top of page

DEI in 5: Bite-Sized Discussions on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Ep6: "Culture Fit"

During yesterday’s episode, episode 5, we defined company culture. If you missed it, definitely go back and check it out; it was about 4 minutes or less.

Today, I want us to talk about this idea of “culture fit.” When it comes to hiring and recruiting, companies have for a very long time had the habit of seeking candidates who are a “culture fit.”

Leveraging “culture fit” as part of a person’s qualifications can be detrimental to DEI for a number of reasons.

To start, the term “culture fit” is very subjective. As discussed in episode 5, “company culture” can refer to a lot of things. And if the leaders of an organization haven’t taken the time to align and define what their company culture is (which, unfortunately, is often the case), then it is open for interpretation.

One thing that has been consistent, however, is the fact that the use of the term “culture fit” has historically been code for hiring people who are similar to those who are already a part of the organization. There’s this idea that a person should “fit” the culture, as it relates to their demographic identity, their educational background, their lifestyle, hobbies or interests, or even how they present themselves to others.

This approach often leads to a lack of diversity, as you’re hiring and retaining homogenous teams. And if you automatically thought about a lack of diversity in terms of gender or race, it’s important to remember that a VARIETY of dimensions of diversity can be impacted by “culture fit.”

One common example of this is when an organization doesn’t support work-life balance, and there’s a culture that’s fast-paced and folks are consistently working extremely long hours.

You’ll often find that the company will gravitate towards hiring people who have limited obligations outside of their work—for example, while illegal, a company like this might try to avoid hiring folks who are parents, or planning to be parents, or those who are caregivers.

Not a 'culture fit' is often used in a scenario like this without any real explanation.

Another good example that I’ve seen frequently is as it relates to age discrimination. An older person may be well qualified for a role, but a younger team can’t imagine being social with them, and therefore labels them as not being a “culture fit.”

So, what should we be looking for instead of culture fit? Ideally, we want to be intentional about diversity—and again, not diversity just as it relates to race or gender, but also as it relates to educational background (for example, not everyone needs to have attended a well-known school to be qualified to join a team).

We should be open to different ages, physical disabilities, neurodiversity, etc.

In an ideal world, we should seek to hire people who come with new perspectives

So that’s it for today. Let me know what you think about this idea of culture fit. If you enjoyed this video, please be sure to like and subscribe for more. I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Resources for today's discussion:

bottom of page