5 Reasons to Hire People Who Don’t Fit the Culture

square peg and a round hole-metaphor for a misfit Hiring for culture fit is one of the key hiring mantra in the modern recruiting world. In fact, there are studies that show that one of the main reasons that new hires fail is due to a lack of culture or attitude fit in one form or another.

But, the more that I have looked at the hiring for culture fit paradigm the more uneasy I become with it. I think the term has been oversimplified and I think there are many situations when it is appropriate to hire someone who may be disruptive to your existing culture, and below I have set out several reasons why you might recruit people who really don’t fit your culture.

1.Your culture may be toxic

It could be that you current organizational culture or department subculture is toxic. For example:

Does your organization take too many risks or too few risks? Is there a lack of customer focus? Is your culture truly customer┬ácentered? Does your organization have an appropriate level of ethical conduct? And, more important, are these culture failings damaging employee engagement, customer satisfaction and shareholder satisfaction? If the answer is yes, then you may have a toxic culture and, along with other interventions, there is a strong argument to start hiring folks who don’t fit the current culture, but who are more in tune with a desired future cultural state.

2. More innovative organization

It is no coincidence that many of the world’s most innovative companies are also in the Fortune 500. It shows that innovative organizations can disrupt the market and gain competitive advantages, which ultimately drive success.

If you hire people from different industries, with different attitudes, with different view points and with an altogether different outlook, admittedly, you and some of your team members may clash with these disruptive elements; however, they can be a disruptive force for good, challenging yours and the team’s ideas and the status quo.

Yes, they will rock the boat (but most businesses are not on boats), but if this energy and disruption is managed and channeled effectively, you will generate new ideas, new ways of looking at things and perhaps open doors to new opportunities that you never knew existed. It could result in you opening a new office in a new country, launching a new product, or totally overhauling an existing product its mediocrity the organization has become accustomed to and accepting of.

3. Create a more customer-centric business

Your customers and clients will be diverse in terms of their individual personalities, outlooks, and attitudes. Organizations with a broader range of personalities, outlooks and viewpoints will be able to engage far more effectively and flexibly with a diverse client base. It can make you more customer centric.

4. Greater access to talent

If your organization can accept and channel a broad and diverse range of personalities and opinions, it will undoubtedly have a much larger candidate resource pool at its disposal, meaning it may be able to hire quality people faster.

5. More flexible

Having a broad range of attitudes, outlooks, and preferences can mean that your organization is able to respond in a more flexible way to a changing and dynamic marketplace. For example, as changes in the marketplace create a greater need for risk taking, the naturally innovative can step up to the mantle. But, if a period of consolidation is required, then perhaps the more conservative stalwarts then come in to their own. A diverse culture can make you more flexible and adaptable making it easier to exploit opportunities and combat threats.

in Organizational Culture]
Kazim Ladimeji
Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.