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Hiring Effectively for Cultural Fit

By October 2, 2019April 18th, 2024RETS Blog

Many commercial real estate companies and leaders tend to base their hiring decisions on 3 main facets: skills, learning agility, and cultural fit. “Cultural Fit” is defined as the individual’s attitudes, values, and beliefs being in line with the core values and culture of an organization. A prospering company culture can be the key to employee engagement, performance, and productivity. Having a shared enthusiasm about a company’s purpose and a common approach to working (together and individually) can be a game changer for the success of an organization in the real estate industry. We see CRE employers aiming to hire people they think would be a good fit…. however, their efforts can easily veer off into a dangerous ditch.  

“What most people mean by culture fit is hiring people they’d like to have a beer with,” says Parry McCord, a human-resources consultant

BUT, the last thing you want as a manager is to have all your new hires look, think, and act alike. When there is homogeneity in the way of thinking, it can create a highly efficient organization. However, this can kill innovation and affect long-term performance. Especially as hirers tend to look for traits in candidates that make them feel good or remind them of themselves.  

For example, a manager who got bad grades as a college freshman is likely to warm to an applicant who also got off to a rough start. Or a hirer who attended a low-prestige school may favor applicants who did the same.  

How Can CRE Hiring Managers Avoid This and Effectively Hire for Cultural Fit? 

Knowing if someone is TRULY a good match can be more difficult than it looks, as it isn’t easy to pick up certain traits in an interview. It is important for hiring managers to be aware of what culture is and what it is not. It’s not a common educational, cultural, or career background. It’s not a sense of comfort and familiarity. And it’s not shared enjoyments. It seems simple, but it’s extremely important to understand that prioritizing cultural fit doesn’t mean recruiting people who are identical.  

Even though it’s very difficult to make cultural fit objective and measurable, it is still possible for hiring managers to go deeper and figure out whether applicants are in sync with important elements of their culture. Will they mesh with the way individuals and teams at the company work, by collaborating or competing? Will they naturally make decisions the way the employer wants – individually or as a group? People with all sorts of personalities may be great to get the job done, and making great hires is about making great matches and can often be different than you’d expect! Employers who get cultural fit hiring right are those who understand that business needs a mix of people with divergent thoughts and ideas. 

Why Culture is Still a Coveted Prize:  

Even though there is still confusion over how to hire for cultural fit, it is still obvious it is a crucial factor for consideration in any industry. A strong company culture positively influences staff retention, employee engagement, performanceproductivity, and communication. Culture is a coveted prize in today’s tight labor market, with culture surging from 5th to 1st place in the last 5 years as the MOST important factor in recruiting top talent. To employees, it means loving a job for more than just the paycheck. And to employers, it means employees will keep working hard even when no one is watching. Ultimately, an employee who feels connected to the values of the business is more likely to thrive and be a valuable asset to the company going forward. 


Sara Nash, Recruiter, About Sara

The RETS Team brings a deep, strategic understanding of the real estate industry to your recruitment needs. Click here for more insights & tips.