Unpleasant Truths About Culture Fit

Here’s something I’ve learned about “culture fit” from having done more job interviews than I’d prefer. If you were rejected because you’re “not a culture fit”, even though you’re qualified and nailed every aspect of the interview, it probably means one of the following:

  • you’re not young enough
  • you’re not white enough
  • you’re not the right kind of Asian
  • you’re not masculine enough
  • you’re too neurodiverse
  • you didn’t go to the right college

However, if a hiring manager gave one of these reasons, they could get their employer crucified in civil court for discrimination or (in the US) crucified by the EEOC. However, there’s no law that says they can’t select for “culture fit”.

Regardless, hiring for culture fit is increasingly seen as a bad idea. If you only hire people who share your background and interests, you’re likely to have problems with groupthink, and you can get enough of that on social media. You don’t need it in the workplace.

In fact, I’m going to go a bit further since it should be obvious to a reasonably intelligent person that I’m not speaking for anybody but myself here. Any manager who hires for culture fit should be fired, publicly named, and debarred from consideration for positions with hiring authority because they expose their employers to groupthink and legal liability.

PS: If you’re not familiar with the word ‘debar’, I’m using it because it lacks the racist connotations that have recently come to be associated with the more familiar term ‘blacklist‘.