itContracting Brian Coss cultural fit

What Recruiters Mean by Cultural Fit And Why It’s Important

itContracting’s Technology Recruitment Specialist Brian Coss explains what ‘cultural fit’ is, why it’s important for candidates when choosing their next IT role and how he assesses a company’s culture.

What does cultural fit mean?

Cultural fit refers to how closely the values and ethos of the IT candidate and the company align. A company’s culture is formed upon the fundamental values, vision and mission of the company, created by the founding board or C-level management.

This can also include social, economic, professional factors, personal beliefs and behaviours.

The encouragement of these belief systems and habits of staff by senior management behaviours and ethos creates the atmosphere and climate for company culture.

Gartner also states company culture as “the set of behavioural norms and unwritten rules that shape the organisational environment and how individuals interact and get work done.”

When these elements are compatible to a candidate’s general way of working and previous work environment experiences, this creates a professional-social cohesion that has both the employees and the employer working towards the same goal.


Why is it so important for the candidate to find a good cultural fit?

In today’s market, a candidate matching the core values and culture of the company, rather than the skill set, is fast becoming the key deciding factor in whether a candidate gets hired.

According to, 43% of hiring managers rank being a ‘cultural fit’ as the top factor when making hiring decisions.

It is supremely important, as a fit will allow a seamless integration while also allowing the person to bring his or her own individual and unique benefit to the team.


What are the pitfalls companies face by focusing on company culture?

Many employers and hiring managers can make the mistake of focusing too much effort on finding individuals that match 100% to the existing team members and the company’s overall culture.

It is important that the potential IT candidate aligns closely to the company’s values. Yet, it is also important for the future development of a company to allow for diversity and inclusivity in this respect. Why? Because this will in-turn bring new ideas and ways of doing things.

In this increasingly competitive IT market, the transferral of new ideas will allow organisations to evolve and grow. Those that target ‘like for like’ in terms of cultural fit could risk stagnation, and falling behind their competition.


How do you assess a company’s cultural fit?

Each company or organisation exists because they have identified a problem which its service offering or product can address and manage for customers and consumers.

What really helps me to assess the culture of the company, is to understand the problem the company is solving, and what the key motivation for their offering is:

e.g. to make money, a passionate belief in the uniqueness and value their core products or services are offering, or a drive to improve society.

Through speaking with existing employees, and walking through a facility, you can get a sense of a company’s culture. However, companies and organisations exist and function because of the people who work there. Therefore, if you can uncover the overall motivations of the team, you can then identify the culture of a company.

Once you identify the core drivers of a business, you can then match that to the core motivation of the candidate, and help guide the satisfactory match between both.

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