Feature Story: Recruit for a Cultural “Add” Rather Than Fit

five chairs along the wall under a clock

Paige Buchanan, recruitment specialist

When it comes to hiring great talent, the phrase “it’s easier said than done” can be applied because we all know just how difficult it can be to find the right person for a role. We go through the entire recruiting process, think we have found “the perfect fit,” but after a few months you realize it’s not working out. This can be the result of many factors; a poor onboarding experience, lack of training time or maybe the current recruiting process just isn’t working. 

I wholeheartedly believe that if we can hire and retain the best talent, then our students, UCO and the community as a whole will become a better place for it. I’ll provide you with some new tools and information so that we can improve our recruitment processes together and ultimately find the right people for our roles.   

You have probably heard the phrase “cultural fit” when it comes to recruiting. When we sit down with the screening committee to discuss the ideal candidate, that phrase always seems to creep into the conversation. However, a new phrase is becoming more prominent in the recruitment space – “cultural add.” Instead of looking for a fit, we need to start looking for an addition.  

When we discuss cultural fit, we are essentially saying we want to hire someone that will easily fit in with our team. We then assess the candidate’s values, background, style, hobbies, etc. As a result, we are decreasing our diversity because our unconscious biases sneak in. We also miss out on really great talent if we assume the candidate won’t “mesh” when in reality, we have no ability to make that prediction. We want to look for a cultural add because a new hire’s individuality and differences can make us better and stronger.  

RedHat, a software company, implemented a new process for their interviews with candidates wherein they assess the following in regards to cultural add:  

  • Will the candidate be effective in our environment today? And tomorrow? We want a workforce that wants to learn and grow and be willing to adapt to changes.  
  • What will they take away from the culture? 
  • Does their purpose align with the purpose of the organization? We want people here who are passionate about what we do, how we do it and who we are. When we have alignment on purpose, it keeps us focused, even as the individual methods and preferences change.  

I strongly encourage you to start looking for candidates who will add value to UCO, instead of someone who will easily fit right in.  

Along with looking for a cultural add, we want to ensure our recruiting process is optimized and standardized so that we can attract great talent and bring them on board. With that in mind, we have created a brand-new recruiting toolkit. This toolkit is designed to walk you through the entire recruiting process from start to finish while also providing best practices and step-by-step guides. I look forward to hearing your feedback and hopefully, this toolkit will help you in finding the right hire for your role.  

Before I let you go, I wanted to provide some recruiting statistics to really hone in on the importance of having an effective recruiting process: 


  • This article and the the toolkit are on par with the workplace and learning culture UCO is committed to building. Great article Paige! Thank you for sharing this knowledge.