Hire for Culture, Not Skill

G Adventures doesn’t hire new people the way most companies do. They still have the normal interview process but what sets them apart from most companies is something called the “Culture Fit” interview. This is the last interview that a candidate goes through and it gives the last go, no-go whether or not a candidate is hired.

When I was hired I remember sitting in my Culture Fit interview, nervous and not knowing what to expect. Across from me were three people who I hadn’t met and I was told to talk about anything. As a developer, I naturally started talking about various technology related things and was quickly told to stop. They didn’t want to hear about those things, they wanted to know who I was and what I was like.

I started talking about beer and cooking, two things that I enjoy, and the rest of the interview went without a hitch. I later learned that if those three people hadn’t of liked me or didn’t think I was a good fit, I wouldn’t have been hired. I think every company should hire for culture, not skill and here’s why.

A Better Workplace Community
I was once apart of a development team of 3 people (including myself) and it was absolutely toxic. Entire weeks would go by where we wouldn’t talk to one another. It wasn’t that we disliked one another, we just had very little in common and the other developers were on the more extreme side of introverted.

If your employees are hanging out together after work, you’re doing something right. Hiring people who fit into your company’s culture creates better teams and happier employees.

Less Turnover
When employees don’t get along with each other they leave. Every time you have to train a new person it costs the company money and the team loses a little morale. From the other developers I’ve talked to when they don’t get along with their team they’re constantly looking for new opportunities with new companies.

I’veĀ been at G Adventures for almost 2 years now and it’s fantastic. Because everyone gets along there isn’t the constant searching for better opportunities.

A Better Company
Happy employees are fundamental to a successful company. It doesn’t matter if you hired the best programmers in the world (from a technical standpoint), if they don’t get along with one another your company won’t be successful.


Whether you’re running a startup, a Fortune 500 company or just managing a small team of developers, hiring for culture is the smartest thing you can do. It’ll save you a lot of headaches down the road when your team doesn’t work as one.

I work for G Adventures, all the thoughts above are my own and in no way represent official G Adventures statements.

  • http://www.gadventures.com BPT

    Sprout! You can write! You are a man of many talents. I am not sure how you got through the culture fit but we’re all glad you did. This article just shows your depth as a person beyond your profession which is awesome. I particularly love it when someone who was born after the death of Elvis can understand the human importance of happiness and connectedness. You’re a special kid… thanks for contributing to our purpose and culture. Your impact on changing peoples lives everyday is immeasurable.

    P.S. Its not to late to change your mind!

  • http://www.gplus.to/arkadiusz.dymalski Arkadiusz Dymalski

    Sure, culture-fit and team-fit are important things, but it’s the skills and other competences which we are hiring for. They help to get the job done while culture just provides (important) environment for competences to flourish (or die). And assessing culture-fit shouldn’t look like: “Ride free and we will react if we like it”. That doesn’t provide much useful info.

    • Adam

      While I agree that the candidates still need to have some base-level of skill if it came down to someone who fit with the team but wasn’t as skilled (but still passionate) vs someone who didn’t fit but was a leader in the field I’d go with fit.

  • http://www.gplus.to/arkadiusz.dymalski Arkadiusz Dymalski

    Yup, in case you provided (sufficient skills+good fit vs amazing skills+no fit) that’s definitely way to go, especially as skills are easier to develop than predispositions, values, attitudes and other stuff related to the ‘fit’.