Culture add versus fit when recruiting

  • 21-11-18
  • David Landau

Cultural fit was once the pinnacle of good recruitment – a way to guarantee that new hires would slot seamlessly into the existing team as though they were cut from the same cloth. However, the last few years have seen a shift away from this approach towards what employees can add to a culture, instead. So, what is hiring for culture add, and why is it a better way to build an Accounting team?


It’s widely believed that hiring people who fit a company culture ensures they will settle in quickly and gel better with their team, making the transition smoother for all involved. However, the problem with this approach is that it can unintentionally lead to bias. Consistently hiring people with identical mindsets can result in groupthink and an inability to evolve.

Culture add, on the other hand, ensures that organisations don’t risk growth and progression for the sake of collective comfort. It is a way to hire people that aren’t merely copies of the existing team but have something new to offer the business that will help it innovate and fill in any gaps.

When hiring employees that add to the culture, think about what attributes could help your existing business, even if that involves asking some challenging questions. Where is the team weak right now? Does the current mix allow for growth and innovation? Do you have people that will drive the business forward in the long term?


One of the side effects of hiring for fit is that it can undermine a company’s attempt to diversify its workforce. True diversity is all about diversity of thought; people with different perspectives who are all making meaningful contributions to the organisation.

Hiring a diverse workforce without bias can be difficult because we often instinctively want to hire individuals who are akin to us. Although it can seem easier when all employees share similar personalities, embracing differences and focusing on culture add allows you to benefit in a variety of ways:

  • It creates an environment that supports unique ideas and innovation.
  • It fosters collaboration and informed and objective decision-making.
  • It produces a culture of open-mindedness and speaking up rather than simply accepting the status quo.
  • It also reduces the chances of developing a stagnant workforce, which can kill creativity.


Some organisations worry that hiring for culture add will undermine their existing company culture and have a negative impact on collaboration and morale. However, hiring for fit remains an important component when it comes to the foundations of business culture: its values. As long as the core values of team members line up, the culture will continue to flourish.

Additionally, there’s no harm in asking certain things up front – but sometimes the candidate will say what they think you want to hear rather than their true views. On top of that, when interviewing a candidate, their values will often reveal themselves naturally anyway. Asking behavioural and situational questions will paint a clear idea of their values as an individual – take a look at our interview toolkit here. This gives you some insight into their values in an unbiased way, allowing you to make the right call for the company. It would also be useful to brainstorm cultural interview questions that relate to the team ahead of time.


Our client’s priorities are always changing with the market’s needs, and it’s important to maintain a culture that is just as fluid. The move from culture fit to culture add may seem challenging, but by focusing on core values and embracing diversity, organisations will be able to find the people they need to create a more well-rounded team and propel the business into the future.

If you feel like hiring for culture add could help take your organisation to the next level, get in touch with the team at Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment – we’d be happy to help!

For an insight on how to handle different generations at the workplace, please read: How To Successfully Manage Four Very Different Generations.