"Not the right cultural fit"

Making it to the final round of an interview process and getting the feedback of not the right ‘cultural fit’ can be heart breaking. It is a tough one for us recruiters to have to relay because it raises so many questions from the candidate and rightly so.

"Was it something I said?"

"What aspect of me didn’t they feel was a fit?"

"What do they even mean by that?"

These are some of the obvious ones, but there are many more, it is a really sticky topic and there are so many variables to it and a lot has been written on the role ‘unconscious bias’ plays. However, without wanting to go too deep in to the subject, I believe there are some quick wins when it comes to cultural fit: 

Research the firm’s values - reference them in interviews and demonstrate an understanding and commitment to these values. 

Address the cultural differences in advance - self-awareness is key, and predicting the short falls or differences in advance demonstrates this in abundance. For example, the possible cultural differences going from a smaller business to a much larger one - how will you demonstrate that you can adapt? 

Read the signs - some interviewers are easier to read than others are, but more often than not, you can tell if you are on the right track by body language and eye contact.

Do not force it - you cannot win them all, be natural in an interview and give the panel an insight in to your personality - let your skills and experiences talk for themselves.

Cultural fit is not a science and unfortunately, there is not a hard and fast formula you can apply to avoid it, but hopefully the above will go some way in either understanding the feedback or even better avoiding all together. 

The good news is that we have definitely seen a shift in companies proactively looking to add to their cultural diversity, so I am confident ‘culture fit’ feedback will in the near future, cease to be used as reason for rejecting a candidate.

By Rob Casselle, Manager HR - Recruitment


Recruitment , HR
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