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3 Reasons To Care About Job & Culture Fit

- 19 Feb 2021 by Yehezkiel Faoma Taslim

What do recruiters look for in a candidate? If you say experience and skills, you’re not wrong. In the 6 seconds spent scanning a resume, the most important things a recruiter looks for are roles/responsibilities, relevant experience, and skills.

But experience and skills aren’t the only things that matter anymore.

Recruiters are realizing that fit plays a vital part in candidates.

Fit here means the right personality and the right company culture.

Around 80% of Fortune 500 companies are already using personality tests in assessment and recruitment. Back in 2016, over 50% of companies in the Asia-Pacific are testing for culture fit. In 2020 that number went up to 66% of companies who are assessing candidates to identify personality fit and culture fit.

Clearly fit is becoming a big deal in recruitment. Why is that?

The meaning of “fit”

Many of us might be familiar with the P-J (Person-Job) Fit theory which seeks to explain how well a person suits a particular job. While similar, the “fit” that we’re going to talk about is a bit deeper than that.

Fit can be divided into two categories:

  • Job fit is when a candidate’s personality, thinking style, and career drive and interests match the nature and tasks of the job applied to.
  • Culture fit is when a candidate’s personality and culture preferences match the company’s unique work culture.

When a candidate possesses this fit, on top of the right skills, you can be sure that they’re the perfect one for the job.

Because without being a good fit, a skilled candidate wouldn’t be able to bring much to the table, no matter how shiny their resume might be.

How fit became as important as skills and experience

1. Fit = job performance

It turns out that job performance isn’t decided by technical skills alone. Job and culture fit play an important role in determining whether or not a candidate would do well in their future job.

According to an analysis of more than 90 studies over 30 years, it’s found that good fit is directly related with high levels of job satisfaction and commitment to the company, which in turn results in high job performance.


Good fit = high satisfaction, commitment, and performance.
Poor fit = poor performance, risk of turnover.


On the other hand, having a poor fit with the job and company culture makes employees feel dissatisfied and unmotivated. This leads to not only poor performance but also turnover, which makes the recruiter’s job harder and more expensive.

That is a strong reason to assess for fit when you’re hiring. And the good news is fit doesn’t only contribute to job performance, it also predicts it, and very well at that.

Measuring for job fit and culture fit in a multi-measure test is the best predictor for candidate performance compared to just testing for skills and job experience. A multi-measure test is a combination of personality, intelligence tests, and structured interviews. So we’re not putting skills and experience aside in favor of fit — we measure them together to find the perfect candidate.


The predictive validity of different selection methods in hiring, from Frank Schmidt, 2013. The selection methods are multi-measure test, cognitive ability test, structured interview, integrity test, work sample test, emotional intelligence test, personality test, and job experience. Multi-measure test has the highest predictive validity coefficient at 0.71.

The Complete Guide To Personality Tests For Hiring

2. Without fit, skills don’t work

It goes without saying that without the right skills, a candidate won’t be able to do their job. Yet if they’re not a good fit, a candidate wouldn’t be able — or have a reason — to use those skills as effectively as they’re supposed to.

Take for example the role of a sales representative. A candidate may have the persuasion and negotiation skills needed to close leads, but if they don’t have the personality traits required for that role (empathy, wanting to help others) they won’t feel any motivation to use those skills.

It’s the same case with culture fit. Say a candidate earlier has the right skills and personality for the job, but their values don’t match the company’s culture. They might look for a supportive and encouraging environment while the people in the company are highly competitive, or they might value order and structure that can’t be found in a fast-moving startup. They wouldn’t last, even if they looked good on paper.

People can have the best skills for the job, but if they don’t feel aligned with the nature of the job or don’t feel belonging in their workplace, those skills aren’t going anywhere. They would rather bring those skills somewhere else.

3. Fit helps retain your talents

Job and culture fit is more than just finding the right talent for the task and the company. It’s about making them stay with you for the journey. It won’t do any good to hire the right candidate only for you both to realize that you’re not “the one”, and have them leave within three months. On the contrary, it’s damaging.

A 2020 study by Michael Page in Indonesia found that work culture is the number 2 reason in accepting a job and the number 1 reason in deciding to leave.

Earlier we mentioned how employee turnover is expensive, but how expensive is it actually? On average, a resignation costs twice of the employee’s annual salary. That’s only the financial cost of replacing the vacancy and money spent in probation and onboarding. Count in the time and energy that HR needed to take to make a job posting, screen resumes, administer assessments, schedule interviews, etc.

In short, nobody wants employee turnover, neither the company nor the employee. And fit is one of the main factors that could make or break it.

So, rather than find out when it’s too late, it’s only a good idea to assess for job fit and culture fit way ahead in the pipeline. Don’t you agree?