How to Spot a New Hire Who Might Be at Odds with Your Workplace Culture

Hiring new employees is, frankly, a lot of work. It means investing effort to make sure you’ve followed all the proper procedures. What’s more, you need to be purposeful in writing the job advertisement and developing the right interview questions. 

Once you’ve selected the top candidate, you’re going to be investing a lot of time in onboarding and training to give them the best opportunity for success. It’s no wonder you want to be sure you’re welcoming someone who’s a solid cultural fit. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, they might not mesh well with the rest of the team. Let’s explore how to determine if your new hire seems to be at odds with the workplace culture

Hiring for cultural fit 

You may have heard differing opinions about whether hiring for cultural fit is a good idea-it all boils down to what we mean. Essentially, it involves recruiting people who’ll bring desirable values and beliefs to the working environment. These are individuals whose attitudes and behaviors complement the company’s culture.  

Of course, there are pitfalls if you embark on trying to hire for cultural fit without enough forethought. It’s critical to be mindful that you’re not inadvertently biased in your assessment of a prospective candidate. For instance, make sure you’re not simply looking for someone who is a carbon copy of your existing employees. 

Strive for a staff team that has a healthy mix of workers with different backgrounds and life experiences. The cultural element really refers to how they relate to other staff and promote positive, productive collaboration that will make the office or the shop floor an enjoyable place to work.  

Red flags in new hires 

So, you’ve done your due diligence to screen, interview, and select a new employee. Maybe they nailed the answers to the interview questions, or perhaps they said all the right things when making small talk. They probably dressed the part, made eye contact, and gave you a smile and a firm handshake. Their references likely checked out as well, and their resume suggested a wealth of the work experience you need. 

It’s helpful to remember that you still need to see them in action when they take a position with your firm. With that in mind, here are a few red flags that may suggest they’re not a good cultural fit after all: 

1. Not following core values 

A new hire should have done enough homework on your business to have a basic understanding of its core values and the practices for how work gets done and issues get solved. During the onboarding process, they should be asking a lot of questions and actively demonstrating an eagerness to learn all that’s expected of them. 

If your new team member seems resistant to learning what they need to or is acting in a way that’s contrary to company values, it could be problematic (for instance, if your firm relies on teamwork to meet many of its goals and the recent staff member doesn’t share information). Perhaps they’ve not taken responsibility for a mistake they made or didn’t bring a problem to you promptly so that damage could be mitigated. 

2. Difficult relationships 

How your new employee treats others will give you valuable information about whether they fit with the culture. Do they try to get to know their colleagues? Do they speak highly of others and give credit where credit is due? The old phrase “There’s no I in TEAM” is relevant here. 

If the new staff member complains about other workers or shifts blame, it’s a red flag. Maybe they’re quick to tell you about the excellent job they’re doing at the office, but you never hear them mention how they collaborate with others. Watch to see if some staff avoids them and if the new employee seems to have trouble connecting with co-workers. 

3. Lacking engagement  

Another red flag that the new worker isn’t fitting well with the company culture is that they’re not as engaged as they should be in their job responsibilities. Do they seem to put in the bare minimum of effort? Do they ask questions about how the business is doing, or are they simply focused on their next promotion? 

If the staff member in question doesn’t show enough passion for your business sector, they could be in the job for the wrong reasons. Maybe they just want a good-paying gig and the prestige that comes from a higher position within the firm. The passion they have for the industry should be obvious enough during the job interview. However, they might be a great actor and their real attitude will emerge after they’re hired. 

If any of these concerns ring true, don’t panic. Spend time talking with the new hire to see if they’re really happy with the job. They may look for something else, or maybe a little mentoring will turn things around.