs to fit in other ways.


Thanks for reading this! See you next time.

2 thoughts on “Somehow I Hire: Culture Fit or maybe Culture Benefit?

  1. Great post Raz! Really like the hands on tips,
    I can’t take credit for the “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” , it’s from Peter Drucker ☺️

    Looking forward to the next article!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s