What Employers Really Want: Culture Add

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This is one of a series of posts based on LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions’ Guide: 30 Behavioral Interview Questions to Identify High-Potential Candidates.

Here’s the list of the qualities managers value:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Culture add
  3. Collaboration
  4. Leadership
  5. Growth potential
  6. Prioritization

The term Culture Add caught my eye when I first read it. Don’t they mean culture fit? I asked myself. But it turns out the managers LinkedIn surveyed had something much better in mind. Here’s what the LinkedIn guide says:

“When we talk about culture fit, we don’t mean falling into a “hire like me” mentality. If all of your employees act and think the same, your company won’t thrive. Instead, look for candidates who share the same beliefs and values as your organization, but also bring diversity of thought and experience that will drive your company forward.”

Culture Add came in #2 in the attributes high potential hires have. I love the definition above, because it’s the real basis for diversity (not just the usual trope of different racial qualities or gender.)  Diversity is really about (or should be) very different people coming together under shared values or a shared vision. We agree on what we want or want to do (build a successful new product, for example), but we come with different ideas on how to get it done.  That’s where creativity and innovation happen. Assuming the discussion doesn’t devolve into Group Think.

So how do you determine if someone is going to fit in to your culture (the first step to cultural add)? First, make sure they come to the interview knowing something about who you are as a company. A candidate should always take the time to research a company before the interview, and “What do you know about our company?” is a good starting question. Ask what attracted them to the company or the team. Even if they don’t know much about your core values (which should be easy to find on your website), if they show a passion for the work you do or the people you serve, that’s a good start.

Be honest about your company. Don’t sugar coast the work or the stressors. If you have a fast-paced, chaotic workplace, ask questions not only about how the candidate functions in that kind of environment, but also how he recovers.

Here are the questions managers suggested to get information about Cultural Add:

  • What are the three things that are most important to you in a job?
  • What would make you choose our company over others?
  • What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?

If you can determine that a new hire will be a Culture Add, you’ll do more than strengthen your team. You’ll save money on turnover as well. According to the LinkedIn guide, “research shows that employees who are a good culture fit are more likely to stay with your company and will have greater performance and job satisfaction.”


5 thoughts on “What Employers Really Want: Culture Add

  1. I really like this article because it talks about mature people working together, differences or not. I love the adaptability idea. I worked as a casual employee for almost 20 years. Adaptability is one thing I have gained. I think it clearly is an asset.


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