Why you should be hiring for culture add, not a culture fit.

Brianna Paton


Why you should be hiring for culture add, not a culture fit

As we move into a rapidly evolving time within the creative agency space, we’re seeing more mergers of independents in an effort to future proofing and acquisitions of agencies, meaning they are now a part of a network. The one-liner of “not the right culture fit” has become a topic internal talent teams are realising they need to re-consider.

Cultural Fit is defined as the individual's attitudes, values and beliefs being in line with the core values and culture of an organisation”.

This is all well and good but when was the last time you checked in on your company values, and what do they represent to the market? How are they evolving to appeal to the new generations coming through and how much do they support diversity and growth?

The recruitment process can be a headache agreed, there are many stakeholders to please, budgets to adhere to and a competitive hiring market to beat but, throwing in a culture fit mould that candidates must fit is not only one more thing to convolute the process but it is closing off growth opportunities for your business. 


How to hire candidates that add to your culture

I would suggest having an open mind to new characteristics, backgrounds and different personality traits, in doing this you will open up opportunities to bring people into your organisation that don’t just fit the mould they add value to it.

A favourite quote of mine is ‘more of the same will give you more of the same”. Another big one I face is they "must have agency experience", this one is another barrier to growth. As agencies struggle to compete against consultancies and brands continue to build their own internal creative agency teams, why wouldn’t having someone in the business who understands the client-side world NOT be a plus?


Why looking for culture add vs culture fit makes sense

A quick example of recent success with a creative agency who was willing to open up the culture fit mould, without naming names; I had a client-side candidate fresh from the UK who was incredibly intelligent, people orientated and looking for a more dynamic, creative environment. Enter his first creative agency freelance role in Australia. 

Being a very strong character he immediately butted heads with some of the more senior team within the agency, because “what did he know”, “he doesn’t have agency experience”. After some time, the agency realised the value this candidate was adding, not just from a skills perspective but for the rest of the team. Someone fresh with different perspectives, point of views and excitement because yes, it was his first agency experience. An approved sponsorship later, he is now stepping into a newly created role of people and culture, operations and eventually, head of client service. This was a $65k candidate. 


So, what does this all mean for your business?

I have been recruiting in creative agencies for over four years and did my time of working within them for over 6. I leave you with a clear message, hiring managers - times are changing. You need to grow, evolve and future proof. Listen to the younger generations, what do they want? Please allow different types of people to enrich your culture. Your values are not something to protect they are something to grow and celebrate.


For a chat on how you can grow your company culture get in touch with iknowho today.