How Important Is a Culture Fit?

How important is a culture fit? Depending on whom you ask, if the shoe fits, wear it–and if it doesn’t, fire it!

Tony Hsieh of Zappos, the famed shoe-lovers’ online store, says culture fit is their number one priority. His company runs two sets of interviews for candidates. First, the hiring manager interviews for standard information such as fit within the team, relevant experience, and technical ability. The second interview purely screens for culture fit. (Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in those interviews?) Candidates must pass both interviews to get hired.

Hsieh says they’ve passed on lots of smart, talented candidates who could’ve made an immediate impact on the company’s bottom line simply because they weren’t a good culture fit. For employees, 50 percent of employee performance reviews is based on whether they’re inspiring the Zappos culture in others. Even if someone is a superstar at his or her job but has a negative impact on the Zappos culture, he or she gets fired.

How important is a culture fit in your hiring process? Survival of the fittest (culturally, that is!) may sound harsh, but when you consider the cost of a bad hire, ensuring a good culture fit is a necessity! If you haven’t taken the time to identify your company culture, values, mission, and vision, now would be a good time to get started. How else will your team members know where they are going and how you expect them to behave?

Video interview of Tony Hsieh on company culture originally published on

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