Culture fit has become a standard when we consider candidates for a position. Will the candidate fit into our workplace culture? Will he or she be happy here?

But looking to secure hires that “fit in” can leave us lacking. Why should we aim to hire candidates who are like us or other team members we already have on board? Does it really constitute growth when we use our opportunity by expanding in a familiar direction?

This mode of operation can perpetuate rather than challenge our biases.

We, the hiring team, are in a position to intentionally shape our professional culture. We get to pursue the enhancements it needs by finding candidates who can contribute what it’s missing.

It’s essential that we define and target areas of cultural weakness, and pursue recruits who stand to fill those voids.

After all, we want to hire those who stand out, not those who fit in.


Define your company’s core identity, its DNA. Be fearlessly self-reflective about where your team hits the mark and falls short. Why is this the case? What could help? Who could help? In addition to the standard battery of qualifications, what kind of personality traits might enhance your team: We need a good presenter. We need someone structured. We need a deep thinker.

Reflect, too, on why there’s a vacancy. Has a new position been created? Did an employee leave? If so, why? How did he or she add to the culture? What can be learned from his or her contribution and departure? What can a new hire enhance or change? Mindfully shape your team’s next stage of growth.

Culture add rooted in values

You want employees who subscribe to your company’s core values while enhancing those with fresh perspectives, skills, and approaches. These stand to deepen and enhance the fundamentals.

Target a culture that furthers those core elements through simplification, invention, employee empowerment and long-term thinking. In doing so you future proof the company, as you exist in a state of perpetual evolution and development. When you pivot to the right of developing employee potential and inspiring performance, you intentionally shape the culture through innovation which accelerates future growth.

Diversity of experience, ability and mindset

Create interview questions inviting candidates to showcase diverse experiences. Encourage discussions about how they’ve learned, self-examined or transformed. Cultivate candidate pools that are rich with recruits who bring varied perspectives and capabilities.

Pay attention to the language in job ads you prepare, as it can be enhanced with cultural cues. Candidates respond to language that includes them. Mindfully pursue candidates who have the cultural adds you’re seeking when you update the language in the post.

Diversity is of the utmost value because it leads to broader ideas and results. Diversity of thought, experiences and viewpoints yield richer teams positioned to produce more holistic outcomes.

But the fullness of that resource remains untapped unless you create a culture where the members of your team feel like they can truly be themselves. Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow explains: “There is uncertainty of belonging at work. Diversity efforts fall short unless people feel like they belong.”

[Related: Glassdoor Tools That’ll Help You Unlock a Winning Recruiting Strategy]

Create a “culture of belonging”

When you hire for culture add versus culture fit, you, in essence, assert that what binds our team is their quality, commitment, and values. Team members fit because they share these essentials, which they channel via their unique abilities. They don’t match each other; they complement each other.

Cultivate team members’ potential by understanding their strengths and empowering them. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that your skills add unique value to a stellar team. You’re a connected standout, just like your peers, making your team shine.

Wadors explains: “Belonging means I can be authentic, I matter, and I am essential to my team.”

Keep your team sharp

Standout professionals are hungry for advancement. They want to grow their skills and talents. Development is a critical component for diverse talent, or else you’re just developing a feeder pool that your competition will love you for.

Create mentorships and sponsorships. Find mentors who are willing to repay the debt of being taught by teaching others what they’ve learned. Encourage behaviors that are non-judgmental, accountable, supportive, transparent, clear and truthful.

Constantly challenge the status quo. Give team members new opportunities to work with different colleagues. This breaks down subcultures and silos and disrupts instances where productivity can give way to the kind of groupthink that can suck all the air out of the room.

Wadors explains: “Creating an inclusive work environment where everyone is treated beautifully, enables employees to bring their ‘best self’ to work. They will be motivated to contribute more, to be more creative and go the extra yard. It also creates a competitive advantage for companies that create this type of culture.”

Originally published at


  • Tammy Perkins

    Chief People Officer

    PMI Worldwide

    Tammy is the Chief People Officer of PMI Worldwide, where she leads Human Resources for PMI’s family of brands including Stanley and Aladdin. Prior to joining PMI, Tammy worked with major brands and startups including Amazon, Microsoft, and Fjuri – leading HR and talent acquisition during periods of high growth and transformation.