Cultural Fit – Why Different is Desirable

Saragossa

‘Cultural fit’ is a term one hears more and more in recruitment at the moment. Increasingly, job specifications are devoting entire sections to describing company values and personality profiles, to paint a picture of who their ideal candidate is from a personal perspective as well as a professional one.

After all, these are people you’re in theory going to be spending a lot of time with – and if they’re not a good match, then you’re likely going to find yourself in a few months looking for someone to replace them (potentially involving dealing with recruiters again – and honestly, who wants that?).

However, while cultural fit should be a strong consideration in any hiring process, one simple piece of advice we always offer is to be open to bringing in a range of personalities and values. Bringing in people with whom you share some common ground is one thing – however, hiring too much in one’s own image has its drawbacks.

In all cases, but particularly when building out a team for the first time, some variety is no bad thing. Hiring people who are almost complete opposites to yourself (in at least some ways) can be extremely enriching, and may lead to a greater level of creative thinking in the long run – which can only be good for building something new and growing your business.

This is particularly true for technology companies, where innovation, creativity and flexibility are of paramount importance. If everyone on the team approaches situations in exactly the same way, there’s less likelihood of people coming up with new ways to solve complex problems.

This is an ethos we’ve worked hard to instil in the hiring processes at our company. I don’t want to work with a bunch of people who are exactly like me (I’m pretty sure that most of my colleagues would agree that one of me is quite enough). We’re not interested in hiring people who fit any one sort of particular character mould – rather, we prefer to bring people aboard whom we think have something unique to offer – both in terms of personality and working style – and allow them to shape the company for themselves.

We’re extremely proud of the mismatched group of people this way of thinking has allowed us to cultivate. In our team we have people with First Class degrees from Russell Group Universities and we have people who didn’t go to University at all. We have people who already had successful careers in other industries before joining us, and we have people who know nothing other than recruitment. We have people who can tell you the names of every winning player from the last 20 World Cups, and we have people who couldn’t care less about football.

These different personalities are also represented by marked differences in approach to work. In the same teams, we have obsessive note-takers, and we have those who prefer to simply memorise. Some of our consultants love making multiple business development calls every day, while some prefer the Linkedin or email approach. There are people who get emotional and worked up when things go wrong, and there are those who press on like the Terminator regardless of what gets thrown at them.

Managing all of these very disparate elements isn’t always easy – in fact, sometimes, it’s downright exhausting. Opposites don’t always attract, and at times there’s definite friction. But I would argue that there’s friction in any good work environment. At least in an environment with a mishmash of different personalities, you’re likely to get a greater variety of ideas being thrown around – and after all, it’s friction that often causes sparks.

The point is that someone can be exactly what your business needs without necessarily being a perfect personality match. Rather than trying to create a working environment where everybody thinks and behaves in the same way, try and look at each interviewee and ask yourself how their particular personality might add and bring new things to your business. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Saragossa are a talent provider specialising in the Financial Technology, Financial Operations and Data Science sectors. Our role is to match clients with high calibre candidates. Our work encompasses filling temporary contracts along with building permanent teams and resourcing projects. To find out more, please contact enquiries@saragossa.co.uk or call 020 7871 3666.