, stresses that a strong company culture can be the most powerful tool to attract, engage, and retain talent and recruiters should take advantage of that.

According to Cassandra Brown, for years most companies have been placing a big emphasis on assessing if a candidate is a cultural fit before making an offer.

But, according to Pat Wadors, LinkedIn’s Head of HR, assessing for culture fit can often lead to a “hire like me” mentality.

So, how do you hire for culture fit without falling into a pattern of hiring too similar of people?

Brendan Browne, Head of Talent and LinkedIn, and Pat Wadors, talk about the issues surrounding culture fit and the need to start thinking about it differently in order to make better hiring decisions.

According to Pat Wadors, “fit” is best looked at from a 15,000 foot view — the way a specific puzzle piece (or person) uses their own unique background and experiences to fill a gap is “fit.” The way multiple pieces come together to form a bigger picture is company culture.

break culture fit down into more tangible, assessable pieces.

An employee’s impact on culture is threefold: stylistic fit, skillset fit, and expectation fit.

The stylistic fit is the way an individual communicates, debates, gives/receives gratitude, and builds relationships.

The skillset fit is more obvious and the easiest to assess during the hiring process.

Expectation fit can be defined by how well a candidate’s career preferences and aspirations intersect with the current and future operations of the company.

Setting clear expectations around your company culture and how it’s lived out on a day-to-day basis can help candidates understand if this is a place where they will reach their full potential — ultimately lowering the risk for the future attrition of that candidate.

When Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn, thinks about company culture, she doesn’t consider it a nice to have – it’s absolutely critical for every company.

According to Pat Wadors, you might have a great strategy, but if you don’t have the energy, freedom, respect, and appreciation that healthy culture provides, your employees won’t get you over the finish line.

 reporting on the impact of culture says: The question then becomes, how do you build that company culture and scale it as your organization grows? 

According to Pat Wadors, building company culture all starts with an assessment – you have to step back and find out how people at your company feel and what they believe.

Ask them:

Why are you here?

Why do you stay?

Look at your engagement scores, the conversion rate from recruiting, and what the causes are behind candidates leaving.

“You’ll find out people are there for different reasons – some for money, some for purpose, and some for people. And when you have people following people, they will leave if that person leaves. If they are there for the culture and vision, you will keep getting healthier,” she says.

“From start up to scale up, understanding the value of culture is a life cycle… it’s a competitive differentiator because the people you bring in tend to stay and be engaged. If you don’t harness that today, its an opportunity cost.”

Finally: “If you can’t role model what you seek, it won’t be true for your company culture over time.”


Leverage Company Culture to Unsell the Job

According to Brendan Browne, Head of Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn, “[company culture] is something that you should show and candidates [must] feel at any touchpoint that they have with you.”

“From a recruiting point of view you need to be mindful and very intentional as you are doing that …this is going to be touchpoint that will shape the perception of what your company is like,” emphasizes Brendan Browne.

In fact, one of the most powerful and important conversations a recruiter can have with a candidate is to unsell the job and point out any issues the company may have.

Browne explains that the “unselling the job” conversation should sound something like this:

“There are some things we don’t do well, things are not perfect here, this is not for everyone. Find people who left the organization who didn’t like it and I can give you names…and you need to determine whether what we value and what you have experienced during the interviews is a place where you want to show up every day.”

This approach can make all the difference when talking to a candidate because:

  • It builds trust: just like life outside of work is not only roses, candidates don’t expect that life in the workplace is. When a recruiter or a hiring manager dares to be open and honest about the company shortcomings, this immediately builds trust and opens up a more constructive dialogue with the candidate.
  • It sets expectations: There is nothing worse than an excited new hire realizing that working in the company is not all that the recruiter made it out to be — this can lead to rapid sinking of morale and damage your employer brand. Having an “unselling the job” conversation will help you set expectations with candidates so they know what they are getting themselves into and prevent situations like these.
  • It forces self-selection: Having such an honest conversation with the candidate allows them to hit the pause button and really think about if what the company offers through its products, people, and culture really aligns with what they are looking for. This way they can tap out of the interview process and save you a lot of hours regretting a hire that didn’t work out.

Pandora Media shares why ‘culture fit’ should be replaced with ‘culture add’

In Pandora Media’s popular breakout, Marta Riggins, Director of Employee Experience & Recruitment Marketing at the radio company, tells us why the world should ban the term ‘culture fit.’ Instead, she thinks this exclusionary term should be replaced with ‘culture add.’ Lisa Lee, Pandora’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion, shows us how ‘culture add’ can be used to start more thoughtful conversations that don’t exclude potentially great talent.

Culture should be viewed as a living, ever-evolving force within an organization.

In this way, it allows individuals of diverse thoughts, experiences, and backgrounds to have an equal ability to both contribute to and benefit from the culture of their organization.

There is no one “right” set of qualifications that would make somebody a champion of company culture, so assessing for “culture fit” may not be yielding the results your organization is seeking.

“If you have a high performing, engaged culture, they have higher discretionary effort, they have higher innovation, they wake up problem solving, they collaborate, and they ask people more questions to get diversity of thought,” Pat Wadors says. And, it’s that type of behavior that will lead a company to success.

Talent on Tap is a weekly series where Pat Wadors and Brendan Browne break down some of the hottest topics, biggest challenges, and most enticing opportunities in the world of talent. Talent on Tap will also give you an opportunity to hear from other organizational leaders, subject matter experts, and thought leaders in the space. Stay tuned each week for the latest.