Why You Should Hire IT Professionals Based on Cultural Fit

by Anastasia C. Valentine on July 21, 2014



The current state of the IT market is making it harder to find the technical talent you need today.  Having fewer technical candidates in the marketplace is making hiring managers everywhere scratch their heads, wondering how they’re going to fill their jobs.  This IT talent shift has forced many companies to change the way they are considering and hiring talent. 

Typically, when hiring an IT professional, one of the most critical pieces the employer considers is the candidate’s previous job experience and what their technical strengths are.  This makes a lot of sense as you want the most skilled and talented people for your organization.  However, as the market has changed, so has the way you need to evaluate talent.  Technical ability might not necessarily be the best judge of a good IT hire anymore.

According to a recent study from Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2014, “Critical new skills are scarce — and their uneven distribution around the world is forcing companies to develop innovative new ways to find people, develop capabilities and share expertise.”   One of these new ways to find people is hiring based on whether the candidate is a good cultural fit within their company and providing them with training on any skills they may be in need of.

You Can Train Skills, You Can’t Train Culture
Whether or not someone fits into your company’s culture is something that is not trainable.  However, training your employees on the latest and greatest technical releases or updates is something that is teachable. According to Todd Raphael, Editor and Chief of, “Hiring for cultural fit above skills is a great idea because you never know how much an employee will be developing, growing and changing over time – they could be in a completely different role by next year.”

Everyone is different in what they need in a management style.  One employee may thrive under a hands-off manager who lets them do their job, their way while others might need more hand-holding and direction in order to be successful.  Corporate environment also plays an integral part in whether the employee will be successful.  Some employees want to come to work, get their job done and go home.  Others enjoy a more laid back corporate culture and like the social aspect of work and want to get to know their co-workers.  It’s important to recognize these attributes in the interviewing process.  Hiring the wrong fit for your corporate culture could ultimately result in higher turnover for your organization.

The Importance of Culture for Retention
Sean Storin, CEO and co-founder of recruiting and networking site One Degree, says “We’d heard that something like 89 percent of people leave a job because they’re not happy. Even if that statistic is overblown, even if it’s only 50 percent, that’s an epidemic.”

The challenges in hiring within the IT market today make it that if you have a good, hardworking employee, you want to keep them within your organization.  Turnover because of a culture clash within your IT department could mean significant downtime on your projects while you search for backfills.  Meanwhile, companies that hire employees that fit into their corporate culture, even if they need some training, are more likely to stay with them in the long term.  “If employees are engaged and feel like they are part of a larger entity that mirrors their beliefs and values, they are more likely to stay when presented with a challenge,” Storin says.

It’s our gut-reaction to hire someone who is the most qualified based on skills and experience.  While their resume is certainly important and should not be ignored, it’s not the only factor that should be considered.  Cultural fit is just as important and in a depleted IT market, should especially be a main attribute to the hiring process.  Training an employee on technology that fits into your culture might take some time upfront, but the results will pay off in the long run.  Employees who enjoy working at their respective organizations everyday are more likely to stay with your company in the future.  This makes your small training investment upfront worth it in the end.

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