Assessing Cultural Fit When Building Your Accounting Team This Year

05 February 2024 Steve Merritt

Cultural fit written on paper next to cup

​In today's diverse working environments, hiring accountants with the right skills and competencies for your open role is insufficient.

While the abilities and qualifications of your candidates are essential, it's also crucial to ensure each team member "fits" perfectly with your evolving company culture. After all, hiring candidates with a strong cultural fit means they're more likely to thrive in your workplace, demonstrate incredible productivity, and stay with your business longer.

Around 80% of recruiters believe culture is crucial to the selection process. However, many businesses still struggle to assess candidates for cultural fit.

Here's how you can infuse the search for cultural fit into your recruitment strategy.

Understanding Cultural Fit: Why is it So Important?

When making hiring decisions, business leaders often focus on potential candidates' skills and experience. While these factors are important, it's also crucial to ensure the candidates you hire can conform and adapt to the collective behaviours and core values of your organisation.

Hiring for cultural fit means assessing how well a potential employee is aligned with the culture of your business. Strong cultural fit is essential to both candidates and employers.

Around 77% of respondents in one survey said they consider a company's culture before applying for a role.

Additional research shows that people who "fit" well into their organisation show higher job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity levels.

Hiring for cultural fit can also improve your chances of retaining crucial talent for longer. Employees who feel comfortable within a company are likelier to remain loyal to that business, even when new roles and opportunities present themselves.

With today's accounting skill shortages, ensuring cultural fit is crucial to building and maintaining the ideal team.

The Role of Company Culture

Defining your company's culture is the first step in hiring for cultural fit. The only way to know whether candidates align well with your business processes and values is to articulate the factors that make your business unique.

Your company culture is a collection of organisational factors. It often includes your business goals, mission statement, workplace environment, employee behaviours, and management styles.

An effective company culture outlines how your employees operate, what they prioritise each day, and their driving values.

An online prescription glasses company Warby Parker prioritises customer care and empathy, Zappos, an online footwear vendor champions exceptional service, punctuality, and personalisation. These companies leverage cultural fit assessments in their recruitment process to ensure employees share the same values as their existing team, leading to greater alignment and engagement in the business.

How to Assess Candidates for Cultural Fit

Assessing candidates for cultural fit might seem simple however it is often more complex than it appears. Business leaders and hiring managers need to find the right balance between assessing candidates for skills and competencies and examining their values and behaviours.

Here are some ways to ensure you're hiring candidates with a strong cultural fit.

1.Convey Company Culture in Hiring Materials

As mentioned above, defining your company culture is the first step in hiring for cultural fit. However, you must also ensure this culture is evident to your accounting candidates. When sourcing new employees, ensure potential applicants can identify your culture in your job descriptions, adverts, and social media posts.

For instance, instead of just listing the skills and credentials you need from an employee in your job descriptions, include insights into the personality traits you're looking for, such as innovation or adaptability.

2.Ask Cultural Fit Questions in Interviews

Adding elements to your interviews that help you determine a candidate's cultural fit is another important step. Competency-based questions, such as "tell me how you handled a challenge in your previous role", can draw attention to a person's skills, as well as their thought processes, behaviours, and personality traits.

You can also ask questions that provide a direct insight into a person's values, such as:

  • What do you like and dislike about working in a team?

  • What are your most significant accomplishments to date?

  • What motivates and engages you most in the workplace?

Use a scorecard to assess each candidate's responses based on how they align with your business values and priorities.

3.Allow Candidates to Self-Assess

Hiring for cultural fit isn't just about finding candidates you believe will thrive in your organisational culture. Ensuring these new hires feel like they'll fit into your business environment is important.

A good way to help them determine this is to allow them to assess their cultural fit. Give them a chance to observe your teams in action, ask current team members about their roles, and even take personality tests to see how aligned they are with your values.

4.Train Hiring Staff

Sometimes, hiring managers need additional training to assess candidates for cultural fit to understand which characteristics they should be looking for. Providing extensive training on your company culture and values can help your team members.

Ensure professionals responsible for hiring decisions in your business know how to weigh the value of each characteristic or personality trait in a candidate. Help them to understand when a lack of specific training or credentials can be balanced by the right attitudes or behaviours.

5.Create a Solid Induction Process

An induction strategy isn't just a great way to introduce new employees to your workforce; it can also be an excellent way to ensure a strong cultural fit when a new hire joins your accounting team; set aside time to introduce them to your company culture and their colleagues.

Walk them through your expectations as a business leader and the processes your team members follow. Answer any questions they might have about your company culture during this process. You may even consider offering candidates a "trial" work period.

Avoiding Bias When Hiring for Cultural Fit

Ensuring your accounting candidates have the right personality traits and values to thrive in your business is crucial. Asking the right questions and collecting the right data about each potential employee will help you hire people most likely to succeed in your industry.

Employees who don't fit well with their company culture are more likely to quit, be disruptive, or negatively affect the outcome of projects.

However, it's important to ensure hiring for cultural fit doesn't lead to biased recruitment decisions. Ensuring a person will fit well with your existing team doesn't mean hiring people with the same traits and backgrounds as others in your workforce.

It's still essential to ensure you're implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion into your hiring process. Avoid confusing personal similarities with cultural fit. Make sure hiring managers identify unconscious bias when making hiring choices.

Find The Right Fit for Your Accounting Team

Hiring for cultural fit is an excellent way to boost your chances of sourcing professionals who will thrive in your business. However, assessing cultural fit isn't always easy.

You'll need a strong knowledge of your company's culture values and a plan to ensure bias doesn't harm your hiring decisions. If you're struggling, the best strategy is to seek the assistance of an accounting and finance recruitment agency.

The right recruitment company can help you to understand the characteristics and traits that give an employee the best chance of success in your organisation. Plus, they can assist you in embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into your hiring decisions.

​If you want to find out how we can help you, call us today on 02 8877 8700 or contact us here.