TAP In with Tristan : You Don’t Want to Be a “Culture Fit”

Tristan Layfield shares his perspective regarding why you shouldn’t want to be a culture fit. Culture fit is borderline cult-ish – if you hear someone say it to you throughout the hiring process, it’s a major red flag, and you may want to consider running the other way!

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Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate? It’s Tristan, and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. Today, my friends, I want to talk about why you shouldn’t want to be a culture fit.

What does it mean when a company says they want someone who is a culture fit? When most people hear that, they hear that the company just wants someone who buys into their vision. Since many companies started developing mission-driven workplaces, they want people who align with what they are trying to do. That seems innocuous enough, right? Actually, it’s pretty harmful. Let’s dive into why.

This way of thinking has allowed recruiters and hiring managers to write off candidates as “not a good culture fit” which causes companies to miss out on amazing talent. Candidates are judged on whether they would fit into the company based on how they look, speak, and act rather than their ability to do the job and innovate. We all know who that disproportionately affects (here’s a hint: Black and brown candidates), which means that “culture fit” reinforces the lack of diversity within corporate spaces. If you aren’t a culture fit and somehow make it into the company, this often leads to a hostile work environment in an effort to get you to conform to the norms and submit to the indoctrination of the company.

Culture fit also leads to homogenized thought processes, which can cause a company to become stagnant due to a lack of diversity in thought. It also firmly embeds bias within the company’s decision-making processes, services, products, and other offerings.

I say all this to say that you should never seek out to be a cultural fit for a company. Search for companies that are looking for people who are culture adds.

You might be thinking, what’s the difference? Instead of wanting you to conform and adapt to the organization’s values and behaviors, a company seeking culture adds will value your difference and individuality. They will view them as assets and understand they can push the organization to become better. They will welcome your new, innovative ideas as contributions rather than a threat to the company.

The bottom line is, culture fit is borderline cult-ish. If you hear someone say it to you throughout the hiring process, it’s a major red flag, and you may want to consider running the other way.

Thanks for tapping in with me today! Don’t forget; I’m now taking submissions from you all on career questions, issues, concerns, or advice you think may help others! So make sure to submit yours at bit.ly/tapintristan.

This tip is brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @layfieldresume or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

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