The Verdict: Cultural Fit is Out – Culture Add is In

Hiring for cultural fit may hinder your company's growth efforts by quelling innovation. But culture add creates value for your organization.

Cultural fit has been crucial to hiring processes for years – organizations hunt for talent that can seamlessly integrate with their work culture. The reasons behind hiring for culture fit are many; like-minded individuals adapt better to your work environment and keep your existing culture thriving.

But is it time to rock the boat?

A growing body of research reveals the vitality of building diverse, inclusive tech teams, and hiring for cultural fit may hinder this effort. Thus, to bridge the gap, you’ll need to add and improve your work culture, not maintain the status quo.

And that’s why many tech organizations are gravitating towards culture add, prioritizing it over cultural fit.

What is culture add?

Culture add is the value a prospective employee adds to a company’s culture that it was previously lacking. This value may be in the form of experiences, innovative ideas, or new perspectives.

Comparing culture fit vs. culture add - which wins out?

Culture fit prioritizes acquiring candidates who fit well with a company’s existing culture and values. In contrast, cultural add focuses on improving your company’s existing environment by bringing in new values, perspectives, and experiences.

So, cultural add aims to create a well-rounded, improved company culture.

Because cultural fit prioritizes hiring like-minded individuals, there is less room for growing your company’s culture. Organizations have realized the vitality of diversity in the modern age, and assessing for cultural fit could be hurting your diversity efforts. For tech companies, this means losing out on valuable new perspectives and innovations that a diverse engineering team brings.

A diversity report by McKinsey & Company shows that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity have a 35% increased chance of above-median financial returns. This revenue growth is attributed to the improved creativity and innovation that a diverse, inclusive workforce offers.

5 Tips to hire for culture add

There are two ways to approach your cultural hiring: you can either look for like-minded individuals and focus on culture fit, or you can expand your team’s abilities with cultural add. Research has shown that the latter is better for your company’s long-term growth.

And here are a few ways to hire for culture add, especially in tech talent acquisition.

Identify what your company culture needs

It’s challenging but necessary to identify the faults and cracks in your company’s culture. Identifying the shortcoming is crucial to developing a proactive strategy and improving your organization’s culture.

You might benefit from seeking different perspectives, so you can consider consulting colleagues and asking for their opinions. They may have insights to share about what they feel is lacking from the culture, and where there is room for improvement.

Look for positive change

Straightforward, labor-intensive tasks seldom demand strategic tech hiring. It’s more of a numbers game – the more workers you hire with the matched skillset, the greater the efficiency.

However, as tasks become more complex and skills-orientated, hiring more workers does not necessarily add value. Instead, your organization may benefit more from hiring engineers with different perspectives, thought processes, and experiences.

So if you continually hire for cultural fit, you’ll fail to add value to your organization past a point. That’s why cultural add is crucial – because at a certain point, adding value requires changing the narrative. Hire better, not more. And hire inclusively.

Diversify your talent sourcing

It’s easy to become accustomed to fixed talent sources. You might have a set of preferred, nearby universities to hire fresh tech talent from, or a recruiting site for acquiring good software developers. However, limiting yourself to these talent sources could be mitigating cultural add.

Hiring for cultural add requires renewing your approach to tech hiring. You’ll need to evaluate candidates differently and prioritize a ‘newness’ that your organization currently lacks. So, diversifying your talent sources could help significantly. You might discover new pools of tech talent that can add value to your organization in a novel way.

Improve your employer branding

A survey by Glassdoor shows that 76% of job seekers consider diversity in the workplace as an important deciding factor when evaluating prospective teams, and an Atlassian study found nearly half of employees believe their organization needs to increase their diversity.

So the takeaway here is that a lack of diversity and inclusivity might not just hurt your existing work culture, but hinder your talent acquisition, too. For these reasons, establishing positive employer branding is crucial. Prospective candidates need to know that your company is inclusive and encourages a forward-thinking culture.

Reduce hiring bias with merit-first, objective screening

One of the most effective ways to assess for cultural add is to reduce unconscious hiring bias. Unfortunately, these prejudices creep into the recruiting process unknowingly. So many organizations strive to design technical screening processes that are inherently anti-bias.

For example, technical skills tests are commonly leveraged by tech organizations to prioritize practical skills and reduce hiring bias. Similarly, organizations may provide applicants with project-based tasks to assess their practical skills.

By prioritizing merit-based hiring, organizations can naturally gravitate towards hiring for culture add.


Hiring for cultural add improves the quality of your company culture and encourages diversity. This, in turn, boosts productivity, drives innovation, and helps your organization grow meaningfully.

However, hiring engineers for culture add requires thoroughly revamping your existing technical recruitment strategy. It’s important for organizations to recognize and eliminate bias, diversify their talent sourcing, and establish strong employer branding to attract and secure the best tech talent.

WeCP(We Create Problems) helps organizations hire diverse tech talent and reduce recruitment biases. On WeCP employers can assess candidates across 12+ performance metrics and make data-driven hiring decisions.

To learn more about how you can diversify your tech talent acquisition and hire for culture addition with WeCP, schedule a demo today.


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