Why hiring “culture add" candidates beats hiring “culture fit” candidates every time

Posted by Doximity TF Team

Hiring_culture-add-candidatesFor years, hiring for “culture fit” – finding candidates who fit into an organization’s culture – was the word of the day, but it has fallen out of favor. While prevailing wisdom once suggested that finding candidates who fit your company culture was the right way to hire, it’s become fraught with issues. If you rely on culture fit hiring, it can undermine your organization’s diversity and even shut people out based on their backgrounds.

Now, imagine what your organization would look like if you hired people with different backgrounds and viewpoints than you or your existing team. A candidate may not fit the “mold” of your culture, but they could add tremendous value.

The goal of any organization should be to evolve and become more inclusive over time. Diversity and inclusion must be part of how we recruit, connect, and support one another in healthcare. That means hiring candidates who are “culture adds” – not candidates that result in a homogenous culture.

First, take a look at each candidate’s unique interests, values, and communication styles that can add to the culture your organization is building. It’s one of the best ways to improve the diversity of your hiring efforts. Data proves it: diverse decision-making teams deliver 60% better results (per Forbes). 

Hiring for culture fit can be a missed opportunity in healthcare because culturally responsive care typically improves when physicians reflect their patients' racial or ethnic backgrounds. In a previous article, we wrote that improved diversity and inclusion go beyond fairness or equity. It’s critical to recruiting and patient outcomes because it provides two measurable benefits:

  1. It’s inherent to addressing all patient’s healthcare needs, from language and culture to allowing more confidence and comfort.
  2. It builds trust and confidence in communities.

It will be difficult for an organization to recruit and retain underrepresented clinicians if they look for candidates that fit or assimilate to their existing culture. Diversity in organizations often leads to higher retention rates, too. HR professionals say the #1 benefit of workplace diversity is improved employee engagement and satisfaction (per LinkedIn).

What about the unique values candidates bring? Can you describe the difference between values and culture? Most people can’t, yet values determine your organizational culture. “You can’t create a thriving culture without focusing on values,” says Sunil Bagai. “Insisting on cultural fit – almost for the sake of itself – deprives us of the economic and innovation benefits that diversity brings. On the other hand, looking for values gives us amazing insight into the attitude, character, work ethic, integrity, dedication, and accountability of a professional we truly need.”

How do you approach value-based hiring? Bagai suggests asking more open-ended questions to help recruiters discover optimal behavioral and character traits (and make sure the questions you ask are the same for every candidate). A prime example would be to ask a physician candidate about a work situation that didn’t go well – or that went very well. A candidate's past behavior and performance are good predictors of growth and future results. Listen actively, and you can discover elements of integrity, their sincere desire to support patients and colleagues, even their work ethic, ability to stay organized, or their accountability for decisions. 

“Being able to articulate the behaviors associated with achievements is a key component of values hiring and one that a traditional interview strategy usually misses,” per Ann Rhoades, former Chief People Officer for Southwest Airlines.

When it comes to physician candidates, are you looking for a “culture fit” or a “culture add?” Ask yourself, “what does this candidate bring that will add to our culture and help our organization move in the right direction?” Be cautious not to create a “me-too” environment where everyone thinks and acts the same way. A lack of inclusion can lead to a homogenous workforce without diverse perspectives and innovative ideas. Choosing “cultural add” and values-based hiring ensures you find candidates who will build your organization.  

Are you using Doximity Talent Finder to source and recruit physicians? Powered by Doximity, Talent Finder gives you access to over 80% of physicians in the United States. We invite you to join us on April 12, for a special training session: How to use Doximity’s Recruitment Tool. 

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Topics: tips for physician recruitment, recruiting culture add candidates, diversity in healthcare

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